TESCO has put forward plans to build a new convenience store on the land between Springvale Road and Commonside. A similar proposal for the same site has already been rejected once. There are currently numerous objections fi led by the local council, as well as petitions organised byconcerned residents.
The area between Walkley and Crookes (where the site rests) is somewhat unique for Sheffield – representing one of few areas as of yet untouched by the business of large corporations. The proposed development not only represents a threat to local business and an increased risk of traffic congestion but also threatens the unique character of this Sheffi eld suburb. Corporations like TESCO, ASDA and the other superstore giants do not care for social diversity, for community concerns or our local issues. They have one priority and one priority only – profit. Areas like Walkley and Crookes are simply swallowed up and transformed into clones of other British high streets before them – no choice, no diversity.
No Social Responibility.They also seriously threaten basic social amenities that are essential to any neighbourhood. In October 2002,TESCO bought 870 One Stop, Day & Night or Dillons shops across the UK, almost 1/2 of which contained a sub post office. TESCO is now busily converting these shops into TESCO Express, closing 100 post offi ces, often in the smallest communities, in the process. When
TESCO has attempted to branch out into community programmes it has proved deeply demeaning to the enduring efforts of well-meaning volunteers. “Community sponsorship” is a much needed luxury for cashstarved charities and enterprises.
However, it is always accompanied by the mandatory corporate stamp and logo. The most well-intentioned of projects are automatically opportunity for another PR exercise for the superstore giant. Bad for the environment. TESCO’s is not a responsible or ethical employer. It has repeatedly been exposed for its poor environmental record and its stores (in a study by Sheffi eld Hallam University) were found to be the most energy-ineffi cient in the sector. This is despite repeated claims by TESCO management that they are a “green” company. In fact, it would take more than 60 corner shops and greengrocers to match the carbon dioxide emissions from one average sized superstore. Bad for workers. Worldwide TESCO does not respect the right of workers to a fair wage, to decent working hours or a right to organize.
For example, in Turkey TESCO has had a history of engaging in union-busting campaigns. Pressure is put on union members to resign in the hopes that the company can push representation below fifty per cent and thus ignore worker representation rights. Even as union membership has grown well beyond the half-way level TESCO still contests recognition and refuses to meet with union leaders. In the UK, the major food retailers can exert undue pressure on suppliers causing job losses in food processing companies that simply cannot produce goods at the prices TESCO and their competitors wish to pay. In Chard in March 2006 local GMB activists organised a demonstration outside TESCO when the company pulling a contract from a local employer resulted in 850 job losses in the South West, and 500 in Chard alone. Time to make a difference. Plans to build a convenience store in your neighbourhood may seem trivial at first (and this is exactly how companies like TESCO want it to appear). But the issues exposed have the potential to seriously impair community life. Corporations like TESCO thrive on indifference and apathy towards their policies. So, let’s force on them the accountability and the scrutiny they deserve. Let us defend what we have here and not allow Walkley to become yet another bland outlet, a clone high street in “superstore Britain”.
5 things you ought to know about Tesco superstore:
1. TESCO does not provide good jobs for local people. TESCO supermarket jobs are low paying, have long hours and shop stewards have reported trouble in getting workers on to company pensions schemes. TESCO has categorically stated for past Sheffield developments that it does not intend to hire its “high skilled” (and higher paying) labour from the local area.
2. TESCO is bad for the environment. TESCO transports millions of tonnes of produce around the world, contributing to climate change through transport emissions. A 2005 Friends of the Earth survey found that TESCO came lowest out of the supermarket chains for sourcing British apples. TESCO stores are also the most environmentally inefficient in the sector.
3. TESCO exploits workers worldwide. Women in Bangladesh making clothes for TESCO and ASDA earn as little as 5p an hour working 14 hours a day. Workers in Costa Rica producing bananas for export to all major UK supermarkets earn 33p an hour – a wage so low that they cannot afford to take an hour off when dangerous pesticides are being sprayed on the crops. There are countless other examples of TESCO’s negligence towards its workers poverty wages, poor working conditions and supplier’s union-busting campaigns.
