Viking II – The Return of Tesco

Looe News Tesco VikingGuest Post by Derek Braithwaite – Looe resident.

Coming your way soon! The latest blockbuster for 2012 – ‘Viking II – The Return of Tesco.’

It’s the tale of how an army of cash-driven corporate raiders returned to wreak havoc on the Cornish coast.

With bags of gold, battalions of PR men and London lawyers they set out to invade and colonise a corner of south-east Cornwall by building an edge of town supermarket and then wait for the besieged town to crumble and fall.

Yes, they tried it before and were sent packing. But now they’re back and in January next year the main offensive begins.

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Tesco wants a 25,000sq ft supermarket on a ten acre site with parking for 250 cars.

I have no doubt they will offer the usual bag of mirrors and beads to Cornwall Council planners. They may offer better road access, perhaps a swimming pool for the school, free parking, more jobs, more choice, more of everything to impress councillors and planners.

They buy the land and begin buying friends.

Once the plan is nodded through they systematically eat the town by undercutting the independent traders, screw the farmers and suppliers and shrug as small businesses go to the wall.

It’s like inviting Mad Max to your daughter’s birthday party

Let’s be clear. Tesco isn’t investing the loose change from it’s £350bn profits to give the local greengrocer/fishmonger/electrical supplier/clothes shop a helping hand.

Let’s look at some of the supportive arguments from the deluded and short-sighted who think Tesco lurking over the hill is a good thing.

It will bring more shoppers into Looe

No it won’t. You can’t even see Looe from the site they want. Out of town shoppers will drive to Tesco, stock up and drive home.

It will create jobs

Up to a point. The minimum number of part-time and semi-skilled workers on the minimum wage – these guys aren’t into benevolent job creation schemes. They are into maximising every penny of profit. In many cases the ‘new’ jobs come from the shops which have had to close because of the impact of the retail giants.

They will offer more choice

No they won’t. A centralised retail policy means that slapping the word Cornish here and there doesn’t mean you are getting something different from a store in, say, Newcastle.

Practically every market town in this country which has had a supermarket plonked on the edge has felt the pain of a diminished community.

Not that everything in Looe is rosy. For example we have two Co-op mini-markets a couple of hundred yards apart selling the same stuff at the same prices. If one had become say, a Tesco-Metro, or M&S-Express then I’d be happy. That would bring people into the heart of the town and give them a chance to see what else the place has to offer. But that’s not going to happen. The reality is that if you really want more of those cute Everything For a Quid shops, or more charity shops, or if you sell plywood for boarding up empty shop windows, then the Tesco plan is for you.

If you want to stop them it won’t be easy. Tesco, like the other retail giants are very good at getting their own way.

But the big boys can be beaten – ask the St Denis campaigners.

Get your pen and paper out. Write to the town council, write to Cornwall Council and just say ‘No’.

When it comes to getting your voice heard, remember. Every Little Helps.

Author: Derek Braithwaite from Red Letter Media

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About iLoveLooe

Cornwall was always one of our dream places to live, so we upped sticks in 2007 and moved to Looe. I now run and various social media locations for Looe on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Say 'Hi' sometime.