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News from Chorlton: Cosgrove closes, Tesco arrives

Confidential’s Sleuth has a quick look at two entirely unrelated events

Published on January 23rd 2009.

News from Chorlton: Cosgrove closes, Tesco arrives

Cosgrove Hall is having a closing party tonight hears Sleuth. This is the Manchester centre of animation excellence, based in Chorlton, that made its name with Dangermouse. Another success was Count Duckula which – very Chorlton – had a vegetarian vampire. All gone now: another victim of the bloody recession.

But Chorlton can rest easy. As Cosgrove Hall closes the much yearned for Tesco Express has started to arrive close by. Tesco is something the suburb really wants. Another cultural asset, like Cosgrove.

Of course, Sleuth’s joshing, many in Chorlton can’t stand Tesco. Ideologically that is. In fact they detest, hate and despise the company.

Others will welcome the invasion of this major retailer, even in this modest capacity. They'll say Tesco is convenient, stays open late and provides a good service. Sleuth anticipates several dinner party spats.

Curiously the new store fell off the back of a lorry. Or rather it arrived on Tuesday, on six lorries, complete with freezers and tills, and was hoisted into position by a 140ft crane. Arc lights more powerful than Old Trafford on a match night have been trained on the site from 7am. The shop opens next month.

The whole process makes Sleuth wonder whether Tesco has a whole Lincolnshire field full of Tesco Expresses all ready to be slotted into any High Street on demand. Modular Tesco has arrived.

The pictures on this page were taken from the Barbakan, the best deli in the North West, and 45 years old next week. The Barbakan is exactly the sort of place, Sleuth reckons, that makes Chorlton’s individuality worth preserving. Not that this small Tesco probably threatens that too much. Still that won't stop lots of residents arguing that the giant superstore’s victory was symbolically a defeat for their suburban distinctiveness. The thin end of a much larger wedge perhaps.

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36 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Paul JohnsonJanuary 23rd 2009.

We are in a recession - we could be waiting years!

Chris BJanuary 23rd 2009.

Levenshulme recently 'got' a Tesco. Hmmm. Where do i go cos i'm guilty of 'using' it. I have tried to stay local etc but if i'm honest.. whne you need feta at 9pm it's kinda ... there! I class myself as one of the aware ones too. Trust me. It will diminish Chorlton. It's like inviting Man City fans to a free season ticket at Man utd. They'll go but probably won't admit it. You have to be stern to be true... I mean really stern. I go to the local butcher etc but i am slightly weakened by the 'offers' etc at Tesco. I'm only being honest. However, i know that only people like me(and you) can refuse or accept such a f''king ridiculous mass walkover of communities (guily - hands up). I'd rather see people running little delis, butchers and bakeries.......... Can we turn it around?? When Chorlton 'gets' a Tesco i feel all is doomed. Levenshulme is equidistant between Manchester (euro cosmo city?) and Stockport (most affluent borough??).. Why does it feel so retarded? Could be full of delis, bars, bakeries, butchers and cafes etc but people drive thru cos they have Tesco Express in Deansgate/Alderley Edge. It's echoed around the city. Like Dumbo, we need to grow up and lose the crutch if we're to see our children having no choice WHATSOEVER. Historically we're all weak and will all have Vectra, buy leeks at Tesco and still be ranting!! Think about this next time you have your dry-cleaning at the same place you buy petrol and valentines cards!! After writing this i vow to not return... Ever!

GTJanuary 23rd 2009.

Anonymous, if you find the anti-tesco stance wrong, you obviously haven't been reading the above comments carefully. In the case of the proposed Tesco in Whalley Range, I must add that it is smack in the middle of the Whalley Range Conservation Area, an area which has been predominantly residential and tea-total since the mid-19th century. The proposed Tesco store does not draw adequate strength from the key characteristics of the Conservation Area and its immediate environs and is considered incompatible with its context in terms of use and design. So much for heritage policies which are designed to protect Conservation Areas from unlawful development.

leejJanuary 23rd 2009.

Jon Pickstone.Aha, I see, thank you for the explanation. Regardless of whether one supports the new store opening or not, I must say that it is refreshing to see a viewpoint based on economic reasoning rather than just judging a company on like or dislike, whether its big, whether its American etc. I can't help but to wonder if we’d see the same amount of opposition if the store in question was an M&S, Waitrose, Booths, or even an Aldi..

