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Tesco wins Chorlton war

Helen Clifton and the battle over whether there should be a Tesco Express in Chorlton

Published on August 8th 2008.


Tesco wins Chorlton war

Even Manchester's most boho district isn't immune to the creeping tentacles of Tesco. Despite massive opposition, Chorlton will be the location for the supermarket giant's latest branch.

It's nuts. As always, the decision has been taken completely out of the hands of elected people and the residents of Manchester. We don't have any appeal process and once this store is there we won't have any say.

After a committed 16-month campaign by local residents, politicians and traders, the national planning inspector, in their wisdom, this week decided to overturn the council's decision to block plans for the store.

Campaigners are understandably hugely disappointed. They achieved an impressive victory by getting the planning committee to turn down the application last November, despite the fact that officers had recommended that the 288-square metre Tesco Express forecourt shop, Esso Garage, and 12-space car park be given the go-ahead.

The shop will become the third Tesco in the area. The company have recently rented out one of four units made available in Whalley Range's now defunct Range Warehouse on Withington Road, and there is also the busy

Tesco Express on Upper Chorlton Road. Esso Alliance, the group behind the application, say their experience shows their stores, "benefit communities".

“It's like an outbreak of smallpox,” says Debbie Ellen, of the Keep Chorlton Interesting campaign.

“It's nuts. As always, the decision has been taken completely out of the hands of elected people and the residents of Manchester. We don't have any appeal process and once this store is there we won't have any say.

“We have always argued that it is a completely inappropriate place for a large convenience store. If you look at what what is there at the moment, it hardly sells anything people would want to buy.

“The size of the store is going to increase three-fold. It is already in a really difficult part of Manchester Road, and with a big Tesco Express in the middle of it, is just going to be a complete nightmare.

“The group needs to decide what the next step is. One suggestion is that local shops will give us their trading figures, just to see what the difference is once the Tesco open. One of the few things we can do is try and strengthen more campaigns in the future.”

The inspector said he did not believe a new Tesco would 'undermine the vitality and viability of Chorlton District Centre'. Maybe so. Perhaps established, specialist traders like the Barbakan and the Unicorn have nothing to fear from a Tesco. Maybe the average Chorlton punter will display a level of loyalty that may shock the supermarket. Then again that may not be the case, and the familiarity of the Tesco brand and its long opening hours will pull people in.

Barbakan owner Stefan Najduch thinks the latter will be the case.

“These Tescos often have bakeries, you see people popping in to get a crossiant for breakfast. We are not that busy at the moment, and that is the first time I have said that in a couple of years. I think it will adversely affect trade.”

Not all concerns revolve around what some may say is an irrational hatred of the brand. Whalley Range councillor John Grant maintains he is not anti-Tesco - he just can't see why the area needs it.

"I just think this will function as an isolated unit. The whole point of a Tesco Express is to get people inside, and I just don't see how its going to work on a street like Manchester Road. I would have been much happier if the petrol pump part of the plan had been decommissioned.”

More generally, Stefan is surprised that the decision has actually gone ahead. His business is located slap bang in the middle of one of Manchester's most thriving independent shopping areas - soon to be right opposite what many belive is a symbol of bland Britain.

"Chorlton is its own community, with its own independent shopping area - and now we have this," he says. "I don't what is going on with planning at the moment. People seem to be able to build whatever they like. It is a real shame.”

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

KMAugust 8th 2008.

I may be really late in noticing this...but I saw today that the Christopher Wray light shop in the NQ is closing down....and Tesco have put in an application for the building.We don't want you Tesco.Surely people can shift their asses to Market St or Piccadilly for their big brand goodies?

TippiAugust 8th 2008.

I am one of the worlds biggest dislikers of Tesco and do not shop there. However, when a Tesco's opens the buying public in the are will make their choice. The soul of any retailer is it;s customers! Caveat emptor.

Not lrohcAugust 8th 2008.

...fake scutty didsbury at best

Paul JohnsonAugust 8th 2008.

Jenny, many Whalley Range residents are looking forward to the local Tesco so that they do not have to get into their car and can then shop locally - that will reduce not increase the traffic.also, what about the older people in the area without a car?

exchorltoniteAugust 8th 2008.

