The StopTesco campaign
About 1200 e-mails and letters opposing a Tesco application to build a new superstore smack in the middle of St Albans have arrived at the St Albans planning office, according to the StopTesco website. Two letters in favour arrived, too. The planning commitee meeting, to be held tomorrow, has been moved to a larger venue, which seats 800. Fingers crossed. My e-mail objecting to the application is below. It was written in haste to meet the deadline, but meet it I did, so it is one of the 1200.
To whom it may concern
I have seen what a superstore does to a functioning city centre. In Decin, Czech Republic, there are two superstores close to city centre, one of them is Tesco. The small shops in the centre are struggling, closing down, and have almost no customers. The centre itself is half empty and you certainly would not want to walk there after dark. These changes occured very quickly after the superstores opened. I do not wish this to happen to St Albans and therefore I strongly oppose the Tesco application.
Building of the Tesco in St Albans would bring heavy traffic, air pollution, job losses, noise, closure of local shops, even possible loss of the St Albans market (which had survived hundreds of years) and as a consequence of these changes loss of visitors and hence loss of income for the city.
Tesco says that they will allow some small shops on their premises. But what will the conditions for these shops be? Will they be able to survive? How much rent will they have to pay to Tesco? Besides, Tesco superstores are not noted for their fine architecture and design, so the shopping experience would be much worse than now when it is possible to walk through the beautiful St Albans centre to shop.
Because some support for the new superstore comes from the fact that it is difficult to reach a supermarket in St Albans without a car (and I have the same experience), I suggest that the existing superstores pay for a shuttle between, for example, the train station, the city centre, and Sainsbury’s or Morrison’s. This shuttle would be free for passengers. It works for IKEA, so it could work for Sainsbury’s and Morrisons as well.
Any new job opportunities in Tesco will be offset by job losses when the small shops will close. The site where Tesco would be could be used to build new housing, which is sorely needed in St Albans.
It does not matter to Tesco whether they will have one shop more or not, but it does matter to local residents and even to visitors to St Albans!
Best regards, etc.