Tesco Proposal Print
Supermarket Debate
Written by Michael Lever   
Thursday, 15 September 2011 12:03

I have it on good authority that Sainsbury's have been working on their proposals involving the Galebreaker property for two years and have only had to go public before their scheme is finalised in principle, subject to planning permission, because of Tesco's application to build a new store opposite.  I reckon that Tesco got wind of the Sainsbury's plans and decided to muscle in with a view to scuppering them, by offering the owner of Ledbury Welding silly money (rumoured to be in the region of £6M) for a factory/warehouse that with industrial use is in my opinion probably only worth in the region of £2M to £3M: enough for the owner to relocate and build a new factory/warehouse to its desired spec, without Tesco's help.

If that's the case then there are three possibilities: either Tesco are not seriously expecting to be granted planning permission, or if they succeed then they'd jump for joy because that would surely mean Herefordshire Council refusing Sainsbury's on the basis that one supermarket out of town is enough. The third possibility, and that in my opinion is not good for Ledbury, is that the Co-Op would not survive if Tesco were to succeed and Ledbury would end up with Tesco, as owner also of One Stop/ sub-Post Office in The Homend, having the monopoly on the sale of fresh produce and groceries in Ledbury. If the Tesco application were refused but Sainsbury's scheme is approved then it's unlikely the Co-op would be affected and Ledbury would have three supermarkets in and out of town to choose from, each serving a particular segment of the grocery and non-food market, also another petrol filling station. In my view, that would do wonders for Ledbury.


Last Updated on Thursday, 03 November 2011 13:58
Comments (4)
Mr Warmington's points
4 Saturday, 24 September 2011 12:32
1. Malvern is a very lively town and if you break the high streets down into the respective areas being Barnards Green, Malvern Link and Great Malvern then you have areas that can be compared to Ledbury. While their was a down turn in trade when the retail park first opened this is now no longer the case. I know at least 6 traders spread across the 3 high streets and all but 1 have told me that they have actually seen an increase in footfall since the opening of the retail park. Each of the high streets maintains its mix of independant stores that cater for a certain type of customer, that is the difference between them and Ledbury traders, the Malvern ones have adjusted their business plans to provide services and goods that the supermarkets etc do not, you only have to look at the shops in Ledbury to realise that the majority also offer items that neither Tescos or Sainsburys would stock or if they did would be aimed at a different type of customer (ones with a small disposable income).
2. If Sainsburys were to be approved then they are quoting 220 jobs, plus the 10 jobs for Galebreaker in their new location. It seems to me that most, if not all, of the figures quoted about job losses are based on the theory that independant shops would close, this however is merely a guess as the impact (if any) cannot be measured and as I have said above I feel it would be a very small impact.
3. What is so different about the deliveries, yes there would be an increase, but this would somewhat ofset by the decrease in deliveries to the current Tescos, assuming it was Tescos who gain the vote, and if it is Sainsburys then I would say that it should be part of the conditions that deliveries can only be be between specific times (as has been done at other towns and cities). The point is that Ledbury is in a strong position to dictate certain conditions to either store being built.
4. Now that Herefordshire council have comfirmed that at least 600 houses will be built in Ledbury and with the average national family size at 3.8 then you have approx 2,250 new residence moving here and with no social housing to be included in these new houses you have families who will have disposable income to spend, would you rather they spend that eleswhere or in Ledbury. To add to that you have the annual influx of migrant workers (around 5,000) to cater for, these annual workers cannot be ignored as they form part of the population for over half of the year.
5. I feel the point is not whether we have more choice it is whether we have a choice that suits our income, there a lot of the population (arround 20%) that simply cannot afford to shop in the high street for such items as clothing or electrical goods, if those people can now afford to save travelling costs they will also have more disposable income which they may very well use to "have a night out" in the town.

I feel that the local traders should take a leaf out of the Malvern traders handbook and adjust their business plans to cater for the changes that will allmost certainly increase the footfall within the high street, I would also suggest a better protest would be to lobby the council for more parking and toilet facilities to cater for those extra people. Give them a reason to stop here, I fear we may well start to lose our tourist trade if something isn't done to rally the local traders to actually open their shops when people need them ie, later in the evenings, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Mr Dudley's points 1-5
3 Friday, 23 September 2011 15:08
Andrew Warmington
1) How lively is Malvern? That's a matter of subjective opinion and the comparison isn't easy because it is a bigger, more sprawled-out place than Ledbury, with no single high street. Plus it is a very unusual town, being the only place in the whole of the UK where the number one economic activity is education. My subjective view from going there regularly and occasionally speaking with people there is that it is very quiet for a town of its size and that the out-of-town retail park has decimated the town centre.

