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Questioning LOTS PDF Print E-mail
Supermarket Debate
Thursday, 29 September 2011 17:44

As we at LESS (formally LOTS) are finding it more and more frustrating that even though LOTS ask for comments on such things as naming a town that has not suffered due to an out of town store, nothing we reply with has been allowed, despite items offered that only debunk their assumptions and are in no way personal or offensive; therefore I felt the need to post this here.

 

 

1. On the LOTS article "So You’re Not Convinced That A Sainsbury Would Be Bad For Ledbury?" the question is asked "Do you know a comparable market town with an out of town superstore that has a healthy high street like Ledbury's? Let us know!" and despite myself and several others attempting to reply with said towns, not ONE has been published, therefore I will supply one town - Malvern, which according to LOTS is a dead town since the retail park and Waitrose have been built. Malvern as a whole cannot really be compared to Ledbury due to the size difference and the spread difference, however Malvern can be split into three distinct "High Streets" being Barnards Green, Malvern Link and Great Malvern. If LOTS members were to take the time to actually visit any of these high streets they would see a vibrant, buzzing collection of people using the various independant traders and chain stores, this despite the retail park, Waitrose, Iceland, Lidyl etc. Great Malvern has an independant Chemist, as does Barnards Green .. Malvern Link has two, all have a steady stream of customers despite a large Boots in the retail park. There are grocers, butchers, bakers & cafes all with customers, despite Waitrose & Morrisons. There are two garages in Malvern Link, both with a steady stream of cars using their facilities, despite Morrisons petrol station .. the list goes on and on, but I think you get the point. I really do believe that LOTS don't even know their local area very well.

 

2. LOTS commisioned an "independant" report that, unsurprisingly, said that an out of town store could have an effect on the high street, something Mrs Crowe managed to turn into an absolute "We have been accused of making up figures about the likely impact of an out of town superstore on Ledbury town centre,’ said Annette Crowe, chairman of the Ledbury Traders’ Association. "Now we have a completely independent and measured analysis of Tesco’s calculations, and the evidence is exactly as we have always said: an out of town superstore would seriously damage our High Street." - [Emphasis added by me in order to highlight the change from a possible to an absolute.] I would have to ask how independant a report can be when commisioned by a group set up solely to stop any out of town store.

 

3. LOTS have told us on numerous occasions that their would be a 'huge' increase in traffic making its way over the hills into Ledbury either via Top Cross or Knapp Lane that could cause serious damage to our historic buildings.. really? Would you as a resident of Malvern or Colwall travel 5 miles+ to Ledbury to do your weekly shopping when you have Waitrose, Morrisons, Lidyls, Iceland and others either on your doorstep or a few miles away .. I think not. As to the (improbable) increase in traffic, wouldn't any trader relish the idea of more people to attract into their shops, yes it may mean a re-think on their business plans .. but isn't that what business is all about, changing to meet customer requirements? In business standing still is the same as moving backwards.

 

4. LOTS display on their Save Ledbury website a report about "Local MP Calls for Investigation into Supermarket Petrol Pricing" with a tag line as follows "If Ledbury does get a Sainsbury or Tesco, don’t therefore imagine that the prices you pay here will be the same as you’d pay in Hereford or Gloucester. And when it comes to petrol you can bet your bottom dollar that Ledbury motorists will be stung." Does anybody actually pay the same prices for their fuel at any Petrol station in different areas, I know I don't, the BP station in Malvern is more expensive than the BP station in Hereford and as fas as I can tell all Petrol selling outlets, be they supermakets or not, set their prices to the area the trade in. The point is irrelevant and seems to be designed to scare Ledbury resisdents.

 

5. LOTS save Ledbury website again - "Spot The Difference: Sainsbury and Tesco Out of Town are Equally Bad for Ledbury" - the vast majority of this article is pure hyperbole talking about "town centres die when you rip half their retail business out of them" .. I ask where is your proof, show me cast iron proof that says this will happen, not 'ifs' and 'maybes' copied from google searches.

