Sherborne is great without you

Campaign Update No.1


Day 4 of the campaign and we are overwhelmed by the great support we’ve had so far – thank you!

We thought you might like an update on key developments so far:

  • Within 48 hours of the ‘Tesco’ news breaking we had launched a website, social media sites, petition site and mailing list/newsletter sign up. We didn’t get a lot of sleep (or write any Christmas cards).
  • We have nearly 300 sign-ups on the online petition, with ‘paper petition’ distribution starting this week in key retail and business positions.  Thanks to our fabulous local office stationer MidWest who is supporting all the printing and to the girls (and mums!) at Vineyards who are doing the distribution donkey work.
  • Mary Portas retweeted about our campaign to her 204,000 followers on twitter and followed this up with a private visit to see us in Sherborne last Saturday!  She has offered us her full support, which is amazing.
  • We’ve been approached by a top London Art Director who works for key brands and can help us make this campaign something to knock socks off all the others – just because he cares about Sherborne! Thanks and a huge big-up to Nick Bowring
  • We’re working with some key agencies like the Campaign to Protect Rural England CPRE and others who are putting their weight behind the campaign.
  • The Western Gazette is leading with this story this week, following on from the Blackmore Vale Magazine’s coverage last week.
  • We have been approached by ITV News who want to cover the story.
  • We have had retweets from everyone from Mary Portas to Melanie Sykes and even Boycie from Only Fools & Horses (really) plus  many other key personalities and hundreds of other followers.

Just to remind you, this campaign was started by a tiny group of individuals (with day jobs!) who have given up their spare time to get things moving.  We are all people who live and work in Sherborne and want to preserve what is special about the town.  As more people come on board to help, the scope of the campaign can grow.  We believe this isn’t just about Sherborne – it’s a great big fat ‘no thank you’ to Tesco on behalf of any small town it decides to descend upon.

This isn’t a campaign to preach to people about where they should or should not shop, quite the opposite.  We respect that Tesco is the supermarket choice of many (and there are 3 – soon to be 4 – Tesco outlets 5 miles down the road in Yeovil) and that 80% of all food and home purchases are made in a supermarket.

All we’re asking is that we don’t have to sacrifice our high street in the process.

The key issues are:

  • Geographical importance : Sherborne is a Gateway town – the proposed Tesco site is at the entrance to our historic market town and ANY development there needs careful consideration due to its location.
  • Tourism: To accommodate Tesco the town will lose a hotel and yet Tesco claims they will increase tourism by opening there – the argument just doesn’t stack up. We are a town with an Abbey built in the C15th; we have castles and listed buildings galore. We have an enviable arts culture. We attract tourists because of the way we look, what we offer, the experience we create and the welcome we give – not because of our supermarkets.
  • Economy: Sherborne’s economy depends on a thriving high street, with its supporting outlying retailers and service providers.  The trading model of Tesco would engulf every retail and service offering in town and be a threat to many businesses on which the character and economy of the town is built.
  • Community: We LOVE our town.  The town centre is the hub of community activity.  We stage great events and celebrations. We have a market town reputation going back for hundreds of years, with fabulous independent shops and markets promoting the pleasure of ‘real’ shopping.  We do not believe superstores are the place to build communities.

The town is not averse to change or moving with the times.  We have already accommodated many high street brands into our high street and outskirts but it is now time to take a stand on further retail development.

This is Mary Portas’s high street vision…

mary portas vision

Sherborne already meets this vision and more… and our pannier market stalls are only £8!  We have worked hard to create a town that meets Mary’s aspirations of balancing commerce to community – we will not part with it lightly.

Thank you for all you’re doing and we’ll keep you updated as things happen!  PS Spread the word – use the sharing buttons below…


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