Save our Sheringham - Say NO to Tesco

Friday, March 02, 2007

Supermarkets are unpopular!

British consumers are being forced to shop at supermarkets against their will, a survey suggests. A poll of grocery shoppers conducted by the Oxfam charity shows that just 11 per cent prefer shopping at supermarkets – despite the fact that 92 per cent do so. More popular are buying direct from farmers, local independent retailers or growing own food. The survey comes amid a growing debate about whether supermarkets restrict or provide greater choice in the range of products they sell. Consumers seem convinced that supermarkets hold the greatest power to influence Britain's grocery-buying habits. Forty-eight per cent said supermarkets could do the most to change shopping habits, compared to 30 per cent for consumers and 16 per cent for the government's potential impacts. Oxfam used the poll to draw attention to widespread concerns about ethical and environmental issues. The charity's director of trading, David McCullough, congratulated the Co-Op and Waitrose for their efforts in providing fair trade products and said competitors like Tesco and Asda should "take their lead from such groundbreaking moves". "By doing more to commit to fair trade practices and reduce their environmental impact, the biggest retailers can start to reverse the suspicion felt by many consumers over their huge influence," he suggested. Following a referral by the Office of Fair Trading last May, the Competition Commission is currently conducting a probe into whether supermarkets keep prices too high by restricting sector access to new competitors. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Morrisons together control three-quarters of Britain's grocery market.

Yet another town battling against Tesco.

Controversial plans for a large Tesco store in the centre of Penistone, Yorkshire could be decided next week. Councillors are to make a site visit next Tuesday to examine the area affected before holding a meeting at Barnsley Town Hall to discuss the proposals later in the day. The meeting is the culmination of years of debate over the future of Penistone centre and the former cattle market.
Opponents argue that the current proposals are so big that they would have an adverse effect on the market town atmosphere of the community and would put smaller, competing, businesses in the area at risk. Instead, they would prefer the redevelopment to resurrect plans drawn up several years ago which would have allowed the construction of a smaller supermarket along with a new market square, smaller shops and possibly flats above. Those proposals date from 2001 and were discussed at a public meeting in 2003 but have not been advanced since then.
Group spokesman Pete Riley said: "Barnsley Planning Regulatory Board have the power to say no to the Tesco application and invite the developers to come forward with a new proposal which builds on the market town character of Penistone. "It is extraordinary that the earlier plans which were paid for by tax payers have been dropped like a hot potato," he added.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tesco accused of bullying council.

South Somerset District Council councillors have accused Tesco of bullying tactics after receiving a letter from David Prichard, of consultants Farrell Bass Prichardin response to a proposal from planning officer Andrew Gunn that a decision on the application be deferred to consider changes to the design.
Towards the end of the letter Mr Prichard states: "It would be both unreasonable and irrational for the council to seek to refuse the current application on the basis that some members are seeking to secure additional changes to the design which, based on the advice given by officers, are unnecessary, would clearly adversely impact on the adjoining conservation area and are without merit - especially in view of the fact that my client's fallback position is to implement the currently approved food store. In the event that the application is either deferred or refused my client will: (a) proceed with implementation of the current approved food store scheme; and (b) reserve its right to pursue and appeal in respect of what would be unreasonable refusal of an application for a scheme which actually enhances the design of the proposed food store. The legal advice which we have received (which is consistent with our view) is that an appeal on the narrow ground of design is likely to succeed and the council would place itself in a potentially vulnerable position if the main reason for refusal is the failure on the part of my client to agree to amend the design of the food store to introduce a pitched roof which, in terms of design, would adversely impact on the character and appearance of the adjoining conservation area. I trust that you will draw this letter to the attention of your members in the hope that common sense will prevail, and they will support the clear and considered officer recommendation, which is to approve the application."
At public question time former Ilminster Mayor Margaret Excell described the letter as "bullying tactics". Ilminster district councillor Kim Turner said: "I don't like receiving a letter saying their legal advice says an appeal is likely to succeed. I feel this letter from this agent or from Tesco is a bullying tactic and I disagree with anything like that." Linda Vijeh agreed, saying: "I don't think blackmail letters should be any reason to vote for it."

The deadline has passed!

Well, I hope you all managed to get your objections to the Tesco store submitted to the council.
Now you can start pressing your councillors to read all the submissions and make the only acceptable choice, to reject Tescos planning application.

If you missed the deadline, then still submit your objections. It is likely, given the size and attention of the application, that they will be getting plenty of correspondence on this issue right up to the wire.

Good Luck, and thanks.