 

6 Front page of the Save Ledbury website - "Apart from local wages, all the wealth generated will be sucked out of Ledbury to corporate headquarters", surely a mute point as the current Tescos, CO-OP, Boots, Spar, One Stop, Seconds Ahead, and a number of independant shops owned by people who are not resident of Ledbury "suck" any wealth generated anyway and I ask if any LOTS member owned two businesses, one in Ledbury, one in Hereford would you use the profits from the Ledbury shop to buy in your home town of Hereford (or vice versa) or would you use the profits generated in each shop to buy only goods in the same town? No .. well in that case you are no different, all be it on a much smaller scale, than any of the above mentioned stores.

 

The points go on and on, but for now these six will do .. I look forward to replies.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 November 2011 13:59
 
Comments (19)
Fear and loathing in Ledbury 2
19 Thursday, 06 October 2011 20:51
Just realised (a bit slow as I'm under the weather) that 70% of the traders either don't support you or don't care either way, which is good as saying they don't support you because if they were that worried about a new store they would certainly want their voices heard, either way gloating about 43 traders isn't really a very good turn out for a group who states they are supported by the "majority" of the towns traders. be interesting to see the full results of the poll carried out by LOTS - I assume there was a poll of ALL the towns traders in order to get the 43 names, or did LOTS just contact those they already knew were backing them?
Fear and loathing in Ledbury
18 Thursday, 06 October 2011 19:12
You should really stop trying to be funny Andrew, it doesn't suit you and your not very good at it (well untill the Anti Comments come out that is). You know very well that it doesn't need to be brute force to abuse someone, words can have just the same effect .. and as to your bet, you might get a shock very soon.
Fear and loathing in Ledbury
17 Thursday, 06 October 2011 16:47
Andrew Warmington
I have indeed counted the pro-LESS (or at least anti-LOTS, not quite the same thing) quotes from traders on your Facebook group. I can only recall two named people who were prepared to come forward and say anything and a lot of unattributed stuff.

Two possibilities here:

(a) the other 99 or so shopkeepers are all scared stiff of LOTS who, lets remember, are all over 50 and posh. Presumably we are going to go into their shops and beat them with our gold plated zimmer frames?

(b) there isn't really that much support for you among the independent traders of Ledbury

I know where my money is as I offered to put it there. The offer of the bet's still on, BTW.
The missing 101
16 Wednesday, 05 October 2011 21:47
There is a slight problem with getting them to publically support, the fact that the few who have stood up and said they want it have been abused by certain LOTS members, just look through the LESS group posts and you can see some of the things REAL local traders have said to our members, or look in the Reporter to see a couple of quotes from REAL local traders.
The missing 101
15 Wednesday, 05 October 2011 08:25
Andrew Warmington
OK Colin, if you think that there is some sort of silent majority among the independent traders who support you or at least don't agree with LOTS, why not see if you can get 43 of them (including any of their suppliers you can find in the 3 Counties, I'm feeling generous) to sign a letter to that effect. £10 to charity says you won't be able to.

As regards a referendum, although there are good reasons why planning policy doesn't normally work that way, I'd personally be in favour. Not that Tesco or Sainsbury's would care either way.
Calm down, calm down...
14 Tuesday, 04 October 2011 14:10
Andrew, please don't be condescending.

The "other" towns quoted are ones used on some of the LOTS main properganda by Mr Hadley, who I believe is one of the main admins of the LOTS camapaign and therefore constitute a main part of the reason for rejecting any new out of town store.

LOTS are the ones who keep telling everybody they represent the 'majority' of the town traders and yet this is plainly false with only 43 (30%) of them supporting LOTS, also LOTS isn't really about whats best for Ledbury its about protecting a minority without any due thought to the people who actually live here.

If LOTS are so confident that the majority of Ledbury is against a new store then I shall ask again for them to lobby the local council for a full referendum/poll of all residents in the HR8 district and submit their recommendations based on the majority decision of the referendum/poll, after all we do STILL live in a democracy and the wish of the majority should be followed .. don't you agree?
Calm down, calm down...
13 Tuesday, 04 October 2011 09:48
Andrew Warmington
Colin, Colin ... take a chill pill, mate.

