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Nearly half would oppose a new store in their area

More people would oppose a new Tesco store than would welcome it, a new survey by Friends of the Earth and Tescopoly reveals today. The findings coincide with today's Tesco AGM, which will be attended by campaigners.

At last year's AGM Tesco claimed that only a "minority" of people oppose its new stores while the "silent majority" were in favour But the GSK NOP survey for Friends of the Earth contradicts this claim:

43 per cent of people in the UK would oppose a new Tesco store while only 33 per cent would welcome one.

There are also a fast-growing number of local campaigners speaking out about the mega brand; news that will hit particularly hard in the light of Tesco's attempts to re-brand itself as a green and ethical company. Over 100 individual site campaigns have been registered on the Tescopoly website since it was launched last year.

Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth supermarket campaigner and Tescopoly spokesperson said:

"These days Tesco shouts more about its efforts to be good to the environment and its neighbours than it does about its profits. But they're not fooling the communities that already suffer from the Tesco effect, which includes the loss of local shops and increased traffic noise and pollution. More and more people don't want a new Tesco opening near where they live. It is unacceptable that the Government is currently considering dismantling planning laws to make it even easier for big supermarkets to build huge out of town stores"

Jacqui Mackay, Tescopoly spokesperson said:

"We are seeing more and more active campaigns against Tesco and much more networking between them via the Tescopoly website. Communities are seeing that they can win and they are simply not prepared just to sit back and let Tesco take over their towns"

Friends of the Earth and Tescopoly are calling on the Competition Commission to reduce Tesco's dominance and power in the grocery market. They strongly oppose moves by the Government to weaken retail planning policy to make it easier for supermarkets to build new out-of-town stores.

See below for additional information on site campaigns. Roz Hurn from Gerrards Cross, Nigel Dowdney from Stalham, Eroica Mildmay from Sheringham and Gay Brown from Yiewsley will be at the Tesco AGM on Friday and can be contacted via Friends of the Earth or Tescopoly.

Additional information

Tesco: a bad neighbour

Gerrards Cross

It is now ten years since Tesco won their appeal to build an enormous supermarket over the railway line in the centre of Gerrards Cross. Two years ago their tunnel collapsed narrowly missing two packed commuter trains. The HSE report into the collapse has still not been issued. Tesco have left tens of thousands of tonnes of uncovered Incinerator Bottom Ash Aggregate (IBAA) lying around adjacent to residential homes and the shopping centre for over two years. Tesco's contractors also illegally dumped 27000 tonnes of demolition material, mostly IBAA from the collapse, in surrounding countryside (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). An appeal was lodged against the County Council's enforcement order to remove it and to keep it covered and irrigated until such time as it was removed. It remained there, uncovered, for 18 months before it was removed. A recent BBC `Inside Out ` programme identified possible health risks associated with the IBAA in Gerrards Cross. In response Tesco commissioned an `independent' investigation and issued a report stating the material posed no significant health risks. Local campaigners, however, are still not convinced that the material in Gerrards Cross is entirely safe. Tesco have recently said they will complete the store by 2010.

Graham Hoenes, a resident from Gerrards Cross said:

"Since the collapse of their tunnel Tesco have left what looks like a colossal abandoned quarry in the middle of our High Street and have left potentially harmful material near to our homes and shops. Tesco have still not made a decision on the future of the store. Residents, shopkeepers, office workers and commuters are distressed by this chaos and their health and safety has been put at risk. Already this development is beyond our very worst nightmares and the store hasn't even been completed. Tesco's actions are hardly those of a good neighbour"

Yiewsley, London

Local campaigners exposed flaws in Tesco's data backing their application for a new store in Yiewsley, West London. Campaigners questioned Tesco's figures for traffic generation and lorry deliveries and the local Co-op confirmed that Tesco had underestimated the impact on existing shops. Local residents pointed out that the huge amount of traffic that would be generated by the store would be a threat to health in what is one of the most polluted areas of London. They also pointed out that they were frequently woken at night because Tesco had already reneged on promises to restrict night deliveries to an existing store. Not very neighbourly or green! In this case the Planning Inspector rejected the Tesco plan and complimented the local campaign on their case against it.

Local resident Gay Brown said

"Having been woken nightly by Tesco delivery lorries for the past four years their claim to be good neighbours beggars belief. We don't need Tesco here - what sort of choice will we have when every store left is a Tesco?"

Norfolk

Tesco says that towns and high streets benefit from a new Tesco. Traders in Stalham, Norfolk do not agree. After Tesco opened in the market town of Stalham in Norfolk footfall to the high street was reduced by over 55%.

Tesco also has its sights set on the nearby town of Sheringham - a thriving seaside town with a high street full of local independent stores. For ten years Tesco has been trying to gain planning permission for a store in the town. It has gone as far as tying the council into a legal agreement which has had the effect of stopping a smaller rival from building in the town. Tesco is persisting with its plans for a large supermarket despite strong opposition. In October last year residents delivered a petition with over 3,000 signatures opposing the new store to Downing Street

Nigel Dowdney an independent shopkeeper from Stalham said

"Tesco has not been good for our community. By closing down local shops and drawing people away from the high street Tesco has reduced choice for local people in Stalham and turned a thriving market town into a Tesco town. Now Tesco has the seaside town of Sheringham in its sights - if Tesco gets its way it will be at the expense of the town's character and vibrancy"

New campaigns against Tesco include:

Last week almost 2,500 (83%) villagers in Cuffley, Hertfordshire voted against plans for a Tesco Express in their village - home of Tesco boss Terry Leahy. The referendum was organized by the `Keep Cuffley Rural Campaign. Tesco says that it listens to communities concerns and at last year's AGM Terry Leahy said that "it makes no sense to build a store where it's not welcome" but Tesco's letter to Cuffley residents states that they intend to open the store in Autumn.
www.keepcuffleyrural.co.uk/.

In Belper, Derbyshire the Belper Against a Tesco Superstore (BATS) campaign group was launched at a packed public meeting on 24th May 2007 at the Lion Hotel. Nearly 200 people attended the meeting to voice concerns over an anticipated planning application from Tesco. Tesco is known to be talking with the council about building a superstore of up to 80,000 square feet, with 600 parking spaces and featuring 24 hour opening. The BATS campaign group is particularly concerned about the effect Tesco could have on Belper's small retailers. Belper is a small town with a pleasant high street and many small independent retailers. It is also a U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage site, by virtue of its industrial history. Belper is also near the edge of the Peak District national park.

Tesco in Petersfield, Hampshirehas recently put forward plans to 'enhance' it's present super store with an expansion of nearly 70%, allowing additional space for convenience goods and a larger selection of comparison products. Residents and retailers are concerned about the impact this willhave on the local economy and vitality ofthis small market town. For further information please visit
www.mypetersfield.co.uk/petersfield%20green.htm#TESCO

More local campaigns against Tesco can be found at:
www.tescopoly.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=  
213&Itemid=103

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

 

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust