On a very blustery Saturday on the 12th May, a group of Friends of the Earth went to the Fox and Goose to raise awareness about the application that Tesco has going through about building on a combined brown field and green field site. Tesco’s at the last minute expanded their plans to take more of the Brockhurst playing fields. Already in the area there are 3 supermarkets so don’t actually need another supermarket.
On the day we did a survey of the local shop keepers and the majority are worried how the arrival of the new supermarket will affect their business. Going by Saturdays trade they have a very popular shopping area at the Fox and Goose, with the arrival of Tesco this may change.
Around Birmingham the march of the supermarkets continue, with plans for a Tesco or a Co-op development in Stirchley. There is a Sainsbury’s being planned in Selly Oak. The green light was given to plans for a Tesco at the Swan Centre in Yardley and I heard that Asda is applying for a shop in the Chemsley Wood shopping Centre.
The trouble with supermarkets is that they compete with the smaller local shops who just cant survive against them. Some towns leave people with little choice of where to shop. It’s a huge loss to communities if their local shops close down – but big supermarkets are getting so dominant that smaller shops find it hard to compete.
National Friends of the Earth has successfully pursuaded the Office of Fair Trading to propose an investigation into the negative effects of big supermarket expansion. However, policy change takes time and meanwhile local shops continue to close down or be taken over. Local shops boost the local economy, provide genuine choice and are a good environmental option.
The most important thing you can do is to buy more from your local shops – choosing local products wherever possible