Save our Sheringham - Say NO to Tesco

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tesco licks its wounds after three-year store campaign

Tesco went to great lengths to secure permission for a superstore in Darlington. It offered to build Darlington Borough Council a new town hall worth £14m, to redevelop a site that had, by common agreement, become something of an embarrassment and to build 130 apartments. Tesco's added-value offering for its Darlington development was extraordinarily generous; an awesome demonstration of determination to break into a town already served by Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons. Had it gone ahead, the Tesco store would have dwarfed the opposition and that is exactly what the company wanted. And after three years of talks, Tesco bosses must have been confident of success, but they had badly miscalculated. The offer of a new town hall -and the prospect of local elections next year -made it impossible for the Labour-controlled council to ignore opposition. When it became obvious there was unprecedented resistance to the idea (even the council's own Mori poll found 76 per cent of people were against it) Labour leader John Williams pulled the plug and said "It has not been a waste of time. The Tesco proposal was a significant option for what has been a problem site for the council and for Darlington. We now need to look ahead and explore alternative options for the Feethams site." Councillor Williams said he hoped to develop the site with plans that "will safeguard the future of our historic markets, so that Darlington will have the thriving, attractive and unique town centre we all want to see." Alan Coultas, part of the Say No to Tesco campaign, said: "During the campaign, people showed a great passion for their town and that they care about it. They want to be consulted properly, listened to, and have a voice in decision making. Local democracy is the winner."
Tesco, meanwhile, is this morning licking its wounds after three wasted years. Of course, it may still press ahead and, assuming the plan is turned down, launch an appeal that could cost the council hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were to succeed. Last night, the company was keeping its options open and its opinions to itself.

Monday, October 30, 2006

LDF consultation ends soon

Don't forget that your chance to influence the Local Development Framework(LDF) ends on the 6th November. You can visit the LDF site and add your comments online so there is no excuse.
You can also read the comments made by G R Planning Consultancy acting on behalf of Budgens. These relate to the terminology used within the report, the definition and boundaries of town centres, the unclear statements for retail development and the inclusion of references to the Tesco planning application which goes against the other recommendations in the proposals. You may wish to agree with or object to these comments. Alternatively, you can add your own.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Budgens: battle not over

Th North Norfolk News reports that Budgens is looking to get its apparently-scuppered plans for a store at Sheringham back on track. Their project seemed to have been spiked earlier this year by revelations that a clause of a land deal between rivals Tesco and car park owners North Norfolk District Council stopped the authority promoting supermarkets on any of its property. Tesco appear to be in the driving seat in the store-wars race, and are set to submit amended plans for a store on the Cromer Road. But Budgens have now re-stated their commitment to the town, and is poised for talks with top officials in a bid to unlock the land issue. The company backed the LDF's vision for Sheringham, which was rooted in defending the character of the existing shops in the town centre, while Cromer was identified as the main growth centre for retailing for the area. Budgens property director, James Pye, said “A new Budgens fits perfectly into that scenario, providing the need identified for more food retailing, without causing the closure of Sheringham's existing shops that would destroy the town's unique character,” Mr Pye continued: “Between 90pc and 95pc of the people who visited our exhibition were supportive of the Budgens scheme, many stating they feared the negative impact a Tesco supermarket would have on the town and we were greatly encouraged by their comments.”
Budgens had been keen to have a formal meeting with the council's chief executive Philip Burton, and - after he visited the exhibition - that had now been arranged.

Aylsham Tesco gets agreement

Tesco looks to have won over the locals with the design of a planned store at Aylsham. New amended plans showing a low brick and pin-tile building off the Norwich Road have won the backing of town councillors. It comes four years after outline planning permission was given to a store on the site, original submitted by developers Wincote on behalf of un-named store operators. Since then a series of designs have prompted local objections - ranging from an “off the peg” standardised store, to another with Dutch gables, and a wood-clad version earlier this year tagged as “Disneyland”. Councillors called for a design and materials more in keeping with the architecture of the 12th century market town. The latest scheme satisfied those demands and drew no objections from town councillors, said town clerk Maureen Anderson-Dungar. A decision will be made by Broadland District Council's planning committee on Wednesday November 8.