Re: dead towns. I used Marlborough as a comparison because Martin did and I was wondering if there was a valid point there. Turns out there wasn't.

As for other people on LOTS making comparisons, well the thing is, there is LOTS and there are the individual people within it. And guess what? They might all agree they don't want a superstore in Ledbury but they don't necessarily agree on every last detail of evidence or argument. Some of them might actually want my head on a spike for favouring an expansion of Tesco on its current site. Because we've all got minds of our own, just like you.

Re: 144 shops. That was my count, and it includes restaurants, cafes, charity shops and the few chains. Quite a few aren't in a position to come out in support of LOTS. Probably many have no view at all. Or maybe, as you think, a lot of them actually support you. So don't waste time arguing with me, get knocking on doors!
Ledbury 144??
12 Tuesday, 04 October 2011 09:15
Just noticed you say Ledbury has 144 points of sale, doesn't look very good against the 43 that had their names in the Reporter this week, I make that approx 30% of the traders supporting the LOTS campaign .. hardly the majority LOTS keep on about.
Marlborough v Ledbury
11 Monday, 03 October 2011 23:26
I also note you ignore then other towns used in comparrison .. probably because they are more like Ledbury and you can't have a town with a superstore still thriving, just like Malvern, Ross & Leominster, can you?
Marlborough v Ledbury
10 Monday, 03 October 2011 23:24
So Marlborough doesn't actually sit very well with LOTS .. theres a surprise, Malvern, Ross and Leominster don't sit well with us, doesn't stop them being used in the LOTS scare campaign.

So any LOTS member will you get your group to remove the "dead town" references on the Save Ledbury site?
Redacted Comments
9 Monday, 03 October 2011 14:47
Administrator

I ask for a second time in a week for those making comments to refrain from insults or repeating insults that have been posted elsewhere on the Internet. By all means carefully paraphrase. If you are unsure what is acceptable please refer to our 'Terms' under Site Help on the left side of the page.

Marlborough v Ledbury
8 Monday, 03 October 2011 11:06
Andrew Warmington
Marlborough has been raised as a comparison with Ledbury, as a place of slightly smaller size that has had a large Tesco plonked down on it. So I had a look at the town website, which is quite informative in terms of the shops there (www.marlboroughwiltshire.co.uk).

Assuming that all of the shops in Marlborough are listed, which seems to be the intention, there are 88. Ledbury has 144, so more per head of population here, though not vastly so.

There are a few basic similarities - 11 gift shops in Marlborough v 14 in Ledbury, 10 hairderssers v 12, etc. However, there are some very big differences too.

First, Marlborough is quite clearly a big and apparently up-market shopping destination for a place of its size and it markets itself very heavily as such. There are 24 clothes shops, plus 2 lingerie shops and an Italian accessories shop, and 11 'beauty' places of all kinds. I'm guessing it's the place people go when they can't face the thought of Swindon, which I can relate to.

What Marlborough clearly doesn't have is a local food supply network like Ledbury's. The food places there amount to a pathetic five: Tesco, Waitrose, two butchers and one other (which actually sounds like a cooking equipment shop).

It's clear from the article Martin pasted on this thread that some people in Marlborough wanted the Tesco and some didn't. Predictable enough. It happened and whether it has been good for the town is probably too early to tell.

Given that pre-Tesco, there may have been no more than a Waitrose and two butchers, I might well have been in favour of a new Tesco too if I lived there. It doesn't automatically follow that we need one in Ledbury.
Robbing or Crooks
7 Sunday, 02 October 2011 16:45
Crooks - 1. a bent or curved implement, piece, appendage, etc.; hook.
2. the hooked part of anything.
3. an instrument or implement having a bent or curved part, as a shepherd's staff hooked at one end or the crosier of a bishop or abbot.
4. a dishonest person, especially a sharper, swindler, or thief.
5. a bend, turn, or curve: a crook in the road.