4. TESCO kills community life. Despite its commitment towards “community sponsorship”, TESCO has a poor record working with communities. TESCO creates neither choice nor convenience. It removes the diversity of social life outside the superstore and clutters the streets with waste and traffi c. The corporation uses its disproportionate (and unchecked) economic power to manipulate political influence and regional control to its own shareholders ends.
5. TESCO already has five other stores within walking distance – West Street, Infi rmary Road, Fulwood Road, Southey and Ecclesall (not to mention other companies supermarkets – 20 within a two mile radius!). This is not about free enterprise; this is about TESCO securing its strangle-hold on the market place.
What can you do?
WRITE A LETTER OF OBJECTION TO THE PLANNING OFFICER. The official closing date for objections is Wednesday April 15th. Letters or e-mails of objection, including full name and address, can be
emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Bob Turner, Planning Department, Development Control, 5th Floor, Howden House,1 Union Street, Sheffield.
The reference number is: 09/00745/FUL
– SPREAD THE WORD. Community campaigns are only as strong as the people involved in them.
– DIRECT ACTION GETS THE GOODS. TESCO normally has such a high success rate with these planning applications because the alternative is a derelict site falling into disrepair. This does not have to be the case. Initiatives such as the Common Ground Community Garden in Reading have proven hugely successful in bringing people together behind a common goal and creating something of real value to the area. This may seem an impossible task but it doesn’t in fact take much to have an impact – a few garden tools, some eager hands and a bit of organisation. We don’t have to wait for the council to render a decision – let’s take the decision ourselves now!!
RESIDENTS of the Parkhead area of Sheffield are keeping up the pressure on the council to reject plans for a Tesco Express store. A petition with 1,800 names was submitted to the Town Hall on the 24 October 2008 , objecting to an application to redevelop the site of the old Parkhead garage in Ecclesall Road South.
The latest plans for TESCO‘s mixed-use development at the corner of Spital Hill and Savile Street have been submitted to the Council’s planning board following amendments to their design. The proposals include a 10,000 square metre supermarket, four storey offices, a car park and several ‘neighbourhood retail units’. This will create an unbroken commercial development that will wrap around the old Hartwells site and up Spital Hill, finishing at a new public space below the East House pub. It is hoped the new store will provide several hundred new jobs with 200 of these earmarked for the long-term unemployed.
TESCO‘s architects have re-drafted their initial plans after officials expressed concern that the designs lacked integration with the existing buildings, particularly the historic Wicker Arches. Although many residents are in favour of the new store, objections have been raised against the planned closing-off of Carlisle Street which some residents have said will increase their journey times and effect local buses. Tesco believes this measure will improve access to the supermarket entrance. If the Council gives its approval, the store could open at the end of 2010.
Comments can be made on the proposals until 4th June, either by writing to:
Development Services, Howden House, 1 Union Street, Sheffield, S1 2SH and quoting the reference number: 09/00523/FUL
RESIDENTS in a Sheffield suburb have condemned supermarket giant Tesco for ruining their quality of life with disruptive delivery lorries. People living near the Tesco Express store on Abbeydale Road South at Totley Rise say the store has blighted their life with huge, noisy lorries often clogging up local streets.It comes as councillors at Sheffield Council agreed to allow the store to receive deliveries on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Under the terms of the store’s original planning consent deliveries on Sundays and Bank Holiday were prohibited – to allow locals to have some peace and quiet. But the store argued it had to have deliveries on these days too to keep it well stocked. The move was opposed by Sheffield Hallam MP and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, a 173-name petition and the council received 55 letters of objection. Brian Stubbs, aged 61, of Devonshire Road, who lives around the corner from the store, told the meeting: “Tesco seems to be like a magnet. It is almost like they are giving food away free. People come from all around.”Planning officer Chris Heeley said the suggested changes were a “reasonable compromise”. But the meeting’s chairman suggested amending the proposed changes to 10.30am to 6.30pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays, with Monday to Saturday deliveries as originally proposed, and the suggestion was carried.
Mr Stubbs condemned the decision and said: “Who will police this? Tesco just do what they like.”It is not just about the noise of deliveries, it is about parking. People park on double yellow lines, on verges, but when the big delivery lorries are there it is just much, much worse.”Neighbour Ian Cockburn, 60, also of Devonshire Road, added: “Tesco has dramatically altered our quality of life. It’s pathetic.”