Tesco threaten council with mezzanine

Plans to extend a major supermarket have been delayed after concerns from an engineering firm. Tesco, in Burn Road, Hartlepool, wants to extend its shop floor by more than 2,500 square metres by incorporating the former Jewson depot into its premises. The development would also see an extra 351 car parking spaces .But nearby HQ Engineering has objected to the plans because it claims heavy goods vehicles would not be able to enter or leave its premises because of new traffic lights and extra traffic. Managing director Mike Douglas said Tesco's proposals could even force the company out of business.He told a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council's planning committee: "We need clear access to our yard at all times."It is murder to get out of our yard as it is."Councillors agreed to defer a decision on whether to grant planning permission until a future meeting, so discussions could take place between Tesco, HQ Engineering and the council about the traffic situation. Coun Edna Wright said: "I don't think we can sacrifice an established company to benefit Tesco." Tesco has said the extension would create extra choice for customers, with 2,601 square metres of new floor space. But the company has said that if planning permission is not granted, it will go ahead with plans to construct a new storey between the ground and first floors, which would not need council permission. Officers said that this could mean around 3,189 extra square metres, which could be detrimental to smaller town centre businesses.

Join the Great Supermarket Debate

An alliance of farmers, environmentalists and public interest groups is urging local shopkeepers, farmers and consumers to have their say in the great supermarket debate. Members of the public now have just two months left to submit their views to the Competition Commission which is currently investigating the dominance of the big supermarkets in the grocery sector.
The Competition Commission has told campaigners that not enough of the affected individuals have so far provided evidence that big supermarkets squeeze farmers or make it hard for local shops to thrive. Friends of the Earth Supermarkets Campaigner Sandra Bell said: "This Inquiry into the dominance of the big supermarkets is crucial to the future of our high streets and the livelihoods of our farmers. But the Competition Commission can only act if it is given the evidence. People have just two months before commissioners make up their minds on whether there is a problem. Farmers who think supermarkets are treating them unfairly and local shopkeepers whose businesses are threatened by the big supermarkets should contact the Commission now."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Competition Commission submissions

The submissions to the Competition Commissions investigation into the Groceries Market are now available on the CC website. You can see the letters from the all major supermarkets, suppliers, MPs and consumers.

The Tesco submission says prices were falling while choice and quality and service levels were increasing, "Our leading position has been won through fair competitive rivalry," it added. "A willingness on our part to take greater risks ... has been a secret of our success over recent years". It insists that it does not have any "landbank", just a "pipeline" of properties in development and "there is nothing anti-competitive in acquiring or retaining a pipeline of land." It insists: "We do not engage in a spoiling game."

Tell that to the residents of Sheringham and they will laugh or possibly cry!

Talking Tesco

Tesco is fighting back against rivals' claims that it dominates the grocery market with a new website to limit the fallout from the Competition Commission's probe into the sector. "Talking Tesco" was launched as the group's four biggest competitors ganged up against the market leader in their submissions to the watchdog's inquiry. It is the supermarket giant's attempt to quash claims that its high share of local markets is bad for shoppers. From lower prices and higher product quality, to more choice and better service, Tesco paints a glowing picture and it is the latest volley in a public relations' offensive.
According to weekend press reports Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and M&S have all demanded changes to planning regulations governing new stores in their submissions to the competition commission inquiry into the grocery market. According to Sainsbury, Tesco has 55% of the "landbank" of sites in the process of being developed into new grocery outlets. "Consequently, Tesco's market share could reach 38% by 2010", says the Sainsbury submission. It adds that if Tesco also maintains its recent faster growth rate, it "would achieve an even greater market share of 43%". The commission is expected to publish its initial thoughts in December and plans to publish its final report next October.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

NNDC talk to Budgens

The Chief Executive of NNDC met with representatives of Budgens this week as Budgens displayed their store proposals alongside the Council Local Development Framework roadshow at the Station Rd car park. Budgens are keen to emphasis that their plans meet the requirements of the LDF, whereas the Tesco proposals do not.

Tesco are expcted to put forward their revised plans this week. It could be an interesting few weeks!

Friday, October 20, 2006

The truth behind the supermarkets

Found this interesting article about the impact of supermarkets.
How can supermarkets continually cut prices yet still declare ever-increasing multi-billion pound profits year on year? In the 1960s, supermarkets offered the UK consumer convenience and choice never seen before. But as the years have gone on they have become ever more powerful and have slowly eliminated the competition, leaving us with very little choice other than to shop there. In the process, they have caused untold damage to everything from our local high street to the rainforests. Recently, much has been made of Tesco's record £2 billion profits. 2003 sales for Asda’s parent-company Wal-Mart were $249 billion. These companies are not just interested in making money, they need to make more money every year, while their brilliant marketing machines try to brainwash us into believing they are champions of the consumer.

