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?