The retail giant is to unveil an Express shop on the ground floor of the new Premier Inn at the foot of New Dover Road in December.
It will go head-to-head with Waitrose across the road in St George’s Place and Sainsbury’s half-a-mile away outside the cricket ground in Old Dover Road.
Tesco Expresses, such as the one at Whitefriars, are smaller versions of the firm’s supermarkets designed for inner cities.
Much of its trade is likely to come from students living in the Oaten Hill and Longport areas and those in Canterbury Christ Church University accommodation in the St George’s Centre.
Tesco has been granted three out of four of the planning applications it made to the city council, including for a new sign, alterations to the front of the building and a cash point. Planners refused one application for an illuminated gantry sign.
However, the Oaten Hill and District Society objected to various elements of Tesco’s proposals.
Conservative councillor Jeremy Bellamy
Keith Rishworth, its committee member for planning, complained the store would result in “intrusive commercialisation in a mainly residential road and a conservation area”, while illuminated signs and windows would be “a source of objectionable light pollution, over-dominant, excessive and unsuitable for the area”.
The society added that it also has concerns about the lack of parking at the store and the dangers of shoppers crossing busy roads to get to it.
The building had been a Blockbuster video store on the ground floor with offices above. Blockbuster closed in July last year. This year the building was demolished to make way for the 120-room Premier Inn.
Jeremy Bellamy, the Conservative councillor for Barton ward, says he has “no issue” with the Tesco opening.
“It will brings jobs, create competition and offer people like students or those on low incomes a cheaper choice than Waitrose,” Cllr Bellamy said.
“Unlike somewhere like Herne where Tesco threatened a small independent retailer, that isn’t really the case for Canterbury.”
Tesco spokesman Beth Greenhouse added: “We’re really pleased to be bringing our new Express store providing local people with a range of quality fresh produce and convenience goods.
“We look forward to serving local customers in December when we open.”
Tesco is looking to recruit staff, but has not said how many jobs will be available at the new store.