Dave, ChorltonJanuary 23rd 2009.

Don't think it'll make much odds, in the particular case of Chorlton. People come into Chorlton from far around to shop at Barbikan, Unicorn, the fishmonger etc. I shop in those places because of the variety and uniqueness of their products, and the corner grocery next to Barbikan always has good staples at very reasonable prices. Tesco can afford to (and no doubt will) undercut them to try to put them out of business (only to put the prices up again) but I think they'll only get the passing trade down the busy Manchester Rd and the post-7pm pint of milk shoppers who would otherwise go to Morrisons. The locals will stay loyal to the local shops, and use them when they can, I'm sure of that.

GTJanuary 23rd 2009.

Anonymous, I live in Whalley Range too, and the key assets of the suburb is that it is leafy, quiet and traditionally Victorian. I am fully aware of the 1960-70's monstrosities alongside Withington Road. Intrusions to the special interest of the Conservation Area includes such built forms that are considered incongruous with the predominant built forms in the area. MCC's Unitary Development Plan clearly states that new development should seek to preserve and enhance the setting of Conservation Areas by appropriate control over the design of new development in their vicinity. The new tesco store does not satisfy the above objective, and using the existing negative intrusions as an excuse does not justify further development of an equally intrusive nature. It is interesting to note that the Council has previously rejected applications for new residential developments that were, quite frankly, more "in keeping" with the character of the area than the new Tesco store.

Jon PickstoneJanuary 23rd 2009.

Whalleystrange, I used to work as a retail planner/economist and I assure you that there is very little evidence that Tesco creates net additional jobs through its domestic supermarket network. It may move jobs geographically, but it does not create them. If Tesco did not exist, we would buy our produce elsewhere, and other chains or individual stores would host those jobs. The only jobs Tesco really adds to the economy are those based in the UK, but involved in supplying or supervising their foreign operations. There is of course some case that without achieving a critical mass in their domestic operations, Tesco would not have these foreign operations, but such matters are complicated, as are the effects on UK suppliers of Tesco's domestic purchases and imports.

jean de baptisteJanuary 23rd 2009.

Tesco are merely the symptom of the cause: namely that people cant afford the inflated prices of greedy little shop keepers with their tax-dodging prowess. Tesco will provide choice to the masses at a low price. Only difference between Tesco and the Co-Op is that normally local councillors have lots of shares in the Co-Op. 'Nuff said.

Anti-Tescorruption of ChollersJanuary 23rd 2009.

The centre of Chorlton boasts: 3 butchers, 4 green grocers, a fishmonger, 3 bakeries, 2 florists, 1 organic shop...we are clearly a community that supports small independent businesses.While the new mini-Tesco might be a handy place to nip out for a late-night pint of milk or a 6-pack of beer, I am confident that most Chorltonites and Whalley Rangers will continue to shop at their local independent shops and will not provide enough demand from this Tesco to make it worth providing a supply.Let us maintain some cultural integrity in our small town. This may be just one Tesco, but it represents the beginnings of a slippery slope; the UK has become one big generic high street of plastic signs and same old brand names wherever one goes. Remember that it is the small local businesses that help to define the atmosphere and spirit of a community. If you don't approve of Tesco, simply show how you feel by not shopping there.

Jon PickstoneJanuary 23rd 2009.

In response to 'anonymous's' notion that Tesco (or other multiples) succeed through people choosing to shop there, please consider the following hypothetical example. Imagine a local centre with no chains, where all the shopping expenditure is spent in locally owned shops. A chain supermarket opens, taking only 30% of the trade (people on whole still choose to do the majority of their shopping at the locally-owned shops). But a 30% drop is revenue is enough to make some of the local shops unprofitable, and they then close, thereby reducing the quality of the local parade's combined offer. With less competition, the supermarket is now taking say 50% of the local spend, forcing other shops to close. In time, this market share will grow, and with a few exceptions, shoppers will be forced to shop at the supermarket, despite them preferring the local shops.

OBURGERJanuary 23rd 2009.

You can all welcome the arrival of Tesco in Chorlton, but don't start wailing for Polish sausage and a wider selection of non-Tesco food when the shops around it start folding. Unicorn may not be the friendliest shop in the world, but at least it gives a crap. I'm from a place where a Tesco flattened the whole town, and Chorlton is no exception to the Tescovator. Plus it's going be even harder to cross that road with extra waves of 4x4's in their quest for cheap baked beans!

