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Marlborough and Ledbury Don't Compare PDF Print E-mail
Supermarket Debate
Written by Save Ledbury   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:11

Excitement over Tesco's newish store in Marlborough may be premature.

Marlborough is held up as a town that hasn't suffered as a result of Tesco moving in.  But a quick examination of the facts shows that comparisons between Ledbury and Marlborough are simply wrong, according to LOTS (Ledbury Opposes Out of Town Superstores).

 

 

1. Before Tesco arrived, Marlborough lacked a budget supermarket  - all it had was a small High St Waitrose. Ledbury already has two good size supermarkets (totalling over 20 thousand sq ft) and offering real competitive choice.

2. Tesco Marlborough is considered to be a 'convenience store' and has a retail area of 15 thousand sq feet, a shade larger than Ledbury's current Tesco in Orchard Lane. The proposed Tesco/Sainsbury developments are for 33 thousand sq ft 'superstores' - twice the size of Marlborough's Tesco.

3. Marlborough's Tesco has a car park of 100 spaces, Ledbury's superstores will provide 340 spaces.

4. At 8 minutes easy, safe walk along a flat surface and under half a mile from Marlborough High St, Tesco would sustain 'linked trips' by foot betweens supermarket and town centre. Ledbury's out of town superstores are twice that distance at .8 mile, up hill at 16 minutes walk. Herefordshire Planners' retail consultants have stated that linked trips by foot are highly unlikely.

5. Mrs Lisa Farrell championed Tesco's bid for a new supermarket in Marlborough after the closure of a Somerfield store some years back. Rightly, she campaigned on the basis that local families did not have access to a budget supermarket and were forced to travel out of town for their groceries. Marlborough lacked real choice. Ledbury is already well served with budget grocery stores (including a Marlborough-sized Tesco) - and quality independent shops. It offers wide choice.

6. Marlborough is almost exactly the same size as Ledbury. Pro-superstore campaigners' main argument here is that Ledbury's current supermarkets are inadeqate for the size of population of nine thousand people and call for a city-size superstore more than twice as big as Marlborough's Tesco.

The two situations could not be more different.

LOTS does not oppose Tesco or Sainsbury. It is opposed to an out of town retail development that will drain shoppers from the High St as has happened in other places like Leominster, Great Malvern and Llandrindod Wells.

Like Herefordshire Planners, and other expert opinion, it is also concerned about the disproportionate size of the proposals. Ledbury simply cannot support a 33 thousand square foot superstore, and two other supermarkets offering over 20 thousand sq feet of grocer retail space, without significant damage to the successful and cherished current High Street of independent shops.

If Ledbury is to have expanded supermarket provision, any developments should be located in or near the centre of town where feasible options exist as detailed in Herefordshire Council's report to planning committee.

www.saveledbury.com

 

 

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 December 2011 11:02
 
Comments (12)
Christine Stibbards
12 Monday, 28 November 2011 17:02
Andrew Harrison
Hi Christine

"Is the comment of local people ever taken into account?"

I am interested in how you define local people.

Claire Ellis and Michael Lever have suggested people who want to express views on town affairs should "come out" as local or not so we can see how valid their views are.

I was born in Warwick, do you suggest I still keep an eye on developments there or is the fact that I have made my home in Ledbury justification for getting involved?
Marlborough Tesco
11 Monday, 28 November 2011 13:27
I have been in Malborough this weekend..on my way to a family event...The Tesco in Malborough seems pleasant as supermarkets go and is similar to the one in Ledbury which I use occasionally. However, there are no Childrens clothes in Malborough Tesco, for example. There is a very common misconception by some people that those of us who are opposed to a huge superstore out on Ledbury by-pass do not use supermarkets.....of course we do ! It is the size and position of the proposed superstore(s) that is the problem for most of us who support LOTS.
I don't like Tesco, but...
10 Wednesday, 23 November 2011 13:56
Ray X
I don't like the dentist's, but I go; I don't like travelling, but I do; I don't like the news, but I read it; I don't like war, but I pay my taxes...
Stickers in windows
9 Wednesday, 23 November 2011 09:19
Andrew Warmington
"I have been reliably informed that several vehicles have been seen in Tesco’s car park with one -or more- “Say no to Tesco” stickers in their rear windows, and the occupants have returned from the store with groceries in Tesco carrier bags."

