Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tesco row turns ugly.

(I'm hearing reports that).... Feelings about the possible arrival of Tesco in Machynlleth are running high. I posted on the expansion of Tesco into three of Montgomeryshire's market towns last week. It was clear from the response in comments that opinion is particularly deeply divided in Machynlleth. I daresay this sort of disagreement is not uncommon. Differing opinion is not really a problem - as long as it doesn't escalate out of control. But from what I hear, there is a danger of this happening.

(I'm told that)... Some of the shops have placed posters in street windows, proclaiming that Tesco is not welcome in the town. In response, other stickers taking the opposite view have been been stuck on top, and the shops concerned have been pelted with eggs. I suppose eggs are not going to do too much damage, but once missiles of any sort are thrown, its difficult to prevent things escalating.

I've arranged to meet local County Councillor Michael Williams tomorrow afternoon. He's going to show me around the site, and I'm meeting others as well. I think Michael shares my view that what the people of Machynlleth want should be an important factor when consideration is being given to whether planning permission should be granted. I just hope that the planners put some urgency into reaching an early decision. I've always thought of Machynlleth as being a friendly community. I would like it to stay that way.


Anonymous said...

The problem with the Tesco debate is the fact that the media has blown the anti Tesco feeling out of all proportion. Most of Machynlleth welcomes Tesco. When you're in our town, take a straw poll and you'll see that this is indeed the case.

Anonymous said...

Whilst you're in Machynlleth you might like to find out what people think about what's happening to the hospital there, which is far more worrying than the prospect of having a Tesco store!

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that people feel that strongly in favour of Tescos. Its rare for such vociferous feelings are raised in wanting a new facility. Tesco will come to Mac, as it has to Newtown and will to Welshpool - simply through economics. I oppose Tesco in Newtown, but the majority want it - so who am I, and unelected activist to put a spanner in the works, but I think all three towns will be the poorer in the long term, but that's life.

Jeff Jones said...

This is an issue that should only concern the people of Machynlleth and the elected members in Powys who have been given the power to decide the planning application. Unfortunately it was used to attack Tesco and the threat to small shops generally in a national newspaper. I read the original article which gave the impression that virtually everyone in the locality was opposed to the new store. It was soon, however,clear from reading letters and comments in the Welsh press from other individuals including the local Mayor that the original article had been very slanted even if it was written by quite a well known journalist who now lived in Machynlleth. I always find the attacks on Tesco strange. No one forces anyone to shop in a Tesco store.One has recently opened in Maesteg and evidence suggest that it isn't as successful as Tesco had hoped. In Britain for some reason we automatically assume that large supermarkets such as Tseco will kill off the other shops. Yet in France which I frequently visit you often have large supermarkets on the edge of town alongside thriving town centres full of small local shops and a local market at least once a week. Auray in Britanny which I visited in June had a Le Clerc and SuperU on the outskirts, a fantastic permanent market and a street market on a Monday. All of this in a town with a population of less than 11000. Perhaps instead of moaning about Tesco perhaps we should be looking to see how town centres survive in Europe.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - read above post.

Anon 2 - I'm hoping to visit all Montgomerysgire's Community Hospitals before Xmas.

Roman - I'm not so sure about Newtown. Its now being built, but I hear many opinion against it, and I myself have never been reassured that it will not bring serious traffic problems to the town.

Jeff - I've some sympathy with what you write. Much of the opposition does seem to be anti Tesco because it is a big powerful private enterprise. The view of a local community is always very persuasive to me, and I try not to be influenced by those who are the most vocal. Where I don't agree is that I like the large new supermarket to be within easy walking distance to the existing town centre wherever possible.

James D said...

Could this be a place for David Cameron's localism? The planning system is ultimately to blame for people thinking that the only way they can express their legitimate opinions is precariously close to violence. We would not be witnessing this spectacle if planning decisions were made (without any right of appeal other than resubmission) by community councillors on the basis of the democratic wishes of their constituents, rather than subject to appeal to quango by a committee of county councillors on the basis of the narrow quasi-judicial advice of their officers.