KodiJanuary 23rd 2009.

It's a little-known fact that the small Tesco Metro stores charge considerably more for their produce than the main Tesco branches. It's also a challenge to find their own brand value items in the small outlets of the chain. Out of necessity, I used to go to the Tesco Metro store next to St. Mary's Hospital occasionally, to buy catering supplies for office meetings, and found it horrendously more expensive than other supermarkets, so I was pleased when Lidl opened up next door.Chorlton already has a huge Morrisons, a Somerfield, and two co-ops, which can all cater more than adequately for the provision of any items which can't be purchased from the wealth of small local independent traders. We certainly don't need an over-priced clone store. That said, BECAUSE of all the other options, those of us who don't wish to shop in Tesco can simply avoid the place, and continue as before; making use of the excellent and varied retail options we already have. There's no need for heavy-handed opposition tactics like vandalism of the site: that just makes Chorltonians look like anarchistic irrational grumpy hippies. Most of us are in fact pretty well-mannered, and whilst we do definitely object to having a soul-less chain store foisted on us, I think we're mature enough to say, "ah well, we voiced our opposition democratically, were sadly over-ruled, so we'll just exercise our democratic right not to shop there." Simple.

eeyyaar yoJanuary 23rd 2009.

"Sleuth anticipates several dinner party spats."I predict there will be claret everywhere at said spats.

WhalleystrangeJanuary 23rd 2009.

If you don't like Tesco - don't shop there. Simple as.There are a lot of "olive ciabatta socialists" in Chorlton who'll short-sightedly fail to recognize that the arrival of Tesco creates a couple of dozen new jobs at a time when thousands of people are losing theirs (opportunities for the people who lost their jobs at Woolworths, for example).Furthermore, the new Tesco has only replaced a ratty old petrol station notorious for adding to the traffic logjam that occurs regularly at the junction of Egerton road and Manchester Road. It's not like they've built it on the site of a picturesque memorial garden.

RGKJanuary 23rd 2009.

Great that they are creating jobs eh, that way all the folk who's small businesses fail on the back of people lazily using Tesco instead can be grateful they can go to work in TescoLand for not much more than mimimum wage. How super for the local economy!For every £1 spent in local independent shops around 75p is redistributed in the local economy. For every £1 spent in Tesco it is around 30p.I am not a whinging hippy Tesco hater, I actually know from my work the extent of 'good' things the company does in terms of CSR, and they are not nearly as bad as soe woudl make out. Thei environemtal practice is fairly good but their supply chain management and planing aplications are bad and utilise complete bully tactics. I don't think it is necesasry in an area with the range of businesses Chorlton has and am appalled at Tescos continuing bully tactics to sidestep planning processes.I do not want to live in a chain world.

A RealistJanuary 23rd 2009.

Shame about Cosgrove Hall, I had been inside there a few times for meetings and it was a nice place, but with people like the guy behind Bob The Builder setting up his own studio then what can you do.

OBURGERJanuary 23rd 2009.

You can all welcome the arrival of Tesco in Chorlton, but don't start wailing for Polish sausage and a wider selection of non-Tesco food when the shops around it start folding. Unicorn may not be the friendliest shop in the world, but at least it gives a crap. I'm from a place where a Tesco flattened the whole town, and Chorlton is no exception to the Tescovator. Plus it's going be even harder to cross that road with extra waves of 4x4's in their quest for cheap baked beans!

Jon PickstoneJanuary 23rd 2009.

Leej, I could indeed have explained this point more precisely. It is that: once some local shops close, their collective offer becomes less attractive, facilitating the supermarket to increase its market share, not only by having wholly taken the business of the closed outlets, but also by further removing trade from the remaining local shops. The principle of the "linked-trip" is important here. Let’s suppose that in a single trip many shoppers visit the only butcher's and baker's in a local centre (and that no other local centre provides a reasonable alternative destination). The supermarket then opens, reducing the revenue at both these local shops. This fall in profits causes the bakery to close, but not the butcher's. However, as a direct consequence of shoppers now having to buy their baked goods at the supermarket, the amount of meat sold by the supermarket grows. This is likely because 1) many of the butcher’s customers may now visit the supermarket more often as they are buying their bread there too; and 2) some shoppers, for whom the combined offer of the baker’s and the butcher’s was once enough to draw them to the local parade, now won’t bother if only the butcher’s remains. They will now do all their shopping at the supermarket. Faced with this further reduction in revenue, the butcher’s shop may well now close too.

esquiloJanuary 23rd 2009.

