The clock is ticking
for Tesco to appeal a decision preventing it building a store on Unthank Road - but the battle over the site might not be over. The supermarket giant has until February 17 the make an appeal but Chris Hull, from Residents Against Unthank Road Tesco, believes that even if it does not appeal, Tesco could well put in another application. Mr Hull made the prediction while responding to new research which shows Tesco swallowed up half of Britain's new retail space last year. The supermarket giant expanded into a further two million square meters of shopping space in 2006 far outstripping all its rivals. Mr Hull said: “When we did our original research for the Unthank Tesco campaign we looked at numerous sites where Tesco express has opened and we could not find one that had not had an impact on local shops in the vicinity. Local shops form part of the community and every pound that passes through a local shop is re-circulated in the local economy about three times. Every pound to Tesco immediately goes out of the area. In America, some states decided they would have to do something about Walmart because it was creating ghost towns and if we do not do something we are going to have the same here. Planning committees should be allowed to take into consideration the sustainability of the local community when deciding on these applications.” Across Britain, about 2,500 small shops every year go to the wall as a result of competition from supermarkets. Nigel Dowdney runs the Stalham Shopper, in Stalham. He has seen at first hand the effect the opening of a new supermarket can have after Tesco opened in the village. He said: “Contrary to what Tesco say there has been a decline in footfall and it has had a totally negative impact. We have seen a number of shops close down and they are still closing down." In August last year a third application by Tesco to build an “express” store on a former petrol station site on Unthank Road was rejected. The defeat followed a long running campaign by local residents who feared for the future of the independently owned local shops in the area.