Abbey Decor Hardware shop – Cheap Street
We’ve done it for Sherborne and now we’re doing it for Britain – read all about it and sign our new petition:
On Monday 25th March 2013 Minister of State (Housing & Local Growth), Mark Prisk MP, chaired the first meeting of the new government advisory group: The Future High Streets Forum
At this meeting Mark Prisk MP announced “The Future High Streets Forum will take the lead …providing the strategic leadership needed to analyse the competition and tackle the difficult problems which conventional high streets need to address.”
Neil McCourt, Future High Streets Forum member and Managing Director of Tesco Metro, stated that Tesco was in “listening and innovating mode” and “determined to help”.
Tesco is not the only multiple to impact on high street economies but it is the ONLY one represented on the Future High Streets Forum. Why is that?
It is historical fact that multinational Tesco PLC, the second most profitable retailer in the world after Walmart, has contributed to the erosion of Britain’s high streets and town centres with an unchallenged strategy of acquisition and growth. Hundreds of towns have fought repetitive, lengthy, expensive and nationally publicised planning battles with Tesco while the Government remains unable to intervene in what it considers to be ‘local planning decisions’.
Sherborne in Dorset – with a nothankstesco petition of more than 11,000 – is the latest and most high profile case of a town campaigning to protect its high street, heritage, tourism, local economy and community from Tesco’s proposal for an out of town superstore: it is the town now bringing this national petition to your attention.
In all its activities and in the name of ‘more jobs’, ‘more choice’ and ‘better prices’, Tesco continually downgrades the vitality and viability of Britain’s traditional town centres; diverting footfall to out of town stores or competing with smaller businesses in high street locations – causing subsequent job losses and closures for Britain’s existing town centre businesses (often family-owned independents) and a lot less ‘choice’ in our high streets as a consequence.
We believe it is inappropriate that Tesco is a government advisory on the Future High Streets Forum – a position offering it high-level influence over the future vitality and viability of Britain’s town centre economies. We ask Mark Prisk MP to help us limit Tesco’s power over our high streets and take steps to remove it from the Forum.
The Future High Streets Forum has a 2-year remit with clear aims in its published Terms of Reference:
1. ‘To provide joint business and government leadership to better enable our high streets and town centres to adapt and compete in the face of changing consumer and social trends’ and
2. ‘To advise the Government in the formation and delivery of policies to support high streets and town centres, in the short and longer term’ .
Contrary to these aims, Tesco has historically and actively prevented high streets and town centres from being able to ‘adapt and compete'; it is the very creator of consumer and social trends which have proven to be economically detrimental to countless British town centres. Tesco has nearly 3000 stores in its Extra/Superstore/Metro/Express and One Stop portfolio – hundreds of these opened against fierce local opposition in towns where they were neither wanted or needed. Tesco has spent millions of pounds defending planning applications that are often in contravention of the Government’s own Local National Planning Policy Framework.
What Tesco doesn’t sell in store it competes for online in every category, offering a ‘Click and Collect’ service from its stores. Its current strategy also includes acquisition of add-on brands such as Dobbies Garden Centres, Euphorium artisanal bakery, Harris + Hoole Coffee Shop chain and family restaurant chain Giraffe – for the sole purpose of launching Britain’s ‘retail destinations’ of the future. By definition these will not be in high streets.
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