Tesco Invades England’s Smallest Town

October 30th, 2007 § 0 comments

The Independent:

On the one side is Tesco, Britain’s pre-eminent supermarket chain where a 270,000 strong workforce gleans an annual profit of some £2bn from its 2,000 stores each year. On the other is Manningtree, England’s smallest town, home to 700 souls and one of East Anglia’s best preserved Georgian shopping streets.

But, if campaigners are to be believed, the arrival of a new Tesco store, the 12th within a 10-mile radius of the town, is about to deliver a hammer blow to the character of this former wool and brewing centre where Matthew Hopkins, the 17th-century Witchfinder General, began his career.

But this post isn’t specifically about Manningtree, or Tesco, it’s just to highlight a couple of things.

For the veteran food campaigner Lady Caroline Cranbrook, who fought a successful battle against plans to open a Tesco in nearby Saxmundham, Suffolk, the scrapping of the needs test threatens to undermine local powers.

“My huge concern is that they want to get rid of the requirement to establish a need before a supermarket goes up,” she said. “With small district councils there is very little they have to protect themselves other than this test.”

Anything that makes life harder for these companies is not a good thing. I’m all for the proper planning process, but these companies are masters at abusing it why shouldn’t the planning process be weighted in favour of the ordinary citizen, to help protect small business? Especially when this new store will be “the 12th within a 10-mile radius of the town”.
Ever heard of ‘saturation point’?

The other point is:

A Tesco spokesman, Michael Kissman, insisted only a minority opposed the store. “The vast majority of people support it and the majority of traders do too,” he said. “The reality of Manningtree is that people are driving to do their shopping somewhere else.”

I do not know how many oppose this new store, but, the people in favour, if asked whether there should be a new Tesco store are of the ‘don’t mind’ or ‘why not’ or yeah, I suppose’ variety rather than the ‘Yes. We need a Tesco here. The sooner the better’ type. After all, how many people not connected with one of these supermarkets do you see campaigning to have one in there home town…?
Which brings me onto the most absurd statement outside of Westminster for, ooh, ages. That bit there “…and the majority of traders do too”.
Sorry Michael, could you repeat that. I could’ve sworn you just said the majority of traders actually want a Tesco in their town.
I find that really fucking hard to believe. So these shopkeepers want a fucking huge company that already has 11 other shops in the very local area to open another one that will sell all sorts of goods in direct competition with everyone.
I might’ve believed it if this was ten years ago and Tesco were still only selling food and bog roll and the electrical shop and the clothes shop were going to be unaffected, but now with Tesco and the other supermarkets selling white goods, insurance & financial services, toys, clothes, mobile phones, computers, books, videos, video rentals, pharmacy, opticians, photo processing just name a, er, few.
All it needs is for them to start selling property and electricity and they have the whole shebang!!



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