Jan and Tracy are strong and opinionated women. At the Montgomeryshire Dinner' held in Meifod Village Hall last night I was seated comfortably next to them, tucking in to outstandingly good fare. A most convivial evening suddenly turned quite intimidatory when I mentioned that the new supermarket to be built in the middle of Welshpool is to be a Tesco. I possessed this knowledge because the developers had telephoned me earlier in the day, seeking a supportive quote on the Press Release that has now been issued. Well actually, it wasn't the fact it was a Tesco that brought opprobrium down upon my head, but that I made the announcement with some approval. I've always had a soft spot for Tesco, because I used to know the then Managing Director, David Malpas, and Dr Gwyn Jones, another Director rather well a few years ago. I suppose its a warmth born of personal friendship. But I don't know much about supermarket shopping - though I did once enter Morrison's of Welshpool for the purposes of shopping in May 2007.
Now Jan and Tracy do not want a new supermarket in Welshpool at all, and if it must be, they do not want it to be a Tesco. The situation was manageable. But then I made a fatal mistake - one that politicians are prone to make. I began talking about something of which I know little. I said that Tesco in a very good quality retailer, and than Welshpool's shoppers (thankfully I didn't say housewives) would be really pleased to have this choice, and that many of those who currently choose to travel to shop will now stay in Welshpool. Well, I know at least two who don't agree.
Many local people do not want another supermarket to come to Welshpool at all. Fair enough. But those who hold this opinion should accept that in due course, the town will lose its livestock market. I'm told that the current market is unlikely to comply with various legal requirements for much longer, and will not survive. The only way that sufficient money can be raised to build a new livestock market is through sale of part of the existing site for food retailing.
Whatever, the decisions have now been taken. Welshpool is being redesigned. The new livestock market is being built (the first sod is being turned on 27th Nov), a one-way traffic system is being introduced, and Tesco is coming. I wonder if Jan and Tracy will be able to resist all those juicy introductory offers that are going to be advertised on posters when Tesco of Welshpool opens?