Anger at Tesco plans for bigger town store
PUBLISHED: 12:06 02 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 May 2010
A BACKLASH against Tesco is looming on the horizon. The Royston and District Chamber of Commerce told The Crow: The seeds of a rebellion are sown," now work has begun on the store's latest 2,369 sq-metre extension. A Tesco spokesman said enabling work"
A BACKLASH against Tesco is looming on the horizon. The Royston and District Chamber of Commerce told The Crow: "The seeds of a rebellion are sown," now work has begun on the store's latest 2,369 sq-metre extension. A Tesco spokesman said "enabling work" began on Monday to prepare the site for 30 weeks of building work. "It's now just a case of crossing the t's and dotting the i's," the spokesman said. But Steve Larcombe, chairman of the Royston and District Chamber of Commerce, said: "People feel so strongly that the whole thing has got out of hand. We are beginning to see the seeds of a rebellion against the superstores. "Diversity of choice is going down and you are getting more bulk - I regard this with despair, quite honestly." Mr Larcombe criticised the superstore, which now has a 30 per cent share of the UK grocery market, for operating a "virtual monopoly". "Town centres like Royston are having to compete with parking problems and to hear that Tesco may be able to expand further, may be the straw that breaks the camel's back," he said. "It can't be in the best interests of businesses in this area. We all know they sell things below cost and it's all gone too far." Traders are also up-in-arms over the expansion. Manager of Royston Electrical Ltd, Roger Perkins, said: "I think Tesco have got enough business in the town and they should stop slaughtering other businesses. "It's not only us that is going to be affected, it's everyone in the area. I'd rather it was not allowed." Three butchers have closed in Royston since the store opened in 1991 and owner of Russell's Meat, Kevin Saggers, was concerned that the expansion would affect the town even further. He said: "I think they should knock the thing down. "I know the butchers in the town centre lost trade, because they shut down. "I don't like to see this happen it's a shame for the town - everything moves out and the town centre dies." A Tesco spokesman said the expansion was "all good news for customers in Royston" and would make shopping more convenient. "We are expanding to improve groceries and increase our non-food range, such as clothes and electronics," said the spokesperson. "Customers will see the front of the store and the right hand side of the store extended, there will also be an extension to the warehouse." "We respond to our customers and they have a choice of where to shop - they can go elsewhere, but rather than drive to larger sites, we want to be able to let people stay in Royston to do their shopping." The news comes just days after Tesco came under heavy fire in the national press. The Guardian said the country is in the throws of a "national people's revolt" against the corporate giant, which currently operates 1,252 stores in the UK. An umbrella group, Tescopoly, has formed with union and international organisation backing in order to oppose the supermarkets increasing dominance in the high street. A Tescopoly spokesperson said Tesco was a "bully" and accused the supermarket of using "its huge legal might" to try and overturn planning applications rejected by local councils. Tesco boss, Sir Terry Leahy, defended the company's expansion in a BBC interview. He said: "The reason we are big is that over the years customers have chosen Tesco. We will only stay big if we give customers what they want. "It will be many years before we know ultimately how big Tesco will become.