THE Wetherspoons pub chain has hit back at critics who are trying to scupper its plans for a £1.2 million eating and drinking venue in Leominster.

Anonymous opponents of the scheme have fly-posted the town with "Stop Wetherspoons", notices urging residents to object to the conversion of the former Leominster Post Office into a pub.

The protesters allege "all-day opening and cheap booze will cause trouble" and state: "We do not need more vandalism or anti-social behaviour".

Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon said the objectors were the real vandals because their posters had been illegally plastered around the town.

The allegations were "ill-informed scapegoating," he said.

"Wetherspoons is not some tuppeny ha'penny company," said Mr Gershon. "It is a large and well established concern - everything is done absolutely by the book.

"We have submitted our plans to Herefordshire Council in the proper way and people have every right to make their views known to the council."

More than 4,000 people signed a petition objecting to the closure of the Corn Square post office and its relocation to a newsagents.

Royal Mail said the 100-year-old office was "uneconomic" and sold the freehold of the building to Wetherspoons.

So far, the only publicly made criticism of the pub scheme has come from a leading member of Leominster Civic Trust.

Ray Evans wrote in the trust newsletter: "To lose the post office was a tragedy, to have it replaced in such a manner adds insult to injury."

Townspeople have until March 22 to make their views known to planners.