Robbing - 1. to take something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence; steal from.
2. to deprive (someone) of some right or something legally due: They robbed her of her inheritance.
3. to plunder or rifle (a house, shop, etc.).
4. to deprive of something unjustly or injuriously: The team was robbed of a home run hitter when the umpire called it a foul ball. The shock robbed him of his speech.
5. Mining . to remove ore or coal from (a pillar).

One is a name the other an act, so no one actually called them crooks, splitting hairs it may be .. but I just follow LOTS example.
Haven´t time to write an essay, so...
6 Sunday, 02 October 2011 11:19
Andrew Warmington
Good morning all. These posts are getting a bit long aren´t they? Can´t imagine anyone reading through the whole lot in all honesty, so for now at least I will stick to your point 4, Colin.

Here´s a new post on LATS/LESS/whatever: "New sainsburys flyer through the post bring it on and there going to have a petrol station that will stop them r***ing s**s up the homend and parkway"

It isn´t the first in this vein and I´ll dig out the others if you really want me to. The point is, as you or one of your allies rightly noted, retailers charge what they think they can in any given market. Sainsbury´s will do that too because Ledbury is a relatively well-off town.

That is indicative of a wider problem, in that it is in some ways harder living on an average or low income in a relatively well off town than a poor one. As a socialist, I have huge sympathy with those who find this happening to them. But the idea that a superstore will make a difference in this respect seems fanciful in the extrem.

BTW,´undercutting· is a completely neutral term and I can´t imagine how you thought I meant otherwise.
In reply to Mr Warmington
5 Friday, 30 September 2011 17:09
martin dudley
I really do have to take issue Mr Warmington with some of your points.....

1). Ross On Wye is home to Morrisons and Sainsbury and has a population of some 10,000 - comparable to Ledbury indeed but a gutted market town??? Hardly, you should try visiting one day to see that the town centre is practically always buzzing and is most definitely vibrant, I deal with some of theb traders there and I can tell you from experience that it, it being the town centre is pretty much always busy - One thing it most definitely is not is gutted and neither for that matter is Leominster,home to some lovely little independant shops as well as the large Morrisons barely a 2 minute drive from the by pass and less than a mile away from the town centre.

Try these towns too, just off the top of my head that I have experience in regarding supermarkets etc......

Shepton Mallet - 9700 popln, large out of town Tesco & a CO-OP, still busy within the town
Driffield - 11,400 popln, large Tesco, Iceland & CostCutter
Abergavenny - 14,000 popln, large Tesco, Waitrose and Iceland, still busy within the town

I SAVE THE BEST TO LAST..............

Marlborough - 8,000 popln, waitrose and guess what????? Cheers as Tesco get the green light from Wiltshire councillors to build a store on the edge of the town.................

A victory for the people was how Marlborough supermarket campaigner Lisa Farrell described Tesco’s getting the green light from Wiltshire councillors last night to build a store on the edge of the town.

A Tesco insider said that if there were no further hitches or legal challenges the new store could open for Christmas.

The store chain’s development executive Tim Robinson said after the planners gave a unanimous vote in favour: “We want to get this store up and running as quickly as we can.”

Loud cheers and clapping echoed around the crowded council chamber at Browfort in Devizes when every councillors hand went up in support of the Tesco plans and chairman Charles Howard said: “The application is approved.”

The pro-Tesco campaigners, who filled every seat in the council chamber and stood in every available space, gave "Three cheers for Tesco" after the chairman said the plans for the mainly food store on Marlborough Business Park had been approved.

A coach had carried about 40 Tesco supporters from Marlborough to Devizes to let planners see how strongly people of the town felt about having only one supermarket, Waitrose, since Somerfield quit the town four years ago.

Others had travelled in a convoy of cars, many of them angry that rival store Sainsbury's had mounted a last minute bid to get the Tesco scheme postponed again as it had when the plans were due to be discussed on March 18.