Slightly off topic: I once walked into Unicorn with a Morrison's plastic bag because I needed some parsnips for my Sunday lunch. With the looks I received from disapproving patrons, I thought I was likely to get lynched. I only wanted some bloody parsnips!

Aubrey the StrawberryAugust 8th 2008.

Christ, if its that important move to Old Trafford where all the shops are independent asian groceries and no one can afford to shop at tescos. Its brilliant. You could still pop into Chorlton in your Saab to pick up a bit of proscuttio and some organic rare breed carrots. I dont know what you think you're protecting anyway - Chorlton is ruined already in my opinion. For some reason wealth does not seem appropriate in Manchester. (Look at Disdsbury, for crying out loud.) Strange phenomenon that, could someone explain?

crazybAugust 8th 2008.

I think its scandalous, its the same old story that 'money talks' we don't need a Tesco and we don't want a Tesco. I do use the petrol station but I will try my best to stay faithful to the chorlton independants, but once the battle is a distant memory I may succumb to the convenience of everything under one roof. I for one don't think I should not have to be put in that position and think its a sad day for 'the power of the people', which is obviously non existant in matters that concern them!!!

AnonymousAugust 8th 2008.

Perhaps the Barbakan and Unicorn could start charging prices that many people can afford. I live in Chorlton and I can't afford to shop at those places. They are very expensive and make nice fat profits. I'm surprised the ethnic eco-brigade don't protest about these profits and high prices, but they are just posers really who don't like the riff-raff in their area.The minority of snobs in Chorlton who don't want the Tesco should clear off to somewhere really posh. They should stop pretending they live in some bohemian enclave rather than a city suburb of a mainly working class city. Trouble is they won't clear off. They can't afford to. Chorlton might have expensive house prices by city of Manchester standards, but it is very cheap compared to really posh areas.

Come the revolution...August 8th 2008.

Bloody hell, it's just a shop, a good one at that. You lot need to get a life and take those woolly hats off, you middle class twankers

AnonymousAugust 8th 2008.

I think its a good idea to but a TESCO'S in Chorlton cos its nearly for me and I don't have to travel far out just to get to a TESCO'S supermarket and plus more jobs will come aviable for people who are looking for work like me so yea its a good idea.

OnthefenceAugust 8th 2008.

Might be fanning the flames here but found this very funny piece by Julie Birchill on 'Why I love Tescos' Although I don't agree overall, it's wickedly funny and has some relevant www.guardian.co.uk/…/whyilovetescoOn… the Anti-Tesco's hysteria: "This sort of backward thinking, taken to its logical conclusion, would also see the return of morris dancing, inbreeding and operations without benefit of anaesthetic; no thanks, make mine modern!"

John McrAugust 8th 2008.

I agree no one needs any more tescos BUTJust don't go then? boycott the place and support local shops, will Tesco being there stop you going to the Barbikan?? I should hope not so stick to your guns and just ignore it.

DebsAugust 8th 2008.

In response to some of those wondering what the fuss was about, particularly in response to Keeping up appearances - actually, the main concern for many of us IS Tesco's unethical behaviour (which is worse even than the supermarket average in terms of treating suppliers unfairly, ripping off developing-world workers, etc etc). However these arguments don't win over a planning department, who will only consider 'planning' objections. In fact we were told that any objections made in reference to Tesco's ethics would be discounted. If you'd like to read our case against Tesco and supermarkets in general see the Keep Chorlton Interesting website: http://www.keepchorltoninteresting.org/

Paul JohnsonAugust 8th 2008.

The anti Tesco bandwagon always assume that they are speaking up for all local residents. Many people who find Tesco stores a convenient addition to their busy working lives do not have time to support Tesco (unlike the opposition to Tesco). - so I would challenge their assumption of local opinion not being represented.In Whalley Range, we are having a small Tesco in Withington road.. The Whalley Range forum and anti-Tesco group are incorrectly stating that a majority of local people are against it - yet at a recent local meeting then many people were for it. At the that one old lady walked out in disgust of the anti Tesco sentiment which is not representative of public opinion.How can Tesco be the market leader if public opinion is against them?

exchorltoniteAugust 8th 2008.

