Chorlton should say yes to Tesco

Local shops, backed by the Lib Dems and Cllr Sheila Newman have won the first round of a campaign to stop Tesco converting a run down Esso garage into a Tesco Express. Given that Esso has, say Greenpeace, ‘done more than any other company to stop the world from tackling climate change’, it’s hard to see why anybody should be sorry to see them leave Chorlton. And when they go they’ll leave a dirty eyesore of a site that may take years to find a developer. A former Texaco on the other side of the Chorlton was left derilict for several years before a developer took it on.

In contrast, the arguments against a Tesco are unsustainable. An Express would not be a full size supermarket and would be dwarfed by Chorlton’s Morrison’s. It would compete with Somerfield and the tatty discount supermarkets in the precinct.

The likes of Barbakan, which lays claims to being the UK’s best baker, do themselves no favours when they claim consumers would prefer to shop at a Tesco on the other side of the street. The independent Unicorn Grocery is leading the charge. Figures on their website reveal that the Tesco Express would be less than a third of the size of Unicorn. Yet, like Barbakan, they are convinced that, given the choice, shoppers will pick the smaller store.

Chorlton’s independent traders have done an incredible job of making the village special and it’s amazing that they fail to recognise that they offer unique shopping experiences with which Tesco Express simply doesn’t compete; do Barbakan really belive their customers would prefer Tesco bread?

11 thoughts on “Chorlton should say yes to Tesco

  1. Absolutely right. Tesco is no competition whatsoever for these traders. It is unionised and safe and quality controlled.

    This is an anti-capitalism campaign not a real planning issue … but it is led by small scale capitalists seeking protection for their growing businesses and by out of area anti-Tesco mafias who do not oppose other brands even slightly in the same or worse contexts.

    The Somerfield on Princess Road – no protests though an accident hot spot for the last 20 years, even with a crossing. The Co-Op on Hardy Lane – another accident hot spot. No protests.

    Local councillors do end up with a problem on all these NIMBY and third party campaign things. They don’t want to be the ones to shoot Bambi. They don’t want to lose 50 votes in a marginal. But what they can’t see – and no party has done the work – is that 100s of people would applaud them if they showed leadership.

    If Tesco deals with the traffic issue and any other bona fide planning issue they should be allowed to build the shop. I for one might use it over some of the low quality, non-unionised alternatives in the area.

    As they won’t be selling craft baking, exotic olives or soya milk they will not deflect me from my shopping at Barbakan and Unicorn.

    And what is more the ESSO is a crap garage (not really open 24/7 incidentally more like 21 or 22/7, a crap shop and bad attitude. And also, er, break it to them gently, a terrible capitalist brand and not a local independent.

  2. What they need for that site is something independantly owned yet not in direct competition with Unicorn or Barbakan. Topless carwash anyone? That’d help to keep Chorlton interesting..

  3. The guys at the carwash round the corner will do topless in the summer. So though this suggestion is admirable it has not taken full cognizance of the local situation. Seriously if the alternative were a quality independent bookshop and record shop or a clothes and etc etc indoor market cf Afflecks or blah de blah then yes, support those perhaps.

    But this really is a hidden agenda adopting a NIMBY pose. Not pretty.

  4. i’m revising my opinion. Of course Tesco will compete with Barbakan and Unicorn, that’s what they do.The penny dropped when i saw the west indian food selection in the tesco metro in whalley range.You might say that they are merely responding to customer demand – i say they are undercutting the idiosyncratic grocers of Ayres road.

  5. Well, the bland and the sad may continue to shop in such places as Tesco, but Unicorn and Barbakan will continue to thrive. Don’t worry. I live in the historic centre of Buenos Aires where we now have a multinational ice cream parlour, coffee shop and McDonalds. Globalisation = homogenisation = death of local services. Maybe Unicorn and like will not be hit (its hardly the same market) but others will. They always are and always will be. Boris Johnston for President!

  6. While Unicorn and the Barbakan would probably not lose any business to a Tesco in the short term, the very presence of Tesco, along with a new Varsity bar, new precinct full of high street shops, the closure of other local shops such as the Khawaja brothers grocers next to the Barbakan etc etc etc would change the character of Chorlton, and after time it is this that would affect the stronger independents.

  7. I think we forget this is would be just a Tesco Express; a large corner shop. We have a larger Somerfield and a much larger Morrissons that nobody’s bothered about.

    The idea that the mere presence of a small Tesco branded outlet would change Chorlton is nonsense.

  8. Perhaps Tesco will have a negative, perhaps it won’t, either way I’m annoyed that the decision can be taken out of our council’s hands. I don’t think London is well placed to decide a planning appeal and overule the local authority.

  9. Here here. look whats happend to burnage. Ask chorlton people if we need another Tesco. see if Tesco want to buy the big pubs, and sell cheap beer good food and let us smoke inside.
    Then that might be a plan to bring our comuinity togeather in this decade. I know some might think the bars are great. But you cant beat a big pub with differnt people from all walks of

  10. To be honest I was under the impression that the garage was going and didn’t realise this is only a forecourt, and so even less of a threat to local businesses.

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