Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tesco call off store opening in Newtown

I'm not in Mrs D's good books - or those of Pam in the Conservative Office, or Maggie in the CPRW Office, or daughter-in-law, Adrienne who has just moved into the Barn opposite, or every other person that I've met today who shops. And the reason for this witholding of geniality from my person - I supported Powys County Council in its decision to take legal action to prevent Tesco opening its new supermarket in Newtown, Montgomeryshire next week, unless all the associated road works have been completed. After careful thought yesterday, I issued media comment encouraging Powys Council to 'get tough' with Tesco. Well, Tesco decided this morning to postpone the opening of its new store from Dec. 7th until sometime after Xmas. Makes no difference that the Council were right, or that Tesco were right. Reality is that almost everyone I know has been looking forwards to shopping at Tesco's, and are thoroughly disappointed by today's news.

Must admit I was floored when Tesco contacted me this morning to inform me of this decision. Never known Tesco to take a backwards step before (if this can be so described). It wasn't what I expected - which was for the supermarket giant to move a 500 strong (or thereabouts) workforce in to finish off the road works. Last night, I was thinking of Tesco as preparing to "bulldoze its way through planning conditions". Tonight, its more as a responsible, responsive developer, willing to put its responsibilities before profit. That must be a first.

But the reality is that if Tesco had opened when the roadworks were not finished, there would have been traffic chaos in Newtown. Its been bad enough over the last several weeks, with motorists waiting for what seems like hours. Just imagine what would have happened with another 20,000 (?) shoppers a day piling in as well. But none of this 'justification' cut any ice at all with Mrs D. I could now find myself dispatched to Morrison's to do some of the shopping as punishment.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

So what about all those local people who have been promised jobs - much needed jobs in some cases - will they now not start work either until after Christmas thus missing out on what for some is no doubt a much needed wage especailly before christmas?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I read in tonight's Shropshire Star that Tesco are going to protect the jobs even though the opening has been delayed until after Xmas. Can't be much fairer than that. Seems to me that Tesco's behaviour here will end up enhancing the company's reputation.

Anonymous said...

i drove through newtown late last night and there were workmen out in the rain trying to finish off the roadfs. tesco are doing their best and should have been allowed to open

Anonymous said...

I think speak for all the small businesses in Newtown that will be relieved in that Tesco will not closing us down for a little longer.Tesco staff have been in various shops in the town checking prices, only for one reason to undercut us when they open and say how good they are to the Newtown people.If anybody wants to read up about Tesco they will find that for every store they open there is a net loss of 250 jobs,mine could be one of those including my other 3 staff.

Anonymous said...

well its just as well I've not seen you today, as I too am quite "miffed" that Tesco wont open until after christmas. Not that it matters that much really, as I am in Shrewsbury weekly, so will do my ususal weekly shop there. I wonder if they will instigate the home delivery in the meantime ??????? must admit tho' they have pulled out all the stops to try and get the roads finished. personally I wouldnt be too worried about the surface, so long as the new lights worked and were in sequence with the Dolfor road ones ;) (my local road is in worse condition than the roads outside tescos !!!!)

Anonymous said...

It is a shame about Tesco delaying the opening. I for one was looking forward to getting my christmas food from there. Oh well, bet Morrison's are jumping for joy as they have another christmas trade to look forward to.
As for this closing all the local shops, what rubbish. Its the same when they propose a bypass around any town, people always complain about loss of business. In actual fact it has been proven in numerous areas with bypasses that more people come to shop as the roads are safer with less traffic.
A lot of people now go to Shrewsbury to do shopping so at least when we have Tesco here it will keep people in the town.

Anonymous said...

Tesco is just another supermarket. We have a big supermarket
in Newtown already. Who are these people that are so
convinced that Tesco is going to be a better place to shop?
I'm pretty sure it's going to be no different to shopping at
Morrisons.

The reason there has been road chaos over the last few
months in Newtown is the amount of roadworks happening
simultaneously in the town, and the fact that they have been
rushed - resulting in extensive roadworks being undertaken
at peak times and traffic light systems that simply aren't
working.