Read the full article to get all the details.

Renewed push for Budgens proposed store

Budgens have published a new brochure documenting their plans for a new store in Sheringham. It shows an artists view of how the store might look and details their ideas for the car-park and its impact on the town. You can pick one up in the current store in Sheringham. There is also a detachable section asking for your views.

I will add a copy to the website this weekend if you are unable to get there in person.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

NNDC sell out to Tesco

At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday the members agreed to Tescos proposal to buyout their contractual requirement to replace the housing lost if their store gets planning approval. This means that the council will receive a payment (yet to be agreed) towards replacement housing instead of actually getting the housing built for them by Tesco. This leaves Tesco free to push their store plans forward without having to worry about this condition, and it also leaves the council with the risks associated with finding land and building suitable replacement homes.

Tesco win again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tesco buy out more planning clauses.

Further to the news that Tesco wish to buyout their requirement to replace the homes lost if they were to build a store in Sheringham it appears this is a normal way for Tesco to behave as they have also tried to use their huge profits to renege on a planning obligation in Yorkshire.
Supermarket giant Tesco has applied to buy its way out of an agreement to provide a riverside footpath and cycleway alongside its Abbeydale store in a move approved by council planning officers. The company agreed to install a footpath alongside the River Sheaf when it was given planning permission for the development, but has now applied to the council to pay it £274,000 instead of going ahead with the work.

Tesco applies for smaller store!

In Devon, Torrington's "store wars" story took a new twist this week when Tesco withdrew its application for a major foodstore on the Vicarage Field site - and replaced it with one for a smaller development. Local residents mounted a concerted campaign against the original application because of its proposed siting on the recreational land, which would have meant the relocation of the town's football ground, swimming pool and a children's play area. A consultants' study submitted to Torridge District Council recently described the proposal for a 2,788 square metre store as "out of scale with Torrington." In terms of size, a rival application by Somerfields for a 1,115 square metre store in School Lane "would be adequate to provide a quality foodstore," said the report. Tesco's new application is sticking to the Vicarage Field site, but significantly scaling down on size.
Felix Gummer, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said: "Tesco has withdrawn the current application for a 30,000 square feet foodstore and replaced it with an application for a much smaller store. This is in direct response to concerns raised by local residents. Tesco are in the process of finalising all the details of the new scheme and will be releasing these in full within the coming weeks. However, I can confirm that the new application is significantly smaller and in sales floorspace terms, it is almost 40 per cent smaller."

Blimey! Tesco reacting to residents concerns? More likely they want to prevent Somerfield getting permission, then they will increase the size of the store later.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Radio station backs traders in Tesco war

ROYSTON radio station Roysia FM has started an all-out war with Tesco in a bid to support traders in the town. Andrew Fowler, who runs the radio station, has been handing out anti-Tesco leaflets and has pledged that Roysia FM will not take advertising from the supermarket giant. He said: “In this area where there is a big Tesco, people are not coming into town any more and car parking prices have risen, which just spells trouble. Royston was once a thriving town, but it has gone downhill. In the US, small towns have been devastated by Walmart and this is the effect Tesco is having in the UK.”
Liberal democrat councillor Rob Inwood backed the campaign and said that Royston residents should show their support for the High Street during the Christmas period. He fears that Tesco is taking advantage of its strong position by putting up its ‘Extra’ sign without planning permission, for which it has applied retrospectively. H" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350">

Shopkeeper speaks out against Big Four

A Stalham shopkeeper has been giving evidence to the Competition Commission in London in the hope it will lead to a clamp-down on the encroaching powers of the Big Four supermarkets. Nigel Dowdney, who runs the Stalham Shoppper in Stalham and the Earlham Shopper in west Earlham, travelled down to the head office near Holborn on Wednesday with members from anti-Tesco campaigners Tescopoly. Mr Dowdney was asked to give evidence in front of a panel of 12 people. “I spoke about the whole way Tesco and the larger supermarkets are treating farmers and their suppliers and how the supply chain is tipped towards the larger supermarkets,” he said. He added he told them the closure of small shops was leading to loss of choice for customers.“Local authorities are frightened of taking on the managers of supermarkets because they threaten to sue them. If the local authority says 'No' then that should be the end of the matter and we should not end up with situations like we have had on Unthank Road.”Tesco has had three planning applications for a Tesco Express in Unthank Road rejected by City Hall's planning committee, racking up thousands of pounds in costs to tax-payers.

