Ottery group say not to Tesco

PUBLISHED: 13:12 17 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:16 17 June 2010

PASSIONATE campaigners, who want Ottery to say no to Tesco and Sainsbury s bids to set up shop in the town, addressed more than 150 residents at a public meeting last Friday.

PASSIONATE campaigners, who want Ottery to say no to Tesco and Sainsbury's bids to set up shop in the town, addressed more than 150 residents at a public meeting last Friday.

Sustainable Ottery's Factory Future group enlisted the services of several speakers in a packed Old Boys School hall and raised £290 for its campaign.

Nigel Eadie, a shopkeeper and chair of Tavistock Chamber of Commerce spoke of how a planning argument helped them defeat a Sainsbury's proposal. Campaigners forked out £10,000 for a planning expert.

He said: "Our objective was to stop Sainsbury's going in. Unlike SO we never said we were against a supermarket, we pursued it on a particular angle and we wanted to protect that area of land. The most important piece of advice I can give you is you have to have a planning expert."

Gerald Conyngham from Crediton Climate Action, which recently lost its bid against Tesco plans, praised Sustainable Ottery's early start and congratulated the impressive turnout. He added: "There is a lot of energy and commitment- if you can utilise that you have every chance of success."

Londoner Gay Brown, who works closely with national organisation Tescopoly, said she had been involved in 140 anti-supermarket campaigns, losing only four and defeating a bid was "not rocket science".

She went on to paint a horror picture of the affects a Tesco may have on Ottery, claiming it would kill off local business and could see 450 cars an hour and 40 lorries a day coming to and from the site.

Tesco said in November that traffic disruption would be minimal and there would be two to four deliveries a day, it is yet to comment on the above claims.

Concerned shopkeepers also spoke out. One of them was Dave Moss, owner of Alfington Village Stores who said his turnover dropped by 50 per cent "overnight" when Tesco opened in Honiton.

He added: "The big boys move in and the small boys move out- we can't buy stock to sell in our shops at the price Tesco are selling it for. As long as that stands small shops stand no chance. The result will be Ottery will die."

County, district and town councillor Roger Giles spoke up on behalf of town councillors and said: "We are under strict instructions not to give indication of any view until you have all the facts.

"It will go before the town council - people should contact all councillors to express their views, so, when they discuss it you can influence them.

"What counts most is individual letters, done in your own way."

SO member Helen Collinson ended proceedings by saying: "I moved to Ottery for the quality of life. The fact is I do all my shopping here, I work from home and the special contact I have with the local retailers is a lifeline to me.

"My daughters will be going to The King's School soon and they will be walking along those roads, I am worried there could be a terrible accident.

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