I'm not 100% sure who has been responsible for the timetable
of roadworks happening in the town, but I'm sure that if
anyone other than Tesco wanted to open a superstore in
Newtown, the process of undertaking the required road
alterations would have been done step-by-step, minimising
impact on people's travel especially at peak times - and
not rushed the way they have been for Tesco.

This has resulted in thousands of lost work-hours as people
struggle to get to work. Shops in and around the town have
suffered significantly as people have avoided Newtown like
the plague.

Don't commend Tesco or be thankful to them for abiding by
the law and delaying their opening date. This should be
expected of them. They should never have expected to be able
open before all the conditions of their planning application
were met, and Powys shouldn't have had to get tough on them.

Tesco have ridden roughshod over the people of Newtown for
the last few months in order to get their store open.

And Glyn Davies - shame on you for being so supportive of
Tesco coming to our area and desecrating our local economy.
Perhaps you should be more supportive of local businesses.
If Tesco hadn't have come to Newtown, people will continue
to shop where they have already been and life would go on
for them. Shops in the town would stand a better chance of
survival. People wouldn't have had to endure road chaos for
months.

And if you were to show more support for prospective voters'
livelihoods, you might stand a better chance of getting
their vote. Perhaps instead of going to Morrison's to get
"Mrs. D"s shopping, you might want to have a look on your
local high street? Supporting local stores isn't really
'punishment'.

Glyn Davies said...

Anons - Don't accuse me of 'supporting' the Tesco development in Newtown. Regular readers of this blog will know that I was opposed to this Tesco supermarket being given permission, mainly because of its impact on the unconnected town centre - and I have not believed the reassurances about the traffic effect. I am in favour of the proposed Tescos in Welshpool and Machynlleth - because I believe they will both strengthen the town centres. Many people disagree with all of those opinions - and I have no influence anyway, so who cares?

I was also opposed to Tesco opening without completing (or mostly at least) the road works, because it would have resulted in traffic chaos.

However, now that the supermarket is approved and built and ready to roll, with staff appointed etc., I would like it to have opened before Xmas. I'm told that work was continuing on the roads late into the night this week. Its a pity that didn't happen weeks ago. We would not have been in this position.

I should also add that I have huge admiration for the company. It is just about the best example of British commercial success. But Tesco has become so powerful, that only Governmnet can control it, so despite my admiration I never worry about being critical. In fact, its the duty of anyone with a public voice (councillor or journalist or even blogger) to take Tesco on when needs be. In this case, I consider that the Council did what they had to do, and that the company's response has been very responsible.

G ap M said...

I'm just very pleased that Powys planners have held firm and resisted public pressures to allow the opening of the store without compliance with planning conditions. Tesco are notorious for steamrolling local planning authorities and once they get the go-ahead they tend to ignore planning conditions. So hats off to Powys County Council for standing up to this giant. Planning conditions are there for a purpose - to make an otherwise unacceptable development acceptable and workable. Tesco had six months following the granting of planning permission to appeal to the Welsh Assembly against the conditions. They didn't and it is reasonable to conclude that the conditions were reasonable and acceptable to Tesco. I'm surprised that so many in our community feel that a few weeks wait to get things right from a highways perspective isn't worth it. You should take credit Glyn for taking the stance you have and blamed Tesco not our planners.

Matt said...

Myself, family and friends are all hoping Tesco opens before Xmas, its been a long time coming, at least we will have somewhere decent to shop save going miles into Shrewsbury. Tesco is the best thing to happen to this area, I hope the Welshpool one gets built quickly also, but I'm betting the council will be dragging their heels on that one also.

Glyn Davies said...

G ap M - I thought Tesco eventually recognised themselves that opening before the road works were finished would have been a mistake. Its obvious now that there is some urgency to finish. I was stuck in a long queue again this week.

Matt - I sense that Tesco is unlikely to be open before Xmas - causing disappointment to almost everyone I know, especially family memebers. I can see no reason why the Welshpool Tesco should not be open by the summer. The old livestock market will be gone by Xmas, the extensive road works will begin soon after Xmas. I thought the Planning Authority have been obstuctively slow over the last two years, but there is no reason why there should be any more problems - as long as Tesco stick to the conditions that is.

Anonymous said...

