‘No more supermarkets’ say town centre traders
Petition opposes further supermarket plans for Barnstaple
TRADERS and shoppers have put pen to paper to voice their fears for the future of Barnstaple High Street.
A Butchers Row shopkeeper has handed a 945-signiture petition to North Devon Council opposing any further supermarket developments within a two-mile radius of the town centre.
Florist Sandie Hall spent nearly five months collecting the names with the help of fellow traders.
She said further supermarkets would “seriously jeopardise the future of Barnstaple High Street”.
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“There are already at least 23 food retail outlets within three miles of this shop and I believe a town this size cannot possibly need another supermarket.
“Everyone feels strongly about this, traders, regular customers and tourists alike.
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“The nearly 1,000 people who have signed this petition firmly believe that the impact of any further stores will have the most detrimental effect on the already beleaguered Barnstaple town centre.
“The strength of this petition warrants consideration and I just hope that it gets looked at along with any retail impact study,” she added.
Council leader Brian Greenslade said the authority could only determine planning applications in light of clear guidelines set out by the Government but would be using an independent retail impact study to do so.
He added: “We expect to hear a preliminary view from the study quite soon. Quite simply, the council can’t deal with these supermarket applications without that intelligence being made available to us.”
Accepting the petition on behalf of the district council Cllr David Luggar said he felt the petition should be debated by the council.
He said: “Barnstaple’s traders are facing an increasing range of challenges. The economic downturn has hit small traders hard and it continues to do so. The big supermarket chains and the internet have also had an impact.”
EVENTS in Barnstaple this week smack of a town digging in its heels and preparing for battle.
There is no doubt that in the current economic climate, and in the face of ever-increasing competition from supermarkets and the internet, town centre traders have never had it so tough – not just in Barnstaple, but in Bideford, Ilfracombe, South Molton, Torrington and in towns and cities all over the UK.
But for every supermarket that opens, there is a small business thriving on old-fashioned values of service, experience and expertise.
We are proud to say that many of these shops are the lifeblood of the North Devon Gazette and we want readers to help us celebrate the best.
Click on the link at the top right of this page to find out how you can nominate your favourite and help raise the profile of the region’s hard-working shopkeepers.