Tesco consultation is waste of money, councillor claims

Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Swainston has said the consultation process into the proposed Tesco development in Darlington town centre has been a waste of money and unnecessary.
The Darlington councillor made his comments after receiving a letter from the borough solicitor which says a report, commissioned by the council with consultants Colliers, is likely to conclude there is limited capacity for food retail in the town centre. Coun Swainston said this fact had already been established in a report commissioned from consultants Drivers Jonas in 2001.
"This was a non-starter - how much is it all going to cost? " The latest report from Colliers, which has yet to be finalised, but the conclusions of the report are known to the council, confirms that there is still limited capacity. Coun Swainston said: "The reports have confirmed that there is no additional retail space, so what has all this been about. The consultation should have asked what people genuinely wanted at the site not whether or not they liked Tesco."

Radio station backs traders in Tesco war

ROYSTON radio station Roysia FM has started an all-out war with Tesco in a bid to support traders in the town. Andrew Fowler, who runs the radio station, has been handing out anti-Tesco leaflets and has pledged that Roysia FM will not take advertising from the supermarket giant. He said: “In this area where there is a big Tesco, people are not coming into town any more and car parking prices have risen, which just spells trouble. Royston was once a thriving town, but it has gone downhill. In the US, small towns have been devastated by Walmart and this is the effect Tesco is having in the UK.”
Liberal democrat councillor Rob Inwood backed the campaign and said that Royston residents should show their support for the High Street during the Christmas period. He fears that Tesco is taking advantage of its strong position by putting up its ‘Extra’ sign without planning permission, for which it has applied retrospectively. He also said “They have not yet put in the pedestrian crossing which they were required to as part of an S106 order [planning gain agreement] when planning permission for the extension was granted,” he said.

Urgent: Tesco to buy NNDC

Ina report to be presented to the Cabinet Committee tomorrow Philip Burton (Chief Executive) proposes to allow Tesco to buy out it's commitment to providing replacement housing for the apartments which would be demolished if the Tesco store was to be built. The original agreement included in its terms that 11 bungalows were built at Weston Terrace. The council know that this is going to be very difficult to achieve and are bending over backwards to assist Tesco in getting the planning permission it wants.
If Tesco want the agreement changed then it must be done in whole and not piecemeal. The council should only agree to this change if Tesco agree to remove the restriction on the council promoting other land for a supermarket.

Please write urgently to insisting that either the agreement with Tesco is renegotiated as a whole, or that this request is refused.

Friday, October 13, 2006

store could be the final nail in the coffin for ailing High Street

Tesco faces another battle in East Lothian. Just a week after Britain’s biggest supermarket was controversially given the green light to build a store in North Berwick, community leaders in Musselburgh have expressed concerns over the proposed new Tesco’s in their town. Musselburgh Community Council members were shocked to discover at their meeting on Tuesday that the new Tesco store would be twice the size of the existing store. Community council members fear the massive Inveresk Road store could be the final nail in the coffin for ailing High Street businesses which have struggled to compete with the nearby Fort Kinnaird shopping complex. Vice-chairman Kenny Stitt complained about the diminished retail offer on the High Street. “You can’t buy a pair of shoes on the High Street and the Co-op is lying empty,” he said. “There has never been so many empty shops in the High Street. Do we need a store this size in Musselburgh? Tesco already has a big hold on the market and what are they giving back to the community? The economic situation in Musselburgh has got to be looked at.”

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How Tesco has conquered the entire country ... well almost

In an article for the Scottish Herald, Joanna Blythman, author of Bad Food Britain, said yesterday that Scotland is becoming "Tesco nation", where consumer choice is evaporating. The food writer has joined residents and traders in opposing plans for a Tesco Metro to be built in Craiglockhart in Edinburgh, which have already been approved by the council. She said that competition authorities in Britain had neglected their duty by allowing the retailer to assume such a prominent position and called for a moratorium on new supermarket developments, adding: "Tesco is rapidly becoming Britain's variation of Wal-Mart. It is a voracious retail monster, gobbling up as much share of the nation's shopping basket as it can. It's been allowed by the competition authorities to achieve a level of dominance over the retail market which it should never have been allowed to do. There needs to be questions asked now about what the government and competition authorities are going to do. We have to start talking about a moratorium on new supermarket developments and changing planning laws so that local communities can stop supermarkets. As it is, if we keep going in the direction we are headed in, we're going to end up with the retail equivalent of a one-party state. People used to complain about what they called Tesco town in Inverness. Now we're moving more towards having a Tesco nation. We're very different from other European countries which have a vigorous culture of independent shops."
However, Professor Leigh Sparks, of the Institute of Retail Studies at Stirling University, said that Tesco had been successful in giving consumers what they wanted and persuading them to stay loyal."Tesco is a very good retailer and they have been very effective at getting sites and operating those sites," he said.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tesco may be twice as powerful as previously thought

