Town may become infested with Britain's greediest retail parasite.
Tesco has shocked Bay traders by announcing plans for a third store in the town. The supermarket giant wants to open a Tesco Express in Sea Street, despite still facing furious opposition over its plans to convert a pub in Herne.
It already runs a store in Canterbury Road and there is a large Tesco Extra a few miles away, near Whitstable. The new shop would be located opposite the Ford showroom, and local independent traders are unhappy at the prospect.
Bhajan Singh, 53, who runs The Local convenience store in Sea Street, admitted he was "very worried" by the news. He said:
"I only started running this shop in March last year so it's not the news I would have hoped for. It's going to be a big, big problem for us. I haven't received any contact from Tesco about it and had hoped it was just a rumour, but this has confirmed my worst fears."
Town manager Chris West said:
"I am concerned about our independent businesses, which are one of the town's strengths. I know in some areas it can increase footfall and business for other traders. But it seems strange they are opening so many smaller stores when the council has been actively looking for a major supermarket as part of plans to redevelop the town centre. They seem to be homing in on the area, which in a way is a compliment as they probably scent an opportunity. But I'm not sure if a national retailer opening up stores all over the town is what we need."
Chamber of Commerce boss Michael Khoury said:
"They destroy small businesses. It's completely over the top how they just come in everywhere. I'm 100 per cent opposed to it."
But some shoppers welcomed the news, saying it would be convenient to have a supermarket nearby. A letter sent by Tesco's Carol Leslie to Sea Street businesses and residents said:
"As a future neighbour, I'm pleased to let you know that we propose to open a Tesco Express convenience store at the former car showroom at Sea Street, Herne Bay, Kent. Part of the site already has permission for retail use in the form of the existing bathroom showroom fronting Sea Street. However we will be submitting an application for change of use to the car showroom and other minor applications. The building works will be kept to a minimum and we will be able to confirm an exact date nearer the time."
thisiskent 27th Jan 2012
The Tescopoly Alliance was launched in June 2005 to highlight and challenge the negative impacts of Tesco's behaviour along its supply chains both in the UK and internationally, on small businesses, on communities and the environment. The campaign also advocates national and international legislation needed to curb the market power of all the major British supermarkets.
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