Whitstable Campaign: Town Centre Supermarket
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Tescopoly - This is not TESCO. Tescopoly is co-ordinated by organisations concerned about the market-distorting power of the major supermarkets.
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.
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?