That's not really the point, Christine. LOTS aren't against the current Tesco but the proposed out-of-town superstore(s). I am a LOTS member and I shop at the Tesco, as do many other people who don't want an out-of-town place.
Local People
8 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:28
Andrew Harrison
Everyone counts
@ 'Save Ledbury' ii
7 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:14
Christine Stibbards
“What's wrong with being a bit imaginative Christine and not just jumping at the first option?”

That is an Ad Hominem argument. Why not answer my two points? I’m honoured that you refer to me by my given name. I can’t return the compliment as you are hidden behind a pseudonym.

I have less idea than Sainsbury and Tesco do of how many Ledbury folk who say we don’t need a bigger supermarket *at all* are currently doing the bulk of their grocery shopping online or out of town. I have been reliably informed that several vehicles have been seen in Tesco’s car park with one -or more- “Say no to Tesco” stickers in their rear windows, and the occupants have returned from the store with groceries in Tesco carrier bags. They were observed by someone waiting in a car for a relative who was doing some shopping.

You suggest

“Tesco could expand on their current site and create a fantastic town centre store that would be a huge asset to the town”

“Lawnside Road site - it wouldn't suit everyone and would need a lot of discussion, but the footprint down there is enormous and could accommodate a new supermarket, a market square/civic space and a big car-park (probably underground). Herefordshire Council refer to this in their planning committee report - have you read it?”

I reiterate my point that the town centre already chokes on the volume of traffic at certain times. That’s why the bypass was built. I doubt the residents of Hereford Road and its offshoots would be delighted at even more lorries up and down there during the night. Some have already complained (at a town planning meeting I went to) about the noise of night time lorries going past their homes in the early hours, to the Bromyard Road, and presumably to the current Tesco store.

I think the proposal of Lawnside Road as a suitable site must surely have been tongue in cheek. Delivery lorries would either have to turn down Bye Street, already a bottleneck and almost impossible to cross safely on foot, even worse in a mobility scooter, or the lorries would have to go up Lower Road and Bridge Street from the bypass, also already a bottleneck, with residents’ cars parked almost the entire length.

Tesco’s current site would need a total rethink for lorry access for a larger store. Some customers would not be happy with using an underground car park. I’m also wondering where the local traders and their staff would park all day as this would swallow up both the free car park and the one behind the swimming pool.

“It's one of the things that needs discussing as part of the new Town Plan and Local Neighbourhood Plan. Those are the places for discussing these issues. Are you going to be involved?”

I have been to neighbourhood meetings before but on the whole I find it makes no difference. Some valid points were raised at one meeting I went to, but I’ve seen no mention of them since. Is the comment of local people ever taken into account?
Marlborough and Ledbury contd.
6 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 15:38
Andrew Warmington
Re (4) below, indeed. Another key difference between the towns is that Marlborough is very affluent, rather unpleasantly so at times. It must be a difficult place for lower income people to live in.

There is no doubt that there was a conscious decision to turn the town into a retail destination at some point. It could do that in part because of its location. Where Ledbury is 12-15 miles from three county towns that are all major shopping destinations and all have at least some attractions to visitors (yes, even Gloucester), Swindon, the nearest such place to Marlborough, is an utter dump. Ledbury could not become a Marlborough-style retail destination even if it wanted to and fortunately it shows no signs of wanting to.

As for the idea that the supermarkets would naturally apply for as small a supermarket as they 'need', however, the evidence doesn't support it because both are applying for more retail space than the town plan calls for over the next 15 years for the whole of Ledbury. I assume by 'need' you mean 'want' and by 'manage' you mean 'meet corporate growth targets'?

Tesco and Sainsbury's are surely both applying for stores of similar sizes because that is what they want in order to (a) compete with rival superstores in nearby towns and (b) kill off the High Street. Probably in that order, but that's no comfort.
Not lost to the town centre
5 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 13:40
Sarah Blenkinsop
Christine, I shop online, I also shop in various supermarkets in Ledbury (or Hereford or Malvern if I happen to be there)

BUT I also do nearly all of my main meat, veg and food supply shopping (flour, dried goods, baking supplies etc) in the Ledbury High Street; I use the stationers in the High Street; I use the pharmacy; I use the other small local shops in preference to using the supermarkets most of the time. I use small shops or suppliers in the surrounding area as well. I am NOT " lost to the town centre" (Ledbury High Street) despite using supermarkets sometimes and I am sure I am not alone.


