Why so coy about Tesco supermarket?

Sir – Having offered my own thoughts (yet again) on Tesco s intentions, letters July 29, for Broadwater Road, WGC, I was interested in further contributions on the subject from the WGC Society and Mr L Stickley of Beehive Lane, which appeared in letters,

Sir - Having offered my own thoughts (yet again) on Tesco's intentions, letters July 29, for Broadwater Road, WGC, I was interested in further contributions on the subject from the WGC Society and Mr L Stickley of Beehive Lane, which appeared in letters, August 12.

To try and put some perspective into this matter, it might help to look back some years to a new development which brought us the Texas DIY store in Black Fan Road, WGC.

On its exit from the scene, the building was then taken over and converted to a superstore by Safeways. It, in turn, eventually faltered with the result that throughout the UK the entire chain of stores was put up for grabs.

Tesco was prominent in its attempts to acquire a substantial ready-made addition to its empire, as it had already done with the William Low chain of stores in Scotland.


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As far as the Safeway situation was concerned, the block was put on Tesco's aspirations by the Monopolies Commission which had taken due note of the fact that Tesco already had much the largest share of the market, further acquisition of the Safeway chain deemed to be a threat to fair competition and not in the interests of the public.

But for this intervention, instead of Morrisons, which did take over the store, it is possible that on a like-for- like basis, Tesco would have moved in and established a presence in yet another town; end of story, full stop.

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We have a completely different situation today, brought about by Tesco's speculative purchase of strategically placed land in WGC.

Strangely, although the whole of its redevelopment plans are based on building a supermarket, come what may, that is the one major item that Tesco management prefers not to talk about.

Why so coy? Is it too controversial in its own estimation? Why else is the chain so intent on deflecting public opinion away from what is its number one priority with an elaborate but rather transparent PR exercise?

Tesco has laid claim to a high regard for the well-being and ethos of our town.

It could easily put substance into such a declaration by making a magnanimous gesture, dropping the idea of a superstore, carrying on with the redevelopment of Broadwater Road, with considerable input and guidance from the elected council and instead of using the redundant Shredded Wheat factory for selling tins of beans and everything else that is already available at numerous outlets around the town, as an alternative put the building to cultural and social use for the benefit of the town.

A little canvassing with the same zeal that is being applied to the present PR campaign would, no doubt, bring forth some worthwhile ideas, with the criteria that any proposals were not in competition with what is already available within the town. In other words, broaden the social scope of the town.

Finance obviously would come into the equation. Would that be an insurmountable task for Tesco to negotiate and arrange? As its slogan constantly tells us, 'every little helps', that little help from customers would come from lettings, sales and various fees that would be derived from the whole development.

A ridiculous idea? Of course it is!

Tesco would hardly deny that its is looking for a substantial profit, both in the short and the long term and that needs to be generated by a superstore, much as the one that exists already on Jack Oldings corner, barely two miles away from the Broadwater Road site.

As a comparison, journeying by car on what I believe is the quickest route between my home and the QE2 Hospital, both in WGC, recorded a distance of 3.4 miles from door to door.

Gordon Aitken,

Harwood Hill,

WGC.

1

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