The Tesco Debate

Tesco Clay Cross
Tesco Clay Cross

I’m writing in because I think that like a lot of other people, I am getting tried of reading the same letters from the same people regarding the proposed Tesco.

As with many things in this day and age, it appears the noisy minority think they represent the silent majority. I, for one, am greatly looking forward to the new Tesco store.

I like to do one shop a week, getting everything I need in one go, and so naturally I use Morrisons for this purpose as I like my brand products.

Due to their location, I almost never visit Spring Gardens. If I decide to use the new Tesco instead I will certainly pay a visit to the local shops everytime I go. Paying to park is an inconvenience, not due to the money value, but just having 80p or £1.20 in change. A free car park for all will make Spring Gardens far more accessible for drivers.

I understand some people’s desire to resist change, to keep local businesses forever regardless of cost or lack of choice, but perhaps some people should realise we are living in hard times where many people are losing jobs and taking pay cuts.

A supermarket price war is exactly what we need, and with the proposed and much needed addition of a bowling alley and cinema to this town, I see nothing but good coming from Tesco.

R Fletcher

Carlisle Road

Buxton

We wish to reply to the recent letter from Tesco representative, Mathew Magee.

Mr Magee draws attention to the ‘range of views’ Buxton residents have expressed at Tesco’s public consultations on its scheme. What he does not mention is that the consultations were specifically organised to allow people to comment only on details of the scheme such as the store design and layout.

At the second consultation, hosted by the Civic Association, a call by the audience for a vote on whether they wanted a large Tesco store in Buxton in the first place, was strenuously resisted by Tesco’s representatives. When the vote was finally taken in the teeth of their opposition, almost everybody voted against the proposal.

Again, Mr Magee points to how Tesco’s free car park will be to everyone’s advantage. Really? Clearly Tesco itself will benefit as people who park there will be on its doorstep. They would need a strong incentive to go further afield to do their shopping. However Mr Magee maintains that, having shopped at Tesco, people will then go into the town centre for further shopping thereby benefiting other retailers. Frankly, this is ridiculous, particularly coming from a Tesco representative.

He must be aware that Tesco is constantly trying to thrust its way into new areas of marketing just so that its customers can do all their spending exclusively under one roof – its own. Tesco sells everything you will find in Morrison’s and much more including clothing.

It may also have banking, insurance, travel agency services, a pharmacy and even a hairdresser.

So will people parked at Tesco go into the town centre to do some of their shopping? Not if Tesco can help it!

Tesco’s proposed store will certainly create new jobs but what the company fails to mention is all the jobs that will be lost when existing local shops have to close or cut back. Tesco will be elbowing its way into a limited market place. It is not going to attract vast numbers of new customers from outside of town.

To succeed it has to grab a significant share of the existing market. For that to happen other retailers have to lose market share.

That means its financially weaker local competitors will be forced to cut back on staff or simply close. Some idea of the potential damage can be gleaned from figures quoted in Friends of the Earth’s 2005 briefing, ‘The Tesco Takeover’.

They show that to generate equal amounts of turnover, small grocery shops employ almost three times as many people as does Tesco. Specifically the 200 jobs the company hopes to generate are equivalent to 550 in small grocery stores. Full marks to Big T for efficiency and exploiting economies of scale. But where does this leave job creation overall?. Of course, Tesco will not be competing just with small grocery stores but also with supermarkets some of which operate at levels of efficiency closer to its own. Nonetheless, the number of jobs lost has to be significantly higher than the number created. Judging from their support for our campaign, local shopkeepers already understand this very clearly.

Again, FoE relates the negative impact a new Tesco store has had on many local communities.

In Fakenham there was a 33 per cent rise in the number of vacant shops. In Stalham, traders reported falls in turnover of up to 40 per cent. A Beverley resident wrote that, ‘Within months of the opening of Beverley’s Tesco, other shops began to close. The roads around Tesco provide perpetual traffic jams The whole town has been destabilised by the coming of the giant….Tesco has been a planning disaster from which the town may never recover’.

In economically depressed areas with high unemployment and few shops, a new Tesco may well benefit a local community. We do not live in such an area. Buxton has a rich variety of local shops that keep money within the local community. Furthermore it still has its own unique identity, an economically active centre and a healthy local business community that survives in the teeth of competition from its existing supermarkets.

Let’s keep it that way.

Roger Floyd and Julian Cohen

For Buxton Against Tesco; buxtonagainsttesco@gmail.com

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I have been reading all the postbag letters about the Tescos these last few weeks, about everyone complaining about the fact that they are wanting build a Tescos in Buxton. Have these people stopped to think about all the local unemployed looking for work and not being able to actually find any. I’m getting the feeling that they are not!

With the lack of jobs in Buxton currently, I welcome the new supermarket and any other possible job creators, not just in running the shop but also in the building of it. I’m one of the lucky few 18 to 25yr olds that actually have a job in this town. I look around a see many of my friends struggling to pay the bills and rent and having to rely on benefits. Its not that they aren’t looking for work, that’s the problem they look for work and there is no work to be found. I’ve seen friends pace up and down the high street, into local pubs and cafes, in the local factories etc giving out CVs, filling application forms and getting no where. I feel very dishearten that the local businesses feel they need to protest against the supermarket being built, yet they (due to the economy etc) cannot help individuals with the much needed jobs. With the bottling plant for Buxton Water moving to Waterswallows in the near future, which will also be providing jobs as well, there is a position for someone to come in and provide jobs to those people where other businesses cannot.

