My Town Not Tesco Town

I must admit I don’t like Tesco PLC. It always seems to me that they have a lot in common with the Daleks – they are intent on intergalactic domination! Unlike the Daleks they don’t get stopped by the first step!

From where I live I can walk to two small Tesco stores within 7 minutes. I can walk to a big Tesco in 10 minutes and can drive to two more Tesco stores in 10 minutes in different directions. Now they want to put another store 5 minutes away in an abandoned Woolworths store on Allerton Road – the jewel in the crown of South Liverpool.

I cannot currently oppose this because it is a like for like planning position. But – and here is the inadequacy of planning law – the planning permission for this use is frozen at the time Woolworths made it in the 1950s. At that time shops shut at 5 or 6 and were not open on Sundays. Woolworths did not sell alcohol and people came to it by bus and foot a lot more than by car. So the Council put no restrictions on its use because no-one could foresee the big changes in society caused by the car, IT and Sunday opening.

Most of the things that I am trying to stop, using my very limited powers, I would apply to any retail outlet. The store is right up against residential accommodation in an area which is already stressed by the number of incomers using bars, cafes and restaurants. This will cause further problems. I would like to see the store restricted to old style opening hours; I would like to see the store not selling cut price booze; I would like to see proper control of deliveries. But although I will do my best there is, in truth, little I can do until the changes promised by this government come into effect next summer.

But I particularly dislike Tesco because it is making a mockery of consumer choice. I don’t use supermarkets myself but I know that they all sell the same sorts of branded rubbish. Serried rows of crisps and aisle after aisle of precooked food. So you could, say why bother to try and promote choice. Well there are two reasons:

  • Even a little choice is better than none.

  • I have concerns that when Tesco have driven everyone else from a large part of Liverpool they will simply do what all monopolies do – put the prices up.

So like the little boy with his finger in the dyke I will try and beat Tesco down a bit, restrict them a bit so that they don’t restrict others but at the end of the day they will win.

But I will enjoy the fight!

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. UK representative on UCLG Finance Committee, Executive Bureau and World Council. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperon on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and three grandchildren.
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2 Responses to My Town Not Tesco Town

  1. David Boyle says:

    Absolutely right. We have to somehow persuade people that, by hoovering up the available income in an area – rather than encouraging it to circulate around the local economy – Tesco and their like are largely corrosive of local economies. They often, though not always, make people poorer and more dependent. Some supermarkets can be effective anchor stores by attracting people to the area to shop elsewhere. This normally doesn’t apply to Tesco, because they are using their privileges and effective subsidies to compete with most of the surrounding stores that are supposed to being anchored there.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    Bristol City councillor Jon Rogers commented at http://notesco.wordpress.com/ and pointed us here.

    Good luck.

    You are not alone. About 300 groups round Britain are currently opposing a multi-national from muscling in.

    I believe that multinationals exploit regulations, such as planning loopholes.

    So good luck with the planning laws too.

    We in Stokes Croft are opposing the 39th Tesco in Bristol.

    We too want our town – not Tesco town.

    Here is my latest blog on the subject: http://realfoodlover.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/tesco-on-stokes-croft-halted

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