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Sherborne anti-Tesco group will oppose any development plans

By Western Gazette - Sherborne  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

An anti-Tesco group will oppose any plans for the supermarket to open a store in Sherborne

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MEMBERS of an anti-Tesco action group have resolved to completely oppose any form of development by the supermarket in Sherborne.

After meeting representatives from the retail giant on Thursday to hear plans for the new store, members of the Sherborne Defensive Planning Group (SDPG) resolved to fight the move to the town.

The supermarket, which is claimed to measure approximately 28,000sq ft, is earmarked for land at the Sherborne Hotel, on the A30.

The action group is formed from organisations such as No Thanks Tesco, the Sherborne Chamber of Trade and Commerce, and the Sherborne and District Society CPRE.

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Andrew Maddock, vice chairman of Sherborne Chamber, said: “The chamber is totally against Tesco building on this or any out-of-town site around Sherborne.”

Peter Neal, chairman of the SDPG, dismissed the findings of an independent survey conducted on behalf of the company, as “Tesco spin”.

He said: “Melanie Chiswell, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, previously said half the people they spoke to do their main shop out of Sherborne. But on Thursday said this information was sourced from a telephone survey of 500 households in Sherborne.

“According to parish records for 2011, there were 4,493 households in Sherborne.

“Tesco says 47.7 per cent of the 500 households interviewed indicated they do their main weekly trolley shop of £71 or more outside Sherborne.

“This questions whether Tesco’s research, which forms a part of its assessment obligation for planning, has any real validity or weight.

“The reality is that Tesco have surveyed approximately 11 per cent of the households in Sherborne, meaning approximately six per cent of Sherborne households leave the town to do their main shop.”

Mr Neal claimed the store would be nearly 25 per cent larger than the town’s Sainsbury’s and would be accessed from Horsecastles Lane.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “We are hoping to speak to as many people from Sherborne and its surrounding area as possible during our public consultation. We have had some positive discussions already.

“More than 4,000 households and businesses are being invited to the public consultation.”

The consultation will take place on Friday, February 15, between 3pm and 7pm, and on Saturday, February 16, between 10am and 3pm, both at the West End Hall, Littlefield. A third consultation is on Tuesday, February 26, between 2.30pm and 7.30pm, at the Digby Hall, Hound Street.

On Tuesday the No Thanks Tesco campaign pledged to distribute more than 20,000 leaflets, while Tesco also began a leaflet drop inviting residents to the public consultation.

More than 8,000 people have signed online and paper petitions opposing the store.

Last night the group hosted a call to action, inviting independent business owners to a meeting in the Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Road.

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