Sherborne is great without you

Dorset CPRE Statement

dorset CPRE


The CPRE Statement re.TESCO in Sherborne

It is rather surprising that Tesco want to come to a small town like Sherborne, which already has two supermarkets, several convenience stores and specialists’ shops serving it already. Of course there is then a very large Tesco in Yeovil in addition to ASDA and Morrisons all of which are only a few miles away. Maybe Tesco sees that in a while the area near the proposed site will be full of houses at Barton Farm – a nightmare scenario that many of us are striving to avoid.  Indeed such a store development, with the road infrastructure involved to deliver it, could make the development on Barton Farm easier to achieve.

Such a store is likely to damage Sherborne in other ways too including:

  • It would be on a Gateway site, not exactly what one wants to see on an approach to the Historic Abbey Town.
  • It is very likely to take away business from the Town Centre (in which many shops are under local ownership) and detract tourist from visiting. Thus having the potential to destroy the unique Town Centre and putting others out of business. It seems futile of the Government to appoint Mary Portas to report on how Town Centres could be revitalized and still allow stores to be built on the fringes of towns. It is worth bearing in mind what David Cameron said when she produced her report “The high street should be at the very heart of every community, bringing people together, providing essential services and creating jobs and investment; so it is vital that we do all that we can to ensure they thrive’. For Sherborne to a large extent we have this already but what damage would a large Tesco do to that high street in the future?
  • It may well go against the new local plan which could well suggest that further retail development should be around the Town Centre not on the fringes.
  • There will be the loss of a hotel. With the tourist trade and visitors related to the schools in the town it is essential that the hotel is kept. Indeed ideally the site should continue to house a hotel, preferably new or updated.

The PR machine of Tesco has already started its spin indicating that it is a much needed shopping facility, which we would dispute and that it will create an extra 200 jobs –no doubt a gross figure which doesn’t take into account the jobs lost at the hotel and other businesses as a result of them opening.

The proposal by Tesco provides another reason why Sherborne needs special status to protect its Heritage assets and the environment in which the town is situated. The problem is that the mighty Tesco tends to march on and add to the destruction of fragile Towns which have a unique nature. If this happen in Sherborne then achieving any form of Heritage status in the future may well be too late!

Tesco with its money and power is difficult to fight but is seems we might well have to take on that fight. If so it will require huge verbal and maybe financial support to oppose them.

Peter Neal – Chairman, Sherborne and District Society CPRE



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