I openly and vocally opposed the opening of the new Tesco, not just because I feared for the economy of Fakenham, but also becaues of its ludicrous location and the unwillingness of Tesco to build a bridge so that it could be accessed from the by-pass. At the time I got a lot of stick from people. One or two said they wouldn't vote for me again, others, even though they disagreed with me were pleased to have a councillor who actually stated an opinion for a change.
Tesco at the time along with their supporters claimed that they would provide more choice, and with that could come lower prices. Now, with the closure of Budgens in the centre of town (only the budgens local is left) and Rainbow, closing in two weeks, the people without cars and those who shop in Fakenham town centre now really have no choice at all, and Tesco are in a monopoly position in the centre of town, which is, after all, what they wanted and knew would happen. This is, however, the opposite of the "choice" they offered the town.
The great shame is that Rainbow (part of the Co-op) had permission to extend and rebuild, but have chosen to sell out to Lidl. Yes Lidl will provide an alternative, but they are not a mainstream supermarket like Tesco, Rainbow, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Asda or Morrisons, and they will not be open for more than six months.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Morrisons on the edge of town will go ahead with the extension they talked about so that Tesco will really have to fight for customers.
I'm not at all pleased to be proved right about the affect Tesco has had on Fakenham. Budgens gone (and with it the Post Office), Rainbow gone, Curry's gone, and talk of others who are re-thinking their position. It happened in Stalham where rivals closed and smaller independent shops went to the wall, and it's starting to happen in Fakenham too.