Petition against Tesco No3

A PETITION against the opening of a Tesco Express at the former Job Centre site in Rolle Street is gaining momentum, with more than 1,100 signatures, writes David Beasley.

A PETITION against the opening of a Tesco Express at the former Job Centre site in Rolle Street is gaining momentum, with more than 1,100 signatures, writes David Beasley.

Some businesses and residents are frustrated that a controversial third store, following branches in Salterton Road and Brixington, has been rubberstamped by district planners - without the chance of scrutiny by councillors.

Under planning law, the new store, which will create between 20 and 30 jobs, does not need a planning application for change of use.

The transition of the site from its previous role as a Job Centre to a food outlet only requires Tesco to 'seek advice' from East Devon District Council.


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Started by owner of the Premier Store in Rolle Street, Phil Rainbird, the petition is also backed by Moore's Newsagents and Londis.

The petition, which will be sent to the supermarket giant's head office, has prompted Tesco bosses to invite Mr Rainbird to a meeting to discuss his concerns.

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Mr Rainbird, who has run the store with his partner since 2004, said: "The arrival of Tesco in the town is nothing but bad news.

"Its presence will severely jeopardise the viability of many of the small businesses within the town centre as Tesco's sole aim will be to take another pound from your pocket and away from other businesses."

He said the store's location would create congestion and potential road safety issues: "Where will they park their enormous delivery vehicles?

"According to the plans for The Strand, there will be a pedestrian crossing from the mobile phone shop to NatWest. This will make crossing very dangerous.

"As the owner of a convenience store, I have grave concerns for the future of my business."

Londis manger Louise Mears said: "I think Tesco would have a retail monopoly in the town."

A spokesperson for Tesco said: "Our customers are our regulators and people like our fresh produce and good prices.

"We would not open a Tesco Express if there was not demand.

"We are turning a derelict, empty town centre property into a store people want.

"It would increase footfall in the town centre and benefit all traders.

"If there are a significant number of people who do not want a Tesco Express in Rolle Street, of course we would look at it again, but I don't believe that is the case.

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