Tesco may be twice as powerful as previously thought – as the dominant retailer in 67 per cent of UK postcodes, according to a new study.The survey shows that Tesco controls the market in 81 of the 121 UK postcodes.This local share is more than double its national share at 31 per cent because of the number of stores in areas such as Truro and Swansea, according to retail consultancy CACI.
Using its predictive modelling system CACI is able to estimate the market share of all the key retailers within each Postcode Area (indicated by the prefix letter(s) of a postcode i.e.WD, AL etc), on the basis of supermarket (stores over 4,000 sq ft) locations and sizes, plus additional data such as national and regional market share, and local demographics.
Performing this exercise across the whole of the UK, CACI estimates that Tesco has now achieved market leadership in as many as 81 of all 121 Postcode Areas (67%). Furthermore it also estimates that in the 40 remaining Postcode Areas, Tesco holds the number two spot in 24. Therefore there are just 16 Postcode Areas (13%) in the country where Tesco does not hold the number one or two spot.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tesco accused of child labour

TESCO, Britain’s biggest retailer, has been accused of selling clothes made by two contractors in Bangladesh who are alleged to have used illegal child labour. The claims will be made on Channel 4 News tomorrow night. The programme, made after a four-month investigation, focuses on Harvest Rich and Evince, suppliers based in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Both are established suppliers to Tesco and produce clothes under the Florence and Fred brand, one of the supermarket group’s clothing lines. They also supply other Western companies. The programme features footage of children who are allegedly under 15. In one interview, a 12-year-old who claimed to work as a machinist at Harvest Rich, says: “They (the factory) did ask me about my age. I said I was 11 years old. And they took me in.” He also claims that “around 200-300 child workers” are employed by Harvest Rich. In another interview a 12-year-old girl, who claims to work for Harvest Rich said she earns £9 a month.
Tesco said as soon it was alerted to the allegations more than a week ago it carried out “unannounced inspections” of the four sites featured in the report but found “no evidence whatsoever of under-age workers”. It added that all factories authorised to produce Tesco clothing in Bangladesh had been inspected by Tesco and independent specialists in the last year.

Friday, October 06, 2006

More protests as Tesco chain grows bigger

TRADERS are throwing their support behind a campaign against the expansion of an out-of-town Tesco during the same week of the store's official opening. The £5 million extension to Tesco Extra in Royston has created around 90 new full and part-time jobs. But business owners in Royston town centre, who have been fighting the further expansion of Tesco in Old North Road, are fearful about the effect on them of the extended store, which now sells many more non-food products. Many are signing up to support a campaign run by businessman Andrew Fowler against further expansion. Mr Fowler said he had handed out hundreds of leaflets during Royston's farmers' market at the weekend and had a "terrific" response. He said: "Businesses in Royston really are suffering - the town centre is a shadow of its former self. "We have to do something - anything - to stop the out-of-town Tesco from destroying our town centre trade."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

In the news

The North Norfolk News has an article covering our trip to Downing Street.
Anti-Tesco campaigners went to No.10 to hand over a 3,500-name petition protesting at the company's bid to build in Sheringham.The petition - called Destination Downing Street - asks: “Do you want a characterful, thriving and unique seaside market town, full of interesting small shops, or a Tesco superstore that sells absolutely everything and makes those small shops redundant?”
Earlier this year, North Norfolk District Council's planners voted 20-0 to reject Tesco's application. But the decision was reversed by 10-2 after councillors were told of a three-year-old property deal, which stopped the council promoting development of a rival store on its car park land at Station Road.
Ms St John Mildmay said plans were afoot to mount a court challenge to the “secret” deal. She was accompanied by a number of fellow campaigners in London, including chamber of trade chairwoman Janet Farrow and Reg Grimes from Sheringham Preservation Society. The delegation is being filmed by a BBC crew, which is featuring the Scamrod campaign in series The Streets of…. later this year. (Nov)