Yeah gotta give them props. I no longer live in Manc, but I still rock the pink Unicorn shopping bags when i go shopping. Strongest bags known to man...

AnonymousAugust 8th 2008.

As a Chorlton resident I welcome Tesco. A much bigger threat to the local shops is the new car park charges that heve been introduced at the shopping centre car park.

jkAugust 8th 2008.

Get a grip anti-Tesco whingers.If as you all state the community doesn't want a Tesco, then there will no problem, as when no-one shops there it will soon become unprofitable and will close.Or, you will find that you are in a militant minority who are trying to impose your will on the will of others by shouting loudest and the shop will do well and remain open for some time.

Ted Maul disturbsAugust 8th 2008.

When will tescos occupation of England end ? There are too many Tescos stores and they bully their suppliers and it seems local councils.Don't shop there folks.

AndyAugust 8th 2008.

The Council said no, it was the Planning Inspectorate (nothing to do with the Council) that over ruled this decision

AnonymousAugust 8th 2008.

What is the fuss about? If you don't need a Tesco in Chorlton, don't use it.What a bunch of nimbys these anti-Tesco snobs are. They think they own a whole area just because they've bought a house there! My guess is that the Chorlton Tesco will thrive. Tesco will have done market research to show that enough people will use it to enable it to be profitable, and the tiny minority of people who protest about such things and expect to get their own way will just have to lump it.

Chorlton residentAugust 8th 2008.

Having met the board of Tesco during the course of my work, I found myself opposed to their business model, complete lack of ethics, and downright arrogance.I am very disappointed that Tesco will be coming to Chorlton. Sadly, there are plenty of selfish people in Chorlton, who only think in the short term, who will fill the aisles of Tesco. Yes, it may be more convenient and in some cases cheaper, but shoppers are too sheltered from the consequences of their actions.

colonAugust 8th 2008.

like chorlton is some sort of sacred ground.it needs a napalm strike, not a tesco. that'll teach the pompous, faux (dot com millionaire) hippies.

exchorltoniteAugust 8th 2008.

Mr Johnson - Yes I would encourage everyone to go into Unicorn armed with Tesco bags, just for the crack. I'm joking, of course. I'm all for independents, but seriously people in that shop need to relax themselves!

ScrewTescoAugust 8th 2008.

There's another article about the Tesco in Chorlton hivecentral.ning.com/…/tesco-in-chorlton-pissing-inwhich… I think at leasts takes a stand.

i like tescosAugust 8th 2008.

I totally agree, bit of a storm in a teacup if you ask me!

crazyjohnAugust 8th 2008.

I've never quite liked Chorlton, it just seems like a mishmash of nothing entirely interesting (note all the people above). Now there is a place where everything is filed on shelves in a convenient order I will be there more often.

AnonymousAugust 8th 2008.

If you don't like it then don't shop there - simple answer. Chorlton Shopping Centre is a monstrosity of a building anyway, a Tesco store will hardly bring down the tone. What's wrong with giving people choice, I understand the concerns of smaller, independent retailers but not everybody can afford to shop in them as the prices are generally higher than supermarkets. With a Morrisons and Somerfield already in Chorlton I don't think a Tesco will make too much of a difference.

andyAugust 8th 2008.

How many offial objections to the application were there? About 500 I believe. At the time of the 2001 census over 14,000 people lived in the ward of Chorlton. Therefore, in the region of 3.5% of people living in Chorlton actually objected to the application. I don't think those 500 people can therefore be said to represent the collective views of Chrolton. Generally speaking only those who object to a planning application bother to make a representation. Therefore the remaining 96.5% of people were either for the proposal or had no opinion either way.

Paul JohnsonAugust 8th 2008.

and surprisingly - I am a regular user of Unicorn as well. It is an excellent store.

Keeping up appearancesAugust 8th 2008.

Of course not! it's just the 'Chav Factor', I've never heard of anyone in Hale village complain about Sommerfield and that's far more upmarket than Chorlton, Anyway Tesco only sell what other supermarkets sell and they're only doing what other supermarkets do and that's monopolize, give it a few years and Barbakan will be opening everywhere, well' with the exception of maybe Miles Platting. I could understand if half the people who have been mithering the council and planning inspector, did it on grounds of unethical behaviour, but not because it's a symbol of bland Britain.

