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Whitstable Campaign: Town Centre Supermarket

Updated on September 16, 2016
Whitstable Views profile image

CJ Stone is an author and columnist. He appears regularly in the British press. Currently he has a column in the Whitstable Gazette.

Four shops owned by Wisprole Investments immediately in front of the Post Office building in Gladstone Road. To be demolished maybe, and replaced with a new supermarket?
Four shops owned by Wisprole Investments immediately in front of the Post Office building in Gladstone Road. To be demolished maybe, and replaced with a new supermarket?

Tesco

It seems that the planning application for alterations to the Post Office building in Gladstone Road, Whitstable, has nothing to do with Tesco.

This is despite the fact that the plans - for some obscure reason - specifically mention the supermarket giant.

What’s that about? Is it some kind of a red herring?

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the issue is resolved. The planning application remains, and the investment company are still hoping for a major retailer to move into the premises when – if - they are built.

This would be a disaster for Whitstable.

The charm of Whitstable as a town is precisely that it has managed to retain its local connections. It has a proper working High Street, with real shops on it; with real local traders with homes - as well as businesses - in the town.

The presence of the superstore up the hill is already a drain on the High Street, and a number of well-loved shops have been forced to close, to be replaced with generic and out-of-town names.

Think of White Stuff or Costa Coffee. Now think of Greys or Hatchards. A major supermarket on the High Street would certainly kill off any other regional shops that remain and would clearly be designed to serve the interests of the tourist industry, not the people of Whitstable.

The company behind the plans is Wisprole Investments. They already own Julian Graves, R & J Moore, and Stead and Simpson – not to speak of the singularly inappropriately named “Local” off license.

Calling the “Local” local is a bit like calling lard vegetarian. It’s a contradiction in terms.

Money

Actually if you take a look at the positioning of these shops, they are in a block immediately in front of the Post Office building. Surely this is not a coincidence. There are almost certainly plans to extend the new supermarket out onto the High Street to replace these shops.

A quick review of Wisprole Investments on the internet, reveals they have similar interests all over the country.

Isn’t this what is wrong with our country?

Wisprole Investments, whoever they might be, have no real commitment to Whitstable. Their offices are in London and their investments are world wide. Their only interest is in a speedy decision to maximise their profits.

An American philosopher once said: “Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business.” The presence of such profit-hungry conglomerates on our High Street is a threat to any notion of democracy in the town.

Money talks, they say.

Isn’t it time we answered back?

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    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      nice supermarket information. thanks for share. I think many people over there enjoy buying in this supermarket.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      For what it's worth, on this side of the Pond indoor shopping malls have been emptying out for a decade or so, and are now being demolished. In their place, streets are being built on the property in anticipation of small shops on each side, a la the High Street that malls eliminated in the first place. We can only hope someday "big box" stores will go the way of malls! Big is not always better.

    • Whitstable Views profile image
      Author

      Whitstable Views 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      An effective campaign might well be able to do that. It's a question of getting one started. By the way, it's interesting that there's a Sainsburys advert attached to this hub. I wonder if they might be the next big contender for a supermarket in the middle of town? Just a thought.

    • profile image

      Casual Observer 8 years ago

      Difficult one, though, isn't it? "What are we going to do about it?" Given a particular company can't be vetoed on planning grounds, it's a case of convincing the company not to move into the building.

    • Whitstable Views profile image
      Author

      Whitstable Views 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      I agree Wally. The question is, what are we going to do about it?

    • profile image

      wally from herne bay 8 years ago

      Such faceless corporate entities would turn the entire surface of the planet into a 24/7 shopping mall and its human population into brainwashed hopelessly addicted consumers