A Tesco Express is hardly going to cause traffic havoc in Chorlton, they are relatively small convenience stores. I hope the trustafarians and part-time ecowarriors do boycott it. It might make a pleasant chnge for some Chorltonians to be able to buy groceries without being surrounded by the smell of wet dog and muesli.

notanothertescoJanuary 23rd 2009.

shurely we dont need another tesco. theres one in whalley range being built opposite 1 local fruit and veg shop and another 2 convienience stores probably seriously affecting them on issues of competition against small businesses. from where i live there will be 3 tescos in about a miles radius. and they are not actually cheap.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

I agree on your comment about the irrationality of the Tesco-hate group.The new Tesco in Whalley Range is 3 weeks away and will significantly improve the shopping facillities. The anti Tesco brigade have campaigned against this without thinking about what is beneficial for the area and what is right for the local people. Over half the people want the Tesco including the old without cars. The anti Tesco hate group most recent action has been to graffiti the development site with swear words - this is hardly in the interests of the local area.

GTJanuary 23rd 2009.

"Tesco is something the suburb really wants..." Are you kidding me? The particular Tesco was blatantly unwanted by the majority of local residents for a number of reasons. Firstly, it will undermine the nearby small local businesses and will have a negative impact on the prevailing local diversity that characterises Chorlton; secondly, it is an unecessary venture, as the area is already served by the above businesses and a large Morrisons; thirdly, it will create havoc traffic-wise, and Manchester Road gets awfully congested, especially at peak times. Despite MCC's decision to reject the planning application, Tesco appealed to the Planning Inspectorate at national level, ignoring all local opposition. And this is what we call democracy! Disgusting, indeed.

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

If it means that in 6 months time a suitable use is found, then yes

James CrawfordJanuary 23rd 2009.

I don't like Tesco. Vile little store. I won't shop there either. Surely it would be better in Didsbury to go with its clown town retail outlets?

"we"January 23rd 2009.

can Chorltonites stop saying 'we' please, you don't speak for the entire Chorlton population.I live in Chorlton. The way I see it, if 'Chorlton' doesn't want a Tesco, then people don't shop there, it doesn't turn a big enough profit, closes and moves away.If people do shop there, then clearly there was a demand and anyone saying "we don't want a Tesco" was wrong.Regarding small, independent shops like Barbican. It is worth remembering that Tesco was once a small grocery store. It's like it was born a massive chain, it grew. The only way Barbican et al will go out of business is if the regulars CHOOSE to use Tesco. But it will be those same regulars who moan when/if it goes under. Nobody owes anybody a living.Issues like this remind why sometimes I hate Chorlton. It's nice and everything, but full of arrogant idiots who think they speak on behalf of everyone.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

eddy rhead: People chose where to shop - the nail in the coffin of Eccles will not be another large chain store, it'll be the residents that chose convenience over local suppliers. I onder if you shop at the Morrison's or make the extra effort to avoid it and keep to local stores instead?

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

eeyyaar yo wrote..“ "Sleuth anticipates several dinner party spats." I predict there will be claret everywhere at said spats.” no surely Savingon Blanc bought by the case from Oddbins, with beer for the lads from the Belgian Belly. and seabass from the fishmonger, veg from Unicorn.

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

I totally agree with you GT, this development is not going to enhance the Conservation Area at all and using the flimsy argument (which I may add, developers always use to justify themselves)that there are already places that degrade the area, just doesn’t wash, there is a reason the area has Conservation Area status and those reasons must be upheld so that every part of our towns and villages do not end up looking the exact same as each every other in our fair land! Whalley Range was a planned suburb, predominantly of Mid Victorian grand Villas, stone boundary walls with lots of hedges and tree lined streets, small independent shops and a "village feel", those are the reasons the area is a Conservation Area, I do not believe for one minute that the area will collapse in on itself if it doesn’t get a Tesco, I mean for gods sake you walk down any road and you pass 3 or 4 of them at any given time, this shouldn’t be inflicted on our vulnerable villages and suburbs and as a president for future development -what do you think people go to the area for?? its for the qualities that make it unique.

eddy rheadJanuary 23rd 2009.