Tesco's have applied to the planning department for a variation of the condition relating to the highways works. They have asked that the condition be varied i.e changed in order to allow them to open before the highways works are finished.

Even if that would allow them to open before Christmas, somehow I doubt the authority's planning committee will allow it. There are two of the three conservative newtown members sitting on that particular committee, I would imagine they'd have to declare an interest and possibly leave the room.

Matt said...

Thanks for the reply Glyn, we also shop at Morrisons in both Newtown and Welshpool, plus visit the local shops on the high street. I can sympathise with the road works situation as I have been through them myself, not sure how it could of been handled better really as the road is very busy at peak times anyway. In the long run it will all be worth it.
Matt.

Bogoff said...

I think you are a really self-centred,stupid idiot!
You have not given one single thought to severely disabled people in the area, who were looking forward so much to shopping at the new Tesco. Christmas for us has been cancelled thanks to selfish Powys County Councilors, throwing their Hitler-like weight around. This road through Newtown AND Welshpool, should have been given a major bypass, donkey's years ago, to take the absolutely dreadful traffic,thundering juggernaughts,etc.away from one of Wales' most beautiful valleys; long before Tesco was ever even thought about; but the Welsh Assembly,and greedy Powys County Council,are simply too mean,and Scrooge- like,to save the beauty of their OWN country,which they literally 'harp'on about continuously! Now they are trying to put the blame oon Tesco for their laziness and greed.
Try doing your shopping at Morrisons in either town, where there is nowhere near enough disabled parking spaces,and what there is,are taken up by old people,who are only having symptoms of old age! or going for lunch,because it's cheap! Christmas bah! humbug,you nasty,mean,inconsiderate, old Scrooge!

tescoviews said...

It is heartning to hear and see all your comments on this blog. I comment from a blog (http://tescoviews.blogspot.com/)where both customers and Tesco staff could throw their grievances at this giant supermarket chain to be more human friendly rahtoer than money friendly.
May be as a company, it may be difficult for Tesco to be more considerate of all these matters speailly in this conmpetitive businness. However currently Tesco is cutting down our hours and trying to get one person to cover at least three people. On the other hand they employ more people with 2 or 3 hour over time periods.

Anonymous said...

is there any idea when tesco's will be opening, there are lots of people who travel afar to do there shopping.

Anonymous said...

Could some one at Tesco please give the people of Newtown an idea when they will be opening the new store

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Anonymous said...

From TYWYN on the coast, where there is only a lousy and unpricipled Coop - shopping at a Tesco without having to do the massive trip to Shrewsbury is one tick on this family's shopping list.

The other tick would be for a decent road to get in and out the place, i.e. a dual carriageway or Motorway.

Please hurry and open, you lucky people have got an Iceland too!

From Tywyn, where we still prefer to pronounce and spell it: Towyn.

Anonymous said...

I have to start by saying my comments are not related to the Tesco project but to the person that commented on the trouble disabled people have parking in supermarket car parks. Disabled badges are in my view being given out far too easily just like the benefits. Real disabled people are not able to get access to the parking because of these perfectly capable and able people who have acquired a disabled badge because it is so easy. I watch with interest and frustration as Mr & Mrs jump out of their car with the grandchildren, run after them without a hint of any problem.
I saw one last week at a golf club a guy and his lady pulled up in the single disabled spot pulled out their golf gear and walked off for a round with no hint of a problem. The badge clearly on display.
I am not disabled thankfully but it is about time these cheaters are exposed as the con people they are. They are stealing from the disabled people and they should be ashamed.

Say YES said...

At long last Tesco in Newtown is OPEN, thank you!

This is a Public Service and the petit bourgeois glory seekers that hold office and work so hard to prevent public services like this should be removed - don't vote, they're all the same, be sure to have them shunned, ostracised at every opportunity and removed.

That Tesco and other public services are not in public control is a separate issue, and that they are not controlled by the anti-people state is a positive thing. That the state needs to be in the hands of the people will, one day, alter things for everybody's good, excepting the small number of fiefdom-seekers.

Let's get shopping - and let's plan for a bigger Tesco soon as this one's just not big enough with its range rationalised.