With only hours to go before the Eastern Planning Committee met, Sainsbury's appealed to councillors to adjourn their decision until plans for Sainsbury’s own rival store on the adjacent highways depot site could be considered at the same time.

Officers advised councillors there were no grounds for postponing the decision again and at the end of a debate lasting about 90 minutes all six councillors present gave the Tesco scheme the thumbs up.

Mrs Farrell, who launched the campaign more than a year ago to attract a second supermarket to Marlborough, said Tesco was the preferred choice of the people because it would offer a budget alternative Waitrose.

Coun Marian Hannaford-Dobson representing the town council said Tesco had responded when letters went out to a number of stores asking if they would be interested in opening in Marlborough.

She said: "In recent years the residents of Marlborough have only been able to shop in one supermarket store of any size in the town, namely Waitrose.

"This of course leads to limited choice and Waitrose has never been considered a budget supermarket."

It was misconception, said Coun Hannaford-Dobson, that Marlborough was an affluent town and there were many families earning the minimum wage and had a genuine need for a budget store.

Coun Mark Connolly told the committee that although the business park where Tesco proposed building was an employment site, not a designated retail area, he welcomed the 140 jobs it would create.

However High Street jeweller David Dudley asked the committee to be cautious and consider the effect an edge-of-town store would have on the retail centre.

Mr Dudley, whose wife Kim Vine runs a fashion store, said town centre shops had to put up with high rents, rates and car parking charges and he warned: "Should the town suffer by loss of trade then all these lucrative sources of revenue for the council will diminish."

The jeweller said out of town supermarkets resulted in town centre shops losing 15-30 per cent of their trade which, he said, in many cases "makes or breaks private businesses which in turn will cause many to cease trading".

After the meeting an ecstatic Mrs Farrell said: "This is a victory for the people…the people have won.

"I have never been so happy for the pensioners and all the people who have not been able to afford to shop in their own town and have had to go to cheaper stores elsewhere.

"The people for a change have got something back from their council."

Many of the campaigners for a second supermarket said they hoped Tesco would follow up on comments from Coun Chris Williams who said he had noted how "very expensive" fuel was at Marlborough’s only filling station and he hoped Tesco might be able to incorporate one into its plans.

Sainsbury’s has applied for outline permission on the old station site, which they signed the contract to buy from Wiltshire Council only hours ahead of the planning meeting.

Sainsbury’s claims that its own survey conducted at exhibitions in the town hall and youth centre showed that 90 per cent of people preferred their plans to Tesco’s.

2)An independant review in as much as it wasn't carried out by the government, my accountancy pal who works for Deloittes in london tells me that these 'independant' reviews are 99% of the tiome funded by groups or conglomerations that pool their resources and hide under the term independant when infact all they are not independant at all but lobbyists for any particular campaign that they are representing and subsequently funding. Maybe LOTS falls into the 1% that doesn't come into this category.

3)The huge increase in traffic - well that's debateable and if there is then any traffic bringing custom into a supermarket or any other kind of store in ledbury is welcome and if traders learn how to adapt to a change in market then they will surely reap the benefits - I questioned this on your LOTS community open page earlier this week and provided factual information regarding distances from Malvern to either a large Tesco or Sainsbury and had my answers removed and my account deleted and why? Simple really, my findings were correct in showing that Sainsbury in St Johns, Worcester and Tesco at St Peters in Worcester are both nearer from a point in Greater Malvern than to a similar store in Ledbury. As for statements from some of LOTS saying thatnmore car traffic will mean damage to ancient historical buildings by meaans of accident - I ask again for LOTS to provide evidence of the last major incident involving a car that caused damage on the Top Cross, or even Knapp Lane come to that. As for articulated deliveries.......Tesco distributuion centres relevant to this town are at Chepstow and Didcot, neither will be using roads from Malvern, Chepstow vehicles exit the M50 at junction 2 and enter ledbury from that direction using the by pass, as Didcot vehicles do. sainsbury distribution centres that relate to ledbury are basdedc on the outskirts of Bristol and at Hams Hall, north of Birmingham, both depots using the m5/m50 and exiting at junction 2, again neither using point of entry from Malvern.