Mike, Heaton MerseyAugust 8th 2008.

We had a similar experience when Tesco opened in Heaton Moor two or three years ago. "We will bring a cash-point to Heaton Moor," Tesco boasted on their plans, as if it would be a first, despite the local post office and the Somerfield each having a cash-point already. Anyway, the council opposed it, Tesco appealed, and the planning inspectors in Bristol - Bristol! - over-ruled them. Tesco 1, Locals 0. I've never been it, and that's the answer, don't go in there.

PeteAugust 8th 2008.

Well I'm sure if Tesco is hated so much and it's not needed, no-one will shop there and it'll soon shut :) As for damaging the local shops, Would the muesli knitters that shop at Unicorn suddenly desert the place for Tesco? Hmmmm... doubt it! I know Tesco are good at what they do, didn't think that a tiny little 'Express' type store can inflict more damage than the big Morrisons round the corner, or the Somerfield, Co-Op et al, I mean, wow, Tesco muct be good!

Unimpressed MancunianAugust 8th 2008.

NOOOOI can't believe after people made an effort with plausible reasons to NOT have a tesco the council still allowed.So much for the people having a chocie or a say in their community.Does that mean we're goign to get the congestion charges even if all of Greater Manchesters drives sy no and ALL the public transport are still unreliable. Long live Democracy!

Paul JohnsonAugust 8th 2008.

Bridget, I am sure that the people in Chorlton who can afford the organic chicken and beans from Kenya will still support the local businesses.In Whalley Range then we do not have such choice. The chicken and green beans from Netto will be sourced on the basis of cost. In terms of greeness, then I like many people drive to a larger Supermarket. When the local Tesco comes to Whalley Range then I will be able to source all of my shopping needs locally. Furthermore, the convenience of a local store means I can buy stuff as I need it rather than having to buy in advance with associated waste.

AnonymousAugust 8th 2008.

Did somebody mention the economic downturn in the market? Those who have had to tighten the purse strings may welcome the affordability Tesco can offer.

Paul JohnsonAugust 8th 2008.

check out www.southmanchesterreporter.co.uk/…/1061588_tesco_gets_goahead… for an alternative discussion on the store.

BridgetAugust 8th 2008.

Have you ever known a branch of Tesco close down due to lack of custom?? They know how to play the game...it'll be a case of...'oooh lets make sure this Metro stocks fresh bread, as we know how much the people of Chorlton value this' (screw the Barbakan)...and...'oh lets install an organic veg section as we know that the m/c folk of Chorlton like their veg untampered with' (screw the Unicorn). Won't be too long before we have another identikit high street. Marvellous thing, progress.

micjhelleAugust 8th 2008.

It is not about hating Tesco, Paul Johnson! But we already have 2 supermarkets and at the moment lots of thriving independent stores. Morrison's and Somerfield offer the wider community a place to shop, like old peolpe and those without cars. Why do we need another! At the expense of the individual shops.

dislexikAugust 8th 2008.

Chorlton is absolute disgusting. Adding a Tescos makes no difference to this fact. I find it very funny the Chorlton-ites that seem to compare the area mentally with the vibe in the more eclectic boroughs of London, Bristol and Glasgow for example. The truth is it's mutton, dressed as mutton. A tesco's simply makes it more convenient to pick up fags when I'm out on my way through...

AnonymousAugust 8th 2008.

Would there be this much opposition if they were opening a Waitrose instead of a Tesco's?

ChorltonSarahAugust 8th 2008.

I can't believe it! If Chorlton can't win the fight against Tesco, with all it's independent vibe and customers who are loyal to local shops, then when do the planners ever say no to Tesco?? I hope all the Chorltonites will vote with their wallets, but I suspect that Tesco's more flexible opening hours will pull in a lot of people.

JennieAugust 8th 2008.

If people are that bothered then don't shop there, it will soon close if no one is going in!

BridgetAugust 8th 2008.

I think this is disgusting. I don't think I've ever known an area that supports as many independent, ethical retailers as Chorlton, and I sadly fear that it WILL affect the likes of the Barbakan, Unicorn etc. To move in during a period of economic concern for many of these businesses is throttling the very heart of the area. I hope the people of Chorlton make a stand and refuse to use this shop.

james crawfordAugust 8th 2008.

