An Independent Family-Owned Newspaper
Follow us on:
Subscribe to our RSS News Feed
Chamber wants residents’ views on Tesco bid
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
THE town’s chamber of trade members have expressed great concern over the possibility of a new Tesco store in Okehampton.
The chamber called a special meeting last Wednesday specifically to discuss retail giant Tesco’s intention to build a store on the current Thompsons Devon site, creating a 31,000sq ft store with 270 free parking spaces.
The official stance of the chamber is that it wants to engage with the community to see if residents are supportive of the plans or not. It intends to circulate a ‘fact sheet’ about the application around the town, and is looking for feedback from as many residents as possible.
Chamber chairman Ian Bailey said: ‘The chamber is very concerned at this point. We are concerned at the effect this could have on the traders in the town centre.
‘We feel we should gauge residents’ feelings to see what the overall thoughts on Tesco are.
‘We need to get in the hearts and minds of the people of Okehampton, and get them to really think about this and what it means for the town.
‘We want to ask impartial questions and find the real opinions. We have got to get it right, and we don’t want to alienate people.’
Many of those in attendance at the meeting expressed concerns about a Tesco store in the town, and their belief that it could have adverse effects on Fore Street.
Sharon Brodie from the Co-op, said: ‘I think the people of the town need to understand the knock-on effect Tesco will actually have. They say they will create 180 jobs, but it really could create the loss of many jobs within the town. That is clearly not a good thing for Okehampton.’
Jim White from Okehampton Farmers’ Market, suggested that a small store in the heart of the town could become an asset.
‘A Tesco store at the Thompsons site would be the kiss of death to the high street, which is dying a death as it is.
‘There is no major food retailer on the high street. The Plume of Feathers and the shop next to it have been empty for a while now. If these could be turned into a Tesco Metro store, it could be a major asset to the town centre, creating critical mass on that side of the street and footfall through the town.’
Chamber secretary Kevin Hutchings recommended people should shop around to find the best deals: ‘It might be worth doing your weekly shop at Waitrose, Lidl, Co-op, and the smaller shops in town, totalling the cost and seeing if you really can get anything cheaper at Tesco.
‘Using the argument that food from Tesco will be cheaper is not necessarily true.’
Simon Petar, regional corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said: ‘Our recent public exhibition has excited local residents, with now 70 per cent in favour of a new store.
‘Our proposed store will provide an economic boost to the local economy and will keep shoppers in Okehampton, rather than have them leave for Crediton, Bideford or Exeter. The 180 jobs will undoubtedly give a positive lift to the town.
‘We will advertise locally, hold a local recruitment event and work with Job Centre Plus to ensure as many of the jobs as possible go to local people.’
Current employees at Thompsons will be given an opportunity to interview at Tesco.
The application for the store on Link Road will be submitted later this summer.
All content © of Tavistock Times Gazette unless stated otherwise.
Comments on this news item:
1 comments on this news item
Posted by : Mrs, jacobstowe | Monday 18/Jun/2012 | Report this comment
Happy to welcome tesco to okehampton much needed choice of foods at lower prices for lower income local families. It will offer a large employer for okehampton with decent wages and prospects. Free parking for shoppers andinjection of money to area with customers it brings.
Add your comment:
Sir Ray Tindle
Something to sell?