Christine says

"It would be interesting to know how many Ledbury people *already* shop either online or in a nearby town or city for their main grocery shop. Of course Sainsburys and Tesco already know who shops with them as they track all their customers' addresses through their Rewards cards and Nectar points, as the chap in the exhibition for Sainsburys plans reminded me. Such shoppers are already lost to the town centre for their main shopping, so even less likely to pop into the High Street."
Ledbury and Marlborough
4 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 13:36
Michael Lever
Marlborough was cited as a town of similar population to Ledbury, but otherwise comparing the type of shopping experience is bound to highlight just how different the towns are. For cheapness and choice, the nearest town to Marlborough is Swindon, approximately 13 miles away. Arguably, similar to the relationship between Ledbury and Hereford or Ledbury and Gloucester.
Goodbye to Market Stalls
3 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 12:36
Save Ledbury
What's wrong with being a bit imaginative Christine and not just jumping at the first option?

1. Tesco could expand on their current site and create a fantastic town centre store that would be a huge asset to the town

2. Lawnside Road site - it wouldn't suit everyone and would need a lot of discussion, but the footprint down there is enormous and could accommodate a new supermarket, a market square/civic space and a big car-park (probably underground). Herefordshire Council refer to this in their planning committee report - have you read it?

Number 2 is a longer term possibility sure but it's possible - and could be really exciting for Ledbury. Clearly there's a whole bunch of considerations involved: relocation of swimming pool, emergency services, community hall - but they're not insurmountable.

It's one of the things that needs discussing as part of the new Town Plan and Local Neighbourhood Plan. Those are the places for discussing these issues. Are you going to be involved?
@ "Save Ledbury"
2 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 12:22
Christine Stibbards
"LOTS does not oppose Tesco or Sainsbury. It is opposed to an out of town retail development that will drain shoppers from the High St as has happened in other places like Leominster, Great Malvern and Llandrindod Wells."

It would be interesting to know how many Ledbury people *already* shop either online or in a nearby town or city for their main grocery shop. Of course Sainsburys and Tesco already know who shops with them as they track all their customers' addresses through their Rewards cards and Nectar points, as the chap in the exhibition for Sainsburys plans reminded me. Such shoppers are already lost to the town centre for their main shopping, so even less likely to pop into the High Street.

"If Ledbury is to have expanded supermarket provision, any developments should be located in or near the centre of town where feasible options exist as detailed in Herefordshire Council's report to planning committee. "

And the traffic bottleneck in the town centre can cope with all the extra lorries making deliveries, and extra people looking for car parking space? That'll be goodbye to the market stalls then.
Marlborough v Ledbury
1 Tuesday, 22 November 2011 12:10
Andrew Warmington
Marlborough was previously raised as a comparison with Ledbury, as a place of similar population size that has had a large new Tesco plonked down in it and has allegedly not suffered as a result - though, given that it only opened 9 months ago, I suppose we should give them time.

This was discussed at some length in a previous thread, in which I used statistics from the town website(www.marlboroughwiltshire.co.uk). I also went to Marlborough in late October and found the website to be very accurate in its detail.

Not counting pubs, restaurants, other eateries and charity shops, there are 88 shops in Marlborough, so the number of shops per head of population is comparable to Ledbury's. Like Ledbury, Marlborough has a single - and very attractive - high street. It is actually claimed to be the widest in the country, and the middle is given over to parking.

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 an up-market shopping destination and 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.

What Marlborough clearly doesn't have is a local food supply network like Ledbury's. The food places on the High Street are a medium-sized Waitrose, two butchers and one maker of pre-packaged upmarket ready meals. Endorsed by Carol Vorderman, no less. Mind you, she endorses ambulance-chasing lawyers too, so there you go.

Yes, that's right. There are only four food shops of any kind on the whole of the High Street at Marlborough. I hated the place. To be fair, I'm fairly extreme in my dislike of the fashion industry and I imagine that people who love their retail therapy would love Marlborough. But that's by the by.

The point is that Marlborough has deliberately, consciously turned itself into a clothes shopping destination, where everything is geared around visitors and the food shopping needs of the locals are neglected. It is exactly the kind of place that leaves you wondering where the locals buy their bread and milk. Anyone who thinks that Ledbury is mainly geared to tourism these days should go to somewhere like this and realise how fortunate we are.

I said before ever going to Marlborough that if I lived there I might well have been in favour of their new Tesco and going there didn't change my mind on that point. It doesn't follow that we need one too.