RELAXED planning laws coming into force today which allow some businesses to open without planning permission will not affect Tesco's plans in Sherborne, council officers have confirmed.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles and planning minister Nick Boles announced radical reforms to the planning system in 2012.
The changes mean shops, restaurants, banks, leisure facilities and offices will, in some cases, be able to open without planning permission in a bid to encourage business and kickstart the economy.
John Greenslade, from West Dorset District Council, said: "The new legislation permits the change of use of agricultural buildings of up to 500 sq metres floor area to a range of uses, including a shop.
"Where the floor area is more than 150 sq metres, the change is subject to the prior approval of the council."
A council spokesman confirmed this would mean Tesco, if it submits an application for a store in Sherborne, will still require planning permission.
The proposed store, which is earmarked for land at the Sherborne Hotel, on the A30, would measure approximately 28,000sq ft.
During a public consultation in February the retailer also said the store, if built, would be less than half the size of the Yeovil store and nearly 25 per cent larger than Sherborne's Sainsbury's.
It said the store could offer 200 full and part time jobs, 262 free three-hour parking spaces and will sell food and everyday essentials including a small range of toiletries, health and beauty goods, baby products and pet food.
Tesco proposes to alter the A30 and A352 junction to create pedestrian crossings, extend the pavement and widen the road to include two lanes approaching the store.
In April protesters who presented an 11,000-name petition to district councillors say they will continue to fight the plans.
Robert Gould, leader of West Dorset District Council, previously said: "I will do all I can to ensure our local plan policies are enforced and that we retain a hotel on that site.
"The petition will form part of our evidence should Tesco eventually submit a formal planning application."
So far no formal pre-application discussions have taken place between Tesco and the district council.
Previously a Tesco spokesman said the company was still collating information from the recent consultation.
The new planning rules also allow offices to be converted into flats and houses to boost residential development.
The Department for Communities and Local Government says the planning laws will be relaxed for the next two years, with housing rules loosened for three years, to boost development.
The rules also allow any building to become a state school for up to a year without planning permission as long as transport links and noise pollution is considered.