Template Letter – Traders

Dear Jonathan Coombs,

As a local trader I strongly object to planning permission being granted to Tesco for a shop front at 138-142 Cheltenham Road.

Our community does not need another supermarket when there are already five Tesco stores within a mile (and 14 within two miles).

It is well known that multiple food retailers put local shops out of business. What’s more it is the shop’s brand as contained in its shop front that will attract customers away from our local shops and undermine our local economy that is at last beginning to boom.

Tesco’s multi-million pound branding campaign continually misleads people into believing that all Tesco stores are cheaper – when in fact it is only larger stores that tend to offer such unrealistically low prices.

The reality is a Tesco Express is not cheaper or more convenient than the local shops already on offer. Our local shops are between them open 24 hours and offer a far greater customer choice than an Express store.

Price comparisons have shown that a basket of shopping bought from local shops is significantly cheaper than the equivalent goods purchased at the nearby Tesco Express on Gloucester Road [1].

Tesco perpetuates the price myth through loss leaders that represent an unfair advantage not possible for us as independent shops. It is the Tesco brand as displayed in its shop front that communicates this misleading and damaging message and that will divert customers away from local stores.

As a local trader, I pride myself on our relationship with the local community and for being a fundamental part of the unique, eclectic and independent culture that makes this area so special. This propsed shop front is entirely incongruent with our community’s distinct culture and will inevitably lead to the gradual closure of numerous shops giving the green light for other chain stores to enter our community.

The Local Plan for our area, the Stokes Croft Gateway Enhancement Plan, makes it clear that we need to protect our local businesses from the harmful effects of multiple food stores:

Independent trade is one of the hallmarks and strengths of Stokes Croft: new development should, as a preference, provide shop units of a size that is suitable for specialist trade and discourages main stream retailing. There should be care that large retailers (such as the main foodstore chains) do not supplant the range of local shops.”(p.61).

Finally I am concerned that this proposed shop front will provoke vandalism and crime to our community as Tesco have been extremely disrespectful to the thousands of people in the local community, our local MP and Leader of our Council – all of whom have asked them to leave. The extent of the anger this has caused in our infamously fragile community was evident at the squatter’s eviction back in March. A shop front is supposed to protect a shop and its contents from crime – but in this case it will very likely cause crime and represents a threat to public safety and risks being a complete eyesore in our community.

Many thanks for your time and I trust that you will reject this application in light of your accountability to act in the best interests of Bristol’s communities and our local economies.


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