There is a tin of paint in my loft with the Tesco Metro's name on it. I feel a recreation coming on of the famous Stone Roses incident... Dirty Tesco.

SteveAugust 8th 2008.

not impressed, I thought we'd got rid of this

pissedoffchorltonresidentAugust 8th 2008.

unbelievable, as usual money talks and public opinion walks. i wonder how much the backhander was that tesco`s have clearly given the planning inspector. read our lips you corporate money grabbing soulless bastards!!! WE DON`T NEED A TESCO EXPRESS, WE DON`T WANT A TESCO EXPRESS SO WHY DON`T YOU GO SHOVE IT UP YOUR COLLECTIVE ARSES!!!!!!

Paul JohnsonAugust 8th 2008.

Exchorltonite - you have me tempted to go into Unicorn with a pile of Tesco bags - I would love to see their faces :-)

Mike, Heaton MerseyAugust 8th 2008.

Some interesting comments here, but shoppers shouldn't be fooled - Tesco are rarely cheaper than the alternative. The greengrocer in Heaton Moor is cheaper than Tesco, and sells better quality stuff as well!

ExChorlton GirlAugust 8th 2008.

As someone who left Chorlton and moved to Salford (for a lovely big cheap house) the only thing that I really miss and makes it special is the independent shops...and independent thinkers. They can be a bit smug and annoying but don't underestimate how important this is. People must actively support their local shops and not just moan about Tescos though. I was surprised to hear Stefan say the Barbakan is quiet at the moment so I'll popping across to Chorlton this weekend to stock up on delicious treats and eat cakes in protest! For anyone on a budget - go in just before closing on a Saturday...they are literally throwing bread at you. Freezes perfectly well too.

BridgetAugust 8th 2008.

Paul,The public support Tesco as it offers a level of convenience that many small business owners would be unable to provide. It doesn't invest in the area, but saps the life from it. By enabling the small business to thrive, you're offering the public choice and variety, and not a standardised product that is exploited for cheapness...I'm talking factory-farmed chicken, green beans grown in Kenya, etc. Mere convenience is not the whole picture and those that support it might just be thinking of how their own lives are changed by it. And don't even get my started on the pollution caused by increased traffic to the area!!

Jenny from Whalley RangeAugust 8th 2008.

I was totally against the decision for a Tesco in Whalley Range and I am now disgusted that they have now managed to overturn the decision of the council. It was a real talking point for months between a wide selection of the local community. For heavens sake there is already a Tesco Metro on Upper Chorlton Road, less than a mile away. Which is a nightmare to get past by bicycle or by car at busy periods! There are lots of independent shops in Chorlton and Whalley Range and it is one of the reasons that I live here and not in other areas of Manchester, like Didsbury, as it has chararcter. I tend to buy my vegetables from local shops that are much cheaper than Tesco and Sainsburys is just for desperate times in a real ermergency. I'm just not looking forward to the extra traffic that this Tesco store will bring to an already busy road. Where was the inspector from? London? Bristol? He definitely wasn't local! PS I would be apposed if it was any large coporate supermarket store not just beacuse it is Tesco!

beanAugust 8th 2008.

why is it at the expense of other shops - if you care, just keep going to them and they wont shut down.i am more concerned about the loss of the northern quarter to chavs. it's upsetting.

paulAugust 8th 2008.

People are talking about unicorn and barbakan as retail philantropists but I do not see them expanding into inner city areas - they stick to comfortable areas like chorlton where people gave the surplus income.And where are the people complaining about the co-op who will have 3 stores in chorlton now they have taken over somerfield. And I think the unicorn sells co-op products as well.

eddy rheadAugust 8th 2008.

Pious, sanctimonious, smug hypocrites. If the opening of a branch of a supermarket is all that these idle half wits have got to worry about then i suggest they put down their knitting and perhaps avoid baby yoga for once and expend some of their energies on really making the communities within which they live a better place instead of enforcing their selective misguided 'values' on the silent majority who also have the misfortune to live in Chorlton.

badly drawn boyAugust 8th 2008.

i have it on good authority that Unicorn sells scented candles made out of reformed horsemeat.

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