1/12/2007

First Stalham, next stop Diss. Which Norfolk town will be next for the Tesco ghost town experience ?

The EDP reports on the ongoing saga in Diss, in South Norfolk, and Tesco's plans for total domination of the town.

A battle royal has been going on for some time since Tesco bough the old Co-op site and took on Morrisons. Anyone who drives through Diss will know that what was already a difficult road to drive through town on is now often a log jammed traffic jam. But the biggest problem is that there is now the real danger of a second Tesco superstore just a few hundred yard away, which many feel will cause the collapse of existing shopping patterns in town, leading to a closure of many shops in the high street with everyone going to the edge of town supermarkets. Read the report HERE.

I hope South Norfolk Councillors will have the stomach for the fight that could ensue. The site Tesco want to build on is already designated under the local plan as being for "leisure use". When Tesco wanted to build a store in my ward, they succeeded, but not without having restrictions placed upon them, but also not without the implicit threats that they constantly make to planning authorities and councillors.

Tesco have deep pockets, will use the best lawyers in the land, and will threaten councils that if the councils lose, they will ensure that the council pays. Many council's retreat through fear. In North Norfolk, we didn't, as can be seen from the fact that in Sheringham, Tesco have been thwarted so far. But that is because we have seen the dreadful effect Tesco has had on Stalham, which has seen local and independent shops close whilst Tesco has taken over.

Have South Norfolk Council got the strength to take them on over Diss ?

2 comments:

Ed said...

I suspect I am in a minority on this one but I think liberals should think twice before treating Tesco as the fount of all evil.

Tesco is successful because PEOPLE have CHOSEN to shop there - they like the price, the range of choice and the convenience.

The alternative to letting the market decide which shops succeed and which fail is either to use public money or public policy to preserve shops that the public have decided they dont want to shop in.

A couple of years ago I took my mum round the part of London where she had grown up before the war. It was an ordinary residential area and the striking thing was the number of houses she pointed at to say 'there used to be a little butchers/sweet/shoe repair/grocery shop there.' Sad from a sentimental point of view that these shops had all gone but the point is they had all closed because they had fallen victim to competition from shops in the High Street - the ones that in their turn are now experiencing stiff competition from supermarkets thanks to increased mobility, higher employment and greater wealth among society...

Its the job of conservatives to 'keep things the way they are' (or in some romanticised vision of the past). Liberals should be more rational and should not oppose change for the sake of it. Instead we should be vigilant and use public policy to tackle directly things like the potential environmental damage firms such as Tesco might do by virtue of their buying and distribution policies.

Business has a habit of taking care of itself and High Streets have a knack of adapting in ways we cant predict.

Justin said...

Why not find out by using the FoI Act?

Pages