4)Fuel pricing- The article within the local press this week fails to recognise that Morrisons in Redditch is some 24 miles closer to the bunkered fuel depot in Kingsbury near Tamworth than Malvern that sits some 52 miles away, those extra costs of transportation, rightly or wrongly are factored in to the pricing and even if Morrisons in Malvern got their fuel from the bunkered fuel depot in Avonmouth it would actually be an increase in transportation/delivery mileage. Redditch is also home to several large supermarkets that sell fuel, all within a mile or so of their site and as such competition is much more severe.

5)Look a little further into towns of similar size and then listen to comments made on last nights tv programme 'The Death Of The High Street'.....................The single most important factor for any decline is the growth of e.commerce and internet shopping followed closely by the traders failure to adapt to changes in market etc, rates and rent costs were also high up on the agenda along with lack of parking - Even the LOTS saviour, Queen of retail Mary Portas did not mention once in her interview that large out of town stores were the reason, for her the biggest reason is failure to recognise market change and in doing so failure to adapt. ledbury traders really should take note.

6)Many traders who run businesses in town are not local, don't live here, weren't educated here and have little in the way of ties, they simply turn up at opening time in their cars, robbing the visitor/tourist of spaces, stay for a few hours and then jump back into their cars at 5.30pm and disappear off to places not eevn wityhin gthe HR8 area where they can enjoy the luxury of a bigger supermarket etc etc. I'm not saying that that is wrong but I am saying that many simply do not understand the needs and desires of what we as local folk want.Many of the shops in town simply do not cater for what normal everyday shoppers want in terms of necessities etc, too many gift related shops, too many clothes shops that are aimed at the more elderly lady etc etc, there is nothing here for the young and as I keep stating.....tyhe younger generation are the future, lose them and lose future trade.

Mr Wallers comments reiterate exactly what Mary Portas stated last night, traders need to learn how to adapt, it's not protection they, the traders need but some guidance in working alongside other retailers and recognising change and altering their marketing accordingly.
Mr. Warmington
4 Friday, 30 September 2011 15:30
1. So you agree Malvern isn't really a good comparison, perhaps youu should tell your other LOTS members this and ask for the continued usage of Malvern as a "dead" town to cease and how you can even think that Ross is a dead town really is beyond belief, I use Ross quite often and I see a high street so much more alive than Ledbury's is now, they have a wide range of chain stores and independants .. again I find the use of Ross as a comparison pretty naive, unles of course you know nothing of the town.

2. "What evidence do you have to suggest that the authors, a highly reputable consultancy, deliberately twisted their conclusions to fit LOTS´s agenda? " - can you please show me anywhere in my comment that I say this, this allegation is totally unacceptable and the only thing being twisted is the way you have tried (& failed) to twist my words. I also see you fail to answer why Mrs Crowe has taken a report that is a possible and turned it into an absolute. Cherry picking again?

3. Again you miss the point, the LOTS reports specifically says a huge increase in traffic from the Malvern area and that is what I am questioning, not any traffic increase from other areas .. but to answer, I for one if I was a trader in the town would look at the traffic increase, not as a problem, but as an oppertunity .. perhaps this is because I tend to be an glass half full, not half empty man.

4. Show me where any LATS member has called the 2 petrol stations crooks - the fact is that the petrol from a supermarket will be cheaper, if you want to call it undercutting then thats fine, I call it offering what your customers want.

5. The problem is you use places (such as Malvern, Ross) that these problems have not occured, I also note that some of the other places mentioned by LOTS as being dead towns have had a new store built when there have already been other superstores within spitting distance .. This is something that LOTS can't seem to grasp, we don't want every supermarket chain to build stores here .. one superstore would be enough for quite some time, be it Tescos or Sainsburys, and please don't reply that if we have one we will have no choice to have others, that would be just untrue.