2) It's simply a matter of knowing the difference between gross and net. Either superstore will create some jobs, but far fewer than they destroy in the current food supply industry around the town. Food retail is pretty much a zero sum game and the Big 4 have got to be that big and profitable by doing more with fewer people, combined with a huge buying and distribution power. On average, an independent study showed, about 280 jobs net are lost locally every time a superstore opens, both in the shops that close or lose business as a result and even more so among their local suppliers.

3) In addition to the greater number of people who will do their shopping at either new store by car rather than on foot, you have to factor in the big increase in deliveries, almost invariably by articulated lorry. Whilst most of the increased car traffic will probably come from the West, deliveries will come from wherever in the central distribution networks of the superstores and that means from all directions, and at all times of the day and night - because all superstores function on 'just-in-time' deliveries to cut down on warehouse space.

4) There actually is a plausible case for an increase in retail space in Ledbury, in view of its potential growth, though the exact number of houses that may be added is as yet unclear. When the town traders were asked by Bill Wiggin (before the Sainsbury's proposal was made) if they would mind Tesco staying put and expanding on site, they all said that they did not. What LOTS are campaigning against is the out-of-town location and the gargantuan scale of the proposed stores. Either alone is more than enough to add ALL the extra retail space that MIGHT be needed by 2026, according to the town plan. And the shell of either, alone, could actually contain the whole population of Ledbury without anyone having to touch anyone else!

5) Whether an out-of-town superstore increases or decreases choice depends. To say it can 'only ever' increase choice is absurd. If a new Tesco/Sainsbury closes all three independent butchers in town, for instance, would it not obviously decrease our choice? As for the environmental impact, the issue is not whether HGVs are less polluting than they used to be (true) but the total impact of food production and distribution in a given area. And there is no way that an integrated local network like we have now has less total impact than an offshoot of a national single-supplier network, it's just impossible.

Everyone is entitled to their views and there are valid points on both sides. But whether or not we get a superstore in the end, we are all living in this town together and implying ("Fact not fiction Messrs Hadley and Crowe etc!!!") that those who disagree with you are lying is discourteous and wrong and will only serve to stir up more unpleasantness, of which there has been quite enough already.
LOTS flyer - assumptions, supposition and surmising ASS!
2 Thursday, 22 September 2011 10:08
martin dudley
Just had a LOTS flyer delivered with the Journal and Admag - Asking me to write to Herefordshire County Council and object to the proposed Tesco superstore, no mention of Sainsbury by the waay.

Interesting points raised as a form of objection.........

1). One stop shopping and a drain on shoppers using the High Street - Well look no further than the retail park in Malvern and witness the bustling and vibrant trade in and around Malvern, no detrimental affect there so that's a fictitious assumption for starters.

2). Tesco job creation claims are false stating that 100s of jobs will be lost in the local economy - Please explain as Tesco will themselves create 75 full and part time jobs over and above those already employed at the present sit, lest we forget Sainsbury stating 220 jobs to be created and Galebreaker a further 10.

3). Huge ammounts of traffic, mainly from Malvern driving through ancient, narrow streets causing damage to fargile historical buildings - Are LOTS expecting the population of Malvern and all points inbetween to then use Ledbury as a central point for shopping? If so then i'd be rubbing my hands in anticipation as an independant trader and dreaming up schemes and marketing plans with which to entice new and most welcome trade.........and what about the heavy goods vehicles that already use this route from Malvern, surely more a risk to damage buildings etc than any car, when was the last time a car, minibus or coach hit a building on or around the Top Cross?

4). No justification for a massive increase in retail space at this time in Ledbury - Hmmmm, well the exodus of local residents who shop elsewhere at weekends etc would suggest that the current store just does not stock and supply to meet the demand, Herefordshire County Council themselves admit to Ledbury being the only county town that is growing, the population figures I have quoted in the past, conveniently ignored by LOTS, provide proof if proof were required. No mention by LOTS of the government proposals and earmarked plans for a minimum of 400 new homes adding to the population either.

5). Erode consumer choice and force a dependance upon high carbon footprint transportation - Well now they really have touched on something I know about.......Erode customer choice?????? A larger supermarket can only ever increase customer choice and as for high carbon footprint transportation.........Heavy goods vehicles are now at their most economical and eco/environmentally friendly that they have ever been, engines running on the greenest diesel fuel available and with Adblue additive that reduces emissions of nitrogen etc whilst acting as a catalytic reduction measure, haulage companies are now more aware than ever of the importance to be seen as eco friendly and some vehicles even run on LPG, many producers of foodstuffs won't even entertain using a distributor unless they are seen as eco friendly and many of the trailers being used to transport goods are multi purpose and can carry frozen chilled and ambient goods in 1 load thus reducing the carbon footprint and minimising the ammount of vehicles required and used.

Fact not fiction Messrs Hadley and Crowe etc!!!
Tesco Sainsury Co-oP et al
1 Monday, 19 September 2011 15:32
martin alastair cooke
It strikes me that there's something rotten in the council of Herefordshire
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