Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry speaks at Tesco appeal

PUBLISHED: 10:12 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:36 15 June 2010

CLOTHES shop owner Mandy Newman spoke at the Tesco appeal hearing yesterday (Wednesday) on behalf of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

CLOTHES shop owner Mandy Newman spoke at the Tesco appeal hearing yesterday (Wednesday) on behalf of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Chairman Ralph Hibbert was unable to attend due to a hospital appointment.

Mrs Newman said: " Honiton Chamber of Trade would like to register its opposition to the Tesco planning application whereby Tesco are wishing to relocate in the area known as Ottery Moor Lane."

"You will already have a copy of our objections on file which we made to Honiton Town Council, East Devon District Council and copied to Angela Browning MP dated January 30th and February 9th 2008."

"Our objections and our grounds for objection still stand as the proposed re-location is totally inappropriate and the letter from Honiton Chamber dated February 9th 2008 in our view, alone, constitutes sufficient grounds for refusal."

"We are genuinely concerned for the continued viability and vitality of the core of our town."

"Of significant concern is the obvious traffic congestion which would inevitably be created. Despite the promise of clever traffic management, roundabouts and a magical traffic light system the problems that still remain are huge volumes of traffic and the proposed site for the re-location of this store. Originally Tesco claimed that they would anticipate an average of some 12,000 vehicles to visit their store on a daily basis. Whatever numbers of vehicles will actually be involved creates additional volumes of traffic into the top end of the High Street/Exeter Road. When a Say No To Tesco Relocation rally involving some 30 vehicles was organised earlier this year traffic approaching Honiton from the other end of town - that is along the A35 from Dorchester - was backed up from the mini roundabout at the east end of the High Street for 2 miles to the White Hart at Wilmington. This was merely some 30 vehicles! We are far from convinced; in fact we simply do not believe that the proposed traffic management scheme will cope with the shear volume of traffic coming into this restricted location. Where Tesco is presently located there are houses surrounding the store for 360 degrees and there is 360 degree access and egress. Where Tesco is proposing to relocate there is at best a housing conurbation for 180 degrees but in reality this is more like 90 degrees. This means that 100% of the Honiton shoppers will need to converge at the same point whereas at present there are four directions from which the present store can be approached. Add to this the additional anticipated shoppers and delivery vehicles and complete traffic chaos must be the result. At the end of the day this will make Honiton THE place to avoid - just as it was pre bye pass days and when this happens the demise of our shops and town centre will be inevitable."

"Edge of town supermarkets not only divert shoppers from the High Street but also lead to a massive dependence on car transport for shopping, restricting access to the elderly and those without cars. Three quarters of supermarket customers travel by car and when new stores open they generate more traffic. In this case we envisage nearer 100% customers travelling by car as the proposed store will be virtually inaccessible any other way! Roughly one in ten car journeys are to buy food, and it is estimated that CO2 emissions generated by shopper miles equal those generated by food freight within the UK and, in Honiton it will mean all those now living within walking distance of the present Tesco will have to take their car."

"The present store is located between two very large housing estates where several thousand people live with easy access to Tesco. Many people have chosen to live there for this very reason. The proposed new site is at the end of a narrow turning with no more than 20 houses nearby! People walking to the store will need to be young and fit as the proposed store would be 750 meters at least from the town centre and the new proposed path, and indeed every other path, will involve an up-hill walk in one direction or the other. As it is often the elderly who can no longer drive it is they who will be most affected. Bus transport is not the answer as Tesco have offered and commenced a bus service in the past and the service has been short lived. Doubtless they will again promise a bus service. Tesco also promised £5000 towards Honitons towards CCTV cameras but unfortunately the money has never been forthcoming. Another promise on which they have renegued!"

"We are given to understand that both Lidl and Aldi wish to come to Honiton and whilst this would also add significantly to the traffic problem we would welcome them as competitors to Tesco. Consumers would have a wider range of choice and ensuring a better deal thus reducing the monopoly effect of Tesco. Having other t supermarket sites would hopefully spread the traffic and lessen congestion in one area."

"When a new store is planned, supermarkets frequently claim that they will benefit the local economy by bringing more jobs to the area. What they don't say is that the arrival of the supermarket also means job losses due to the closure of small shops and associated businesses, and these are not compensated for by supermarket openings."

"The National Retail Planning Forum, financed by the supermarkets themselves, found that despite the job gains when a large supermarket opens, on average there is a net loss of 276 full time jobs within a 9 mile radius around the store, through the closure of smaller specialist food retailers and other small businesses that previously serviced the small shops."

"Figures don't add up to support supermarkets claim to generate employment, with small grocery shops shown to represent greater employment. In 2004, UK small grocery shops shown had a turnover of around £21 bn. and employed more than 500,000 people, whilst Tesco with its £29bn turnover employed just half of these numbers at 250,000. As retail sales grow for supermarkets this has clearly not translated into new jobs. The jobs they do provide are typically low paid, unskilled and frequently part time."

"We already have a Tesco shop in town and we would be delighted if it stayed where it is. Presently it is in the right place, easily accessible and not creating traffic problems. Honiton has inevitably suffered the loss of some shops which were in direct competition with Tesco such as butchers, green grocers and newsagents. More recently we have lost a retail bookseller and a television retailer - since Tesco have begun selling these goods. "

"We are now faced with the empty shop syndrome as potential traders are afraid to commit themselves to trading with the fear of an enlarged Tesco lurking in the background. Potential traders do not wish to open today to be put out of business by Tesco tomorrow. Should the Tesco appeal be successful then these shops will remain empty or add to the number of charity shops. Furthermore, as Tesco at their proposed new site will be in direct competition with practically every shop in Honiton we can expect to see many more shops vacated (or occupied by charity shops). The disappearance of other retailers not only changes the face of the high street and erodes choice, it impacts on the local economy as very little of the wealth generated by the supermarket will stay in the local economy. That which does is generally wages and the Tesco payroll makes up just 7% of its total turnover. Supermarkets profits do not stay in the local community but are filtered out of the community to corporate head offices and shareholders around the world. They usually use national contractors, not local tradesmen ; the local produce they use is minimal and is often re-directed from a hub in another part of the country thus adding to pollution and congestion."

"It is quite clear that Honiton has no need for this proposed superstore - all goods to be on sale are already available in Honiton either from present shops in town or from "out of town" shops such as Homebase, Argos and, indeed Tesco themselves through their Tesco Direct arm at their present location. The only people who need this development are Tesco themselves. "

"A study by the New Economics Foundation found that one pound spent in a local shop selling local produce puts twice as much money back into the local economy as one pound spent in a supermarket. As we are told that we are now heading into a recession every local economy needs all the help it can get. "

"As Tesco would say - Every Little Helps!!!


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