We are a tourist town after all and when the tourist season is over so will the jobs that comes with it. Not only will the new supermarket bring more jobs but will also bring another competitor for the pricing war between the current supermarkets we have.

I am all up for local produce, local shops, local people, but we do NEED more jobs and if the local shops cannot provide then maybe the new supermarket can especially with the new government cuts on benefits. It’s not fun being on the dole, its not fun looking for work and not finding any and its definitely not fun when people protest against something that will bring in more jobs; instead tell you that you have move away from your friends and family, to find jobs in other towns where they may have the same problems we here in Buxton have. I feel that these people need to look at their own friends and family and see where they are going to find local jobs if they are currently out of work.

Are they going to provide for them. For those who have struggled for over a year and half to find some form of work that will pay the rent and the bills and put food on the table. Will they put their hand in their pocket and provide. I do know that a spokesperson for Tescos has expressed some of these views in a previous postbag but I feel that a Local should also express these views.

Due to that fact this a letter that says yes to Tesco I am wondering whether or not it will be included in the postbag section of the Advertiser, I would hope so. I hope that people will now understand a bit more of the struggle that many people have looking for work in this town.

Charlotte Weston

Buxton

via e-mail

The recent correspondence regarding Messrs Tesco’s application to build a supermarket on the site of the current Nesle/ Buxton Water Company bottling plant, does not seem to make any reference to the type of building intended for this most prominent location. Buxton and its surrounding towns and villages are fortunate in their inheritance of buildings from an earlier era that harmonise and complement the areas of outstanding natural beauty nearby. However nearly every major new structure permitted by the planning authorities in recent years throughout the High Peak, whether by the private or public sector, degrades and intrudes upon this inheritance.

Buildings which are out of scale, in inappropriate materials, have shoddy detail, intrusive colour schemes - or all of these - have been routinely approved, even though they clearly do nothing to improve the built environment of the borough.

In 2006, when Messrs Tesco and Esso proposed to build a new filling station and ‘Express’ outlet on London Road in an essentially residential area we raised no objection in principle, but implored the authorities concerned to ensure that it was built of materials and in a style to enhance rather than degrade this ‘Gateway’ into Buxton. This letter was not even acknowledged. The resulting premises in their garish corporate style are highly inappropriate for its location in an entry into an historic market town which seeks to encourage tourism to underpin its economy.

Tesco who at one time built inoffensive retail outlets (Macclesfield) now impose their most brutalist and garish house style on communities all over the country with seeming impunity. One notable exception being Gerrards Cross where a vigilant local authority enforced them to adopt an appropriate style for their new store.

In addition Tesco habitually plaster the approaches to their stores with unsightly plastic banners in contravention of local planning restrictions. In Whaley Bridge these are fixed to railings of the bridge which is not even their property.

The claims of Mr Matthew Magee may or may not be valid but he could usefully address some of these issues in pursuit of his objectives.

Yours faithfully,

Bryan McGee F.I.Mech.E.

Blackbrook

Chapel en le Frith

You published a letter, a couple of weeks ago, from a Tesco executive whose main argument in favour of their proposed new store in central Buxton appeared to be that Tesco would be providing a new car park where shoppers could park for free in order to shop in Spring Gardens; in consequence we should all be jolly pleased and grateful to Tesco for reinvigorating local commerce.

What absolute nonsense! I have a salutary tale to tell about the fate of two small towns in Indiana USA. I was working just over the state border in Cincinnati, Ohio; we moved to Indiana, attracted by the old world atmosphere and the rolling countryside beside the Ohio river.

Just before we moved, a Walmart store was opened beside the road that joined the two local towns, Lawrenceburg and Aurora. Their combined population was about the same as that of Buxton.

It often appears that Tesco models itself upon Walmart. This monster company sets out to provide everything, under one roof, that a family might need: Grocer and Greengrocer, Butcher and Fishmonger, Baker; Deli, Drink, Clothes and Shoes, Furniture, Electronics, Watches and Jewellery, Toys and Bicycles, Hardware and Tools, Cameras and Televisions, Mobile Phones, Fabrics and Haberdashery, Bedding and Soft Furnishing, Books, Videos and CDs; a Cafeteria, an Optician, a Pharmacy, Car Repair and Servicing, Hunting and many, many Guns and much Ammunition !

Anyway, to cut a long story short, by the time we left the area, nine years later, all that remained in the once thriving High Streets of both towns were a couple of Banks, Lawyers, Cafes, Hairdressers and Thrift shops; all the other traders had given up trying to compete, and had closed down.

BUXTON BEWARE! The town needs to encourage new businesses that complement what is here, not copy and stifle; lets pray that those with power and influence in our community will put all their energy into encouraging regeneration of the ironically named ‘Historic Market Town’.

To sign a Faustian pact with Tesco is to consign this town to a slow but inevitable decline.

Malcolm Fraser

Professor Emeritus

University of Cincinnati

King Sterndale