6. The way the LOTS post is worded it makes out that Tesco's are the only ones who take money out of the town/district when in fact there are a number of stores that do this already and a number of traders who also do so .. some don't even live in the county .. in what way are they different, apart from size. As Mr Lever says the traders who have built up a good customer base aren't that worried about the new store, they know their customers will remain loyal to them not just because of the products they offer but also because of the customer service. You would deny those who cannot afford to shop in the town (the majority) in favour of the minority.

I'm sorry but it does seem to me that certain traders want protection, any changes to the status quo means they may have to work a little harder or change their business plans, a kick up the backside that, in my opinion, is long overdue.
Tesco and free parking
3 Friday, 30 September 2011 13:22
Michael Lever
"Tesco, I am sure, know as well as everyone that they are currently a benign presence on Ledbury´s High Street. By offering free parking, they enable people to go there and to other shops. And that is a major reason why they want to stop being part of the High Street. "

I very much doubt Tesco's major reason for the application is to stop being part of the High Street. I'm sure the major reason is to scupper Sainsbury's plans. In any event, even if the application were refused (including on appeal should Tesco persist), Tesco would be perfectly entitled and within its rights to stop people parking at its Orchard Lane store for free, but instead charge say £5 per car refundable provided the person bought something at least the same amount at Tesco.


FAO Andrew Warmington (R Hadley and any others): I'd appreciate my surname spelled as I spell it and not as you like. Misspelling a person's name is disrespectful and in the same league as customer-unfriendly!
OK, some replies to the original post
2 Friday, 30 September 2011 12:55
Andrew Warmington
1. The key word is ´comparable´. Malvern is not that much like Ledbury when you look at it. It is much bigger, lacks a single high street and is a very unusual place, not least in that, uniquely in the UK, education is its largest industry. Leominster or Ross would be much better comparisons, as they are similar in size and are local market towns. Which have been gutted by out-of-town superstores.

2. The report was conducted independently. What evidence do you have to suggest that the authors, a highly reputable consultancy, deliberately twisted their conclusions to fit LOTS´s agenda?

3. Two sorts of traffic here. One is the articulated lorries from whatever point in a regional supermarket network, which could indeed come from that direction. The other is the vastly increased car traffic, mostly from within the town, some from points north, south and east. Whilst I too doubt that many people will come from Malvern to shop at a Ledbury superstore, a total increase in traffic is a racing certainty. And the superstore is positioned precisely in order to stop people going anywhere else in Ledbury, whatever traders do about it. Of course people would be free to, but in practice few would and those are the facts that interest the superstores.

4. Actually I agree to some extent, petrol prices are set according to what the local market is expected to bear. But I do seem to recall lots of LATS people getting excited about the possibility of a petrol station to undercut the existing two and some even calling them ´crooks´...!

5. Do any of us know as a matter of certain proof what will happen if and when there is a superstore? Of course not, because it hasn´t happened yet. So we have to extrapolate from what has happened in similar circumstances in similar sorts of places. There has been plenty of research and anecdotal evidence to support the view that superstores gouge the heart of small market towns. And there´s no point in taking a wait-and-see attitude, is there? Once the store is built, there is no going back. I for one don´t want to take the chance. And I certainly wouldn´t take any reassurance from the even more speculative assertions from you or other pro-superstore campaigners that the superstores wouldn´t have such an effect.

6. The point is not whether all store owners in Ledbury live there, though plenty do. It is about the overall effect. Locally-based owners plough a far greater percentage of their takings back into the local economy than a corporation answerable to shareholders. That is obvious, surely. Though, yes, it is a matter of scale - but a very big difference.

I would only add, with regard to Mr Leaver´s comments, that any shop that fails to offer goods at a price that a steady customer base is ready to pay will fail and will deserve to. Retail is a ruthless market and most small shops fail quite quickly. Any small shop owner who doesn´t know that already is doomed.

Dave Waller - who probably knows quite a bit about it, I would imagine - put it best when he said this: life isn´t fair, business isn´t fair and that is accepted. What the small retailers of Ledbury want isn´t protection but a chance to compete. Tesco and Sainsbury´s want to deny them that.