@anon: if you read what i said - i dont really have a problem with supermarkets - i have a problem with a planning system that is doing nothing to help small town centres. I understand market forces and the right of the consumer to choose where they shop but local planners have the power to 'guide' both retailers into locations that either benefit the community or destroy it. A more acceptable solution would be put the Tesco slap bang in the middle of Eccles town centre so shoppers have at least pass smaller shops on their way in - whereas all that is going to happen now is that shoppers will drive to Tesco avoiding Eccles altogether. This type of 'edge of town' development is a way round the legislation that restricts the previous vogue for 'out of town' meglomarts but is no way less harmful. They are still car dependent and still suck the life out of nearby retailers. Large supermarkets can co-habit with smaller shops but only if they are positioned correctly - a job for planners (which was my original argument)

RGKJanuary 23rd 2009.

jean de baptiste - nonsense. No-one holds shares in the Co-op, that is the whole basis of a co-operative business, it is not a plc.The Co-op is a much preferable option as it is not run for the profit of shareholders and with its ethical policies seeks to improve the enivironmental and social impacts of retail trade.

leejJanuary 23rd 2009.

Jon Pickstone - Thanks for the explanation, the first part makes sense and I can now see how losing just a proportion of trade could force the closure of a store. However please could you provide further clarification on your point, “with less competition, the supermarket is now taking say 50%; of the local spend, forcing other shops to close”.In your hypothetical example, surely the increase of share to from 30% to 50% is a reflection of the reduction in the market. Even if the market spend level is maintained, and rather than being allocated across the total remaining market, all of the lost trade is apportioned to Tesco resulting in a 50% share, how does this “force other shops to close” when in real terms their £ income has not been affected by Tesco’s increase in share from 30% to 50%?I’m sure you’re correct, I’d just like to understand the economics behind it all a little better..

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

GT, we need some commercial realism here. None of the shops in Whalley Range consider the key characteristics of the conservation area as they do not have the funds to do so. Tesco are investing time and money to renovate the premises that they have taken over and these shop units already look considerably better than they have done for years. I live in Whalley Range and walk past the shops every day - alotof them are scruffy and run down and none of them demonstrate the mid19th century character of the area. I would be interested to hear which shop that you were thinking of? You refer to Whalley Range being tea-total but we already have 3 stores in the area selling alcohol so you can hardly acuse Tesco of breaking that tradition. It seems to me that that some people will blame everything on Tesco regardless

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

This anti-tesco stance is wrong and dangerous in the current economic client.Tesco in whalley range will employ more people in whalley range than the smaller stores who limit their employment to relatives and close friends.The 2 convenience stores referred to in previous comments are scruffy and sell cheaper import versions of known brands. The 2 off licences sell cheap booze with scruffy adverts for cheap alchohol deals targetted at the alchoholics hanging out on street corners.Tesco have been doing an extensive refurbishment both inside and out that will have a positive impact on the area.If the obsessive anti tesco campaigners actually spent more time on the streets understanding our local community and talking to local people who want the store then perhaps they would stop their ridiculous stance.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

So instead you would have an empty set of shops that would degenerate as time passes

eddy rheadJanuary 23rd 2009.

News reaches us that West One - a woeful 'retail park' on the edge of Eccles - a place which has played a small but significant part in poor old Eccles' long term decline is to be replaced by a Tesco Extra. It is approx 200 yards from a large Morrisons (another culprit in the 'Who Killed Eccles' trial) and will not only nail the coffin in this once proud town but bury it in the ground, cover it in earth and dance a little jig on its grave. One shouldnt really blame Tesco (or Morrisons for that matter) for any crime however - the blame lies at the door and on the desks of Salford's 'planners'. 'Planners' who's only successes seem to be reaching high levels of mind boggling ineptitude and a steely determination to finish off Salford for good.

Burt CodeineJanuary 23rd 2009.

A little Tesco in Chorlton I can cope with, but Cosgrove Hall's demise is a little harder to take. If I'm passing through Chorlton, I like giving a guided tour of the history condensed into this slice of 'suburbhemia': home of a few Manchester bands & Artists, birthplace of the Bee Gees on Keppel Road; Unicorn and Barbakan; fine & fruity folk bar; Quentin Crisps place of death; and the stable that provided our childhood brains with Dangermouse, Chorlton and the Wheelies, Count Duckula, Jamie and the Magic Torch...I have a few tears knocking on my eye ducts today.

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