The Tesco Saga: Part 2

The intentions of the 50 odd people who squeezed into Walnut last night were noble but, unfortunately, I fear that the whole endeavour will ultimately prove fruitless.

The general feeling was one of not wanting Tesco to set up a new store in Fortune Green at all. However, the new development (by the cemetery, where the pub, car dealership and garage used to be) has been granted an A1 retail space as part of its planning permission application. It turns out that no-one can do anything about what business then sets up in that retail space. So if you don’t want a Tesco, unlucky.

Discussion then moved onto whether the supermarket could at least be denied a liquor licence. But due to the proximity of other local stores (like Atlanta on West End Lane), which have such a licence, this too seemed unlikely.

As for calls by campaigners  to impose larger fines on the Tesco delivery lorries that repeatedly flout parking regulations across the area – not going to happen. It was explained by Flick Rea, who has been a local councillor for longer than I have been alive, that complex changes to legislation have to take place before such altered penalty fines can be imposed.

The mob assembled

Right, so we can’t stop a Tesco from opening in Fortune Green, and we can’t punish the retail giant for troublesome delivery antics.  So, if you really want Tesco to leave your high street, as Flick Rea put it, “the best thing we can all do is not shop there.”

So what was the point of the meeting, which took up a valuable hour of our meaningless busy lives? Well, some good did come of it. The Walnut’s husband and wife team of Aidan and Jo proposed a West Hampstead loyalty card scheme, which would encourage residents to shop at small, local businesses. Also, the whole grass roots politics malarkey filled me with a warm, fuzzy feeling of community spirit. Finally, and most importantly, it allowed me to take the following picture on the way home. I mean, Christmas is big business, but Rudolph needs a hobby for the other 364 days in the year…

Rudolph the red-nosed Tory



Filed under Politics, innit

5 responses to “The Tesco Saga: Part 2

  1. Marcia MacLeod

    I have not set foot in the Tesco on West End Lane and would not do so if it was the last shop in West Hampstead. Nor will I set foot in Tesco on Fortune Green Road. Flick is right: vote with our feet and our pockets. If it doesn’t make money, it will close down.

  2. Nick

    Marcia – unfortunately you need to get the majority to vote with their feet/pockets. Have you noticed how many people use the Tesco on WEL? It’s always busy – no matter what time I’ve been in.
    People moving into the flats – will undoutebly want to use the Tesco – not to mention a large population surrounding it.
    So what to do? You’d have to get your message out to everyone and convince them not to shop there. Easier said than done. A Tesco took over from a closed down video shop in Amersham in direct competition to a corner shop next door. 4 months later; corner shop has had to close down due to ALL their customer base moving to the Tesco for cheaper goods, despite a massive local protest. So I would love to say it [voting with your feet] works, but the cynic in me says it will never happen in an economic environment driven by cost.


    I am sick and tired of reading this nonsense. Why are you all so against a reputable supermarket coming to Fortune Green? All the Fortune Green residents (myself included) want a supermarket there. Of course we’d all prefer a Waitrose or Marks & Spencer, but this is a step in the right direction. It will benefit the area enormously. Convenience, quality of produce, price and a much needed ATM machine are all welcome. I suspect everyone who’s been protesting will shop there at some point and when you do it will be the height of hypocrisy.

  4. Bina

    I live on the shores of Fortune Green. At first I was horrified to see Tesco had set up shop. On reflection however I decided to think about the needs of others. If I had a family and was on a limited budget, didn’t drive and the kids had to tag along on shopping excursions, Tesco on FG would be ideal. You could even leave the kids playing on the Green (with an adult of course) while you pop in to do a bit of shopping. There are a few disabled and elderly folk on the shores here who will also benefit from not having to go very far to shop. I of course feel very sorry for our local convenience store, which I predict will cease to trade soon. It has served us well over the years but is a little cramped, especially for people with pushchairs or wheelchairs. Their stock is also very limited and slightly more expensive than the supermarkets. I think we have to look at the bigger picture and take into consideration the needs of all, instead of just focusing on our individual needs.

  5. Norma

    There is a local card system that I would say we should bring in across shops in West Hampstead, however sadly most of our local shops have already vanished. The fish shop, the butcher, the hardware store and other local shops that made West End Lane feel like a local High Street. None the less perhaps to protect the remaining shops, restaurants and cafes before the whole world is run by Tesco Metro…

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