Tesco plan 'threatens medieval high street'
With this headline the Daily Telegraph broke our story to the nation on 27th April. It reported that the scheme is opposed by the Council for the Protection of Rural England, whose president is Prunella Scales and who stars in Tesco television advertising.
Neil Sinden of the CPRE was reported as saying: "This store would be very damaging to local suppliers, generate traffic and have an impact on historic buildings and the vitality of the high street." This is also the view of Caroline Cranbrook who compiled a report for the pressure group showing that 270 jobs were lost when a superstore opened.
has issued a press release "Strong Planning Controls Essential For Supermarket Competition"
Supermarkets - do we need them?
Caroline Cranbrook engaged in a debate in the Guardian, published on 5 August 2000. You are invited to join in with you opinion on the issue.
Stormclouds Gathering Over Picturesque Medieval Market Town of Hadleigh
BBC Radio 4 "You and Yours" followed on Friday 30th April with street interviews followed by a studio discussion with Gregory Luton of the Suffolk Preservation Society and a Tesco representative. This programme set the scene, and expects to return as the issue develops.
Tonight with Trevor McDonald on ITV on Thursday 10th June
showed how a UK supermarket basket that cost £81.46 would be £46.82 in France and £61.84.
We saw a very quiet bakers/confectioner in Handforth, South Manchester that lost 50% of its business overnight with the opening of a Tesco 4 or 5 minutes away (by car!) on the by-pass. The Post Office, clothing shop, shoeshop, butchers, delicatessan and greengrocers are all boarded up.
At the other end of the supply chain farmers were shown getting 29p a calf. Graphs of price movements over the last 10 years showed the widening gap between farm prices going down and retail prices going up.
The Competition Commission (previously Monopolies & Mergers) is investigating the business but will probably not report before next April. The view expressed by an MP was that the real competition is in the city where they match their share prices and sales figures. In the shops their prices closely track one another.
The threat, or promise on the horizon is from the world's biggest retailer, Wal*Mart. Tesco's £881M profit is dwarfed by their £4.41B. Their Head of International Development recently met Tony Blair. Comparable shopping lists matched Sainsbury's £76.45 basket with Wal-Mart's £56.18.
Stow on the Wold
is possibly the closest indicator of what could befall Hadleigh. On 29th May The Daily Telegraph reported how it is in danger of turning into Britains first pastiche town.
On 11th January 1999 The Express reported "AS A LOCAL BUTCHER CLOSES DOWN, MARKET TOWNS FEAR FOR RURAL TRADITION".