Council rejects Tesco extension

Councillors have rejected a planning application which may have led to an extension of a new Tesco supermarket. Out of 21 members on Denbighshire council's planning committee, 18 voted to block the retail giant, which opened its Ruthin store in August. Councillors decided it could have a negative impact on other stores in the town centre. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), called the council's refusal "a victory for common sense over greed," Gwyn Evans, regional chairman, said the FSB had campaigned on behalf of local traders to block the application. He said: "We argued that the loss of nearly a million pounds turnover to the small traders in Ruthin was hardly conducive to sustaining an affluent feel in the town." Mr Evans said it would "protect the unique character of Ruthin." A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found businesses in the town were already suffering a downturn of 15 to 20% since Tesco opened, with some reporting a drop of up to 75% in takings. It also claimed around £800,000 had been lost by Ruthin businesses in the week since the store opened.

Councillors and common sense? Can we have some of that please?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who can stop the Tesco juggernaut?

The Northern Echo highlights the concerns over the growth of Tesco and its impact on communities. It quotes Malcolm Goodman, a lecturer at Durham University's business school, "They're able to offer the basics of life at heavily reduced prices and sometimes at a loss," says Mr Goodman. "They have this way of moving people through three price bands. There's the bargain band they will offer initially and, when most of the competition has gone, they will offer the mainstream band to shoppers. Then they will move you up to the premium band." By the time you reach the premium band stage, he says, there are fewer cheaper prices around to act as competition because most of the competition has gone. This comes at the same time as suppliers are being squeezed. "In a sense, people are captive because basically Tesco will have a monopoly," he says. "That's when they start putting more and more of their own brands on the shelves."
Sheringham beware.

Tescopoly is coming

The EDP carries an interesting article into the effect Tesco is having in our lives and communities.
It seems in terms of its profits and the customers who flock to its stores, the giant can do no wrong. But for those winners there are losers and it stands accused of ripping the soul out of towns and making its billions on the back of underpaid struggling farmers. Its chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy, yesterday denied supermarkets were killing off the high street, as his firm banked profits of £1.09bn.
No longer are our high streets full of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, but huge Tescos where shoppers can get meat, bread and candles under one convenient roof. But Sir Terry claimed Tesco was simply delivering what customers want and in some cases could encourage people into local stores."When a Tesco store opens, shops around it do better rather than worse," he told reporters at a press conference in London. He argued people would come into a town where a Tesco has opened and will then stay and visit the local shops. Sir Terry also went so far as to claim there was evidence to suggest the diet of people in the local community "dramatically improves" when a Tesco Express opens.

The article goes on to look at the impact on Stalham. Where once the town boasted a baker, fishmonger and greengrocer alongside the still-existing hardware store, butcher and general shop, those have now been replaced by estate agents and takeaways. Nigel Dowdney, owner of the Stalham Shopper said "In ten years' time if supermarkets are allowed to have completely taken over, the population of this country will start to regret that it was allowed to happen, and it will be much too late by then."

A friendly welcome at Downing Street

A group of 5 campaigners from Sheringham accompanied by a BBC documentary crew took their concerns to the Prime Minister yesterday. A petition containing 3541 signatures with comments from hundreds of Sheringham residents and visitors was delivered to No. 10 in the hope that democracy, although dead in North Norfolk, was still alive at the head of the government.
It was heartening that two of the Policeman on duty had holidayed at Sheringham recently and supported our cause. Even those who hadn't been to Sheringham had seen the impact of Tesco in their own communities and wished us luck. We hope the Prime Minister shares their views.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tesco's profits confirm dominance

Tesco is set to face further claims it is unfairly dominating the marketplace this week as it announces record half-year profits of more than £1 billion.The supermarket giant is due to report a rise in pre-tax profits of 12 per cent to more than £1.125bn. This means it is now raking in nearly £35 a second, or £1 of every £7 spent on groceries in the UK. The news will add fuel to claims made by MPs and campaign groups that a “Tescopoly” situation has emerged, coming as the Competition Commission continues to investigate the UK’s richest retailer for unfair domination over independent counterparts. Commenting on Tesco’s financial results, Andrew Simms, policy director at the New Economics Foundation, said: “This is clear evidence of market failure. Tesco is like some invasive predator that kills off other species. They put everybody out of business and there has to be a curb on their dominance by our regulators.” However, Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy is expected to counteract these claims at a briefing tomorrow (Tuesday) with the news that, while other sectors are seeing vast job losses, the retailer will create thousands of jobs through new openings and expansions. (even though Tesco themselves are making supply chain staff redundant!)