The Empire Strikes Back: Tesco Return To Stoke’s Croft

Posted: May 25, 2011 in Bristol, Stokes Croft

A month has passed since Tesco’s became victim to the riots that filled Stokes Croft on April 22nd and with that passing so has the period in which discussions would be held to decide the much opposed stores future. Unsurprisingly on May 24th saw the supermarket giant re-open complete with some minor adjustments; a new poster here, an extra security camera there, most noticeable though was the reduction in the stores opening hours, which are now 7am-6pm instead of 7am-11pm. This return to business as usual followed a neighbourhood meeting held by local community group “St Paul’s Unlimited” during which great concerns were expressed about the way in which the police acted on the night of the riots. Also during this meeting a woman describing herself as a “lone voice” showed support for Tesco before claiming that sadly she had mistakenly believed that the riot was part of the campaign to stop Tesco opening. Also in attendance that evening was Ashley ward’s first Green Party Councillor, Gus Hoyt who said that the media has framed the debate as people who are against the riot are equally for Tesco. It’s a much bigger picture than that he continued before calling for an independent public inquiry.

Moving away from Tesco it was discussed how plans are being drawn up to make squatting more difficult and less legal. One of Bristol’s most prominent squats, Westmoreland House earned a mention as it was recently announced that the site could soon be bought using money from the Homes and Communities Agency. This prompted a mention that campaigners are calling for greater transparency in UK planning law so communities are made more aware of new businesses in their area. Before long though discussion returned to Tesco and how their presence in Stokes croft would be detrimental to local businesses with the Golden Hill Branch (less that two miles away) cited as a perfect example of the damaging effect Tescos would have. The question still on everybody’s lips is what will come of Tesco, Stokes Croft. It is imagined that the answer is not a healthy trade, it has already been seen that Tescos have provided misleading figures with regards to the stores success. For the prominent ‘No Tesco in Stokes Croft’ campaign there is still much being done including winning the right to appeal against the decision not to grant a Judicial Review and the moving forward of plans to set up a People’s Supermarket. One this is for sure, this is not over.

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