Tesco, I am sure, know as well as everyone that they are currently a benign presence on Ledbury´s High Street. By offering free parking, they enable people to go there and to other shops. And that is a major reason why they want to stop being part of the High Street.

I see no point in criticising them on moral grounds for wanting that: they are giant amoral corporation and that is how giant amoral corporations behave. You may as well criticse a cat for killing birds. However, the town of Ledbury is perfectly entitled to say ´no´to their plans for exactly the same reason.
LOTS of question
1 Friday, 30 September 2011 11:19
Michael Lever
1. I proffered a comparable market town: Marlborough (population under 10,000) but the comment was not published on the LTS site. I have since read on Ledbury Portal that the Save Ledbury website is not for debating so I guess that's why Mr Hadley emailed me to say "As far as I'm aware it has a town centre Waitrose, right in the middle of the High Street. Town centre supermarkets have been shown to have a beneficial effect on local High St shopping centres. What else is there?" The answer Mr Hadley is that there is a large Tesco open on the outskirts and a Sainsbury's waiting and their battle for planning permission is subject to judicial review.

2. It is only to be expected the DWD report be couched in reservations, No one can say for certain what the short term and/or long-term impact of a supermarket on the outskirts of Ledbury would be: one may surmise or guess, one may air one's fears and hopes but there is simply no way of knowing what the experience would bring until it actually happens.

3. I am concerned about the traffic. An increase in the volume of private vehicles and pedestrians vs. commercial vehicles, lorries, etc on an industrial estate (Lower Road Trading estate or New Mills Estate as it is also known) is a lethal combination. Residents of Malvern and Colwall probably already do travel to Ledbury to do their weekly shopping, there being no Tesco in Malvern (or Colwall) and I am sure Tesco have their sights on attracting more shoppers from the Malvern area as well as from Ledbury's surrounding towns and villages. Also, there is Tesco's 'click and collect' service whereby customers buy on line and collect from a store.

4. Apart from the ethos differences between Sainsbury's and Tesco, there are practical differences between Tesco's application site and the proposed site for Sainsbury's which means the same objections to Tesco's site do not apply to the Sainsbury's site.

5. There seems to be a school of thought that retailing is or should be an extension of social services, but frankly that's a nonsense. All retailers including local traders are in it for the money and making a profit is a tangible test of the value of the help provided. On a macro-level, a profitable private sector and the taxable revenue the private sector generates helps keep the economy afloat and pay for the cost of the public sector. There is also a school of thought that small traders are somehow more deserving for all their hard work etc than the big retailers, but again that's a nonsense. All big retailers started as small traders - Morrison's for example was a market stall selling eggs and butter, Tesco had one shop (where it piled it high and sold it cheap) - and amongst the many reasons big retailers and supermarkets are big are that i) the person/people in charge had and still has a vision that remains at the forefront of everything they do, ii) the people running big companies not only work hard but also work smart, and iii) the totality of the business is customer-centric. Generally, small traders are rarely on the customer's side: small traders rarely use their buying power to keep prices as low as possible, on the contrary small traders charge what the market will bear, are disinclined to be competitive, and complain should anyone dare to undercut them.

Others have said that some small traders in Ledbury are not customer-friendly. The person serving, whether staff or proprietor, is an 'ambassador' for that particular shop so cannot afford the luxury of a negative or off-hand remark, Some might think there is no reason for tar everyone in the organisation/group with the same brush but when it comes to small shops that is, in my view, precisely how the customer thinks.

Any small trader that is genuinely fearful of the likely impact of a change in the shopping pattern in Ledbury should I suggest regard the Tesco application and in due course Sainsbury's as a wake-up call. Amongst questions they may like to ask is why some small traders in Ledbury are in favour of a supermarket on the outskirts; and what is it about the relationship between those shops and their customers that enables those shops to be comfortable with the prospect of a change in the dynamics?

Small traders that behave like the world owes them a living only have themselves to blame when they discover it's not like that.