Skip to content

Tesco Bailiffs Evict Squatters from Former Jesters. Massive Police Presence, Huge Crowd Convenes, Road Closed For Most of Day.

March 16, 2010

Bailiffs arrived to evict the Tesco squatters at about 10 am today, 16th March. A  large Police presence including at least six Mounted Police arrived to ensure public order. A large crowd assembled to support the squatters in their attempt to resist the force majeure of  Tesco’s bailiffs, who were fully equipped with steel cutters,and a cherrypicker. Despite valiant efforts, the squatters eventually succumbed to a relentless onslaught from the bailiffs, whilst the assembled crowd voiced their displeasure at the aggressive behaviour of the bailiffs, who were protected in their actions by a Police Line. The Police Head of Operations told this reporter that this was a civil matter, and that their role was to keep public order. The actions of all parties was being filmed, and if any criminal behaviour occurred on either side, that this would be investigated.

Click here for BBC NEWS REPORT

See Below For Pictures:

Squatters fend off the bailiffs with ladders

The tripod formed the last line of resistance.

A squatter is taken from the roof in a cherry picker.

Squatter pinned down on cherry picker.

The “tripod” squatter attaches himself to the cherry picker.

Angry crowd vent their frustration.

Huge Police presence.

Police pin down protester.

Bailiffs gain control.

The scene at 2 pm.

Final image: The scene after eviction. it is understood that Tesco’s bailiffs will now maintain a permanent presence in the building.

Advertisements
33 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2010 9:01 pm

    Thanks for this. Good work, it’s lovely.

  2. Richard Craven permalink
    March 16, 2010 9:14 pm

    “Bailiffs arrived to evict the Tesco squatters at about 10 am today, 16th March. A large Police presence including at least six Mounted Police arrived to ensure public order. A large crowd assembled to support the squatters in their attempt to resist the force majeure of Tesco’s bailiffs, who were fully equipped with steel cutters,and a cherrypicker. Despite valiant efforts, the squatters eventually succumbed to a relentless onslaught from the bailiffs, whilst the assembled crowd voiced their displeasure at the aggressive behaviour of the baliffs,”

    Loaded terminology here. ‘Aggressive’ is a value-laden word. If you are going to call yourself a reporter, you ought to stick to reporting facts which are not in dispute; and not attempt to inculcate your readers with your own values on the sly. Facts are facts, and values are values. Conflating the two is at best sloppy, and at worst intellectually dishonest.

    “who were protected in their actions by a Police Line. The Police Head of Operations told this reporter that this was a civil matter, and that their role was to keep public order. The actions of all parties was being filmed, and if any criminal behaviour occurred on either side, that this would be investigated. It also came to light that Bristol City Council had given permission for road closure…”

    On one interpretation, your use of the phrase “it came to light” adds nothing to the sentence “BCC had given permission for road closure”. In which case, why include it? On a second slightly less charitable interpretation, you appear to be implying that there was something sinister or underhand in the fact that BCC gave permission for road closure. In which case, perhaps you would care to share your suspicions with the rest of us. What is wrong with BCC giving permission for road-closure in connection with a police operation, even if it is in connection with a protest with which you find yourself in sympathy?

    • nigel drew permalink
      March 17, 2010 8:21 pm

      I don’t know how long this writer was in the street yesterday but there were several instances of aggressive behaviour from the “specialist enforcement” agents (thugs), supporting the bailiffs. There were also gross breaches of H&S regulations in their use of the cherry picker and especially in the use of 12 inch cutters and sledge hammers when trying to detach the brave sqatters from their “lock-ons”. The squatters involved should be suing Sherbond, the firm involved, for failng in their duty of care to safeguard them from dangerous dust and flying metal. No-one on that roof had protective equipment least of all the locked-on squatters who at that time had no choice but to suffer. The bailiffs and their agent were ignorant bodgers who should be held to account.
      As to the issue about BCC giving permission for the street closure…the fact is that this was a carefully pre-planned and coordinated response from Tesco, their agents, BCC and the police to thwart what was clearly the will of local people. That is why it can be seen as sinister. This is clear evidence of the power of corporates like Tesco to manipulate the legal system and the local polity to bully communities. Remember, the original change of use application was not in Tesco’s name and so slipped through the planning system without anyone being able to oppose it. This was undoubtedly a tactic used by Tesco to wrong foot any opposition. Similarly BCC used only the legal minimum of consultation with the local community which effectively made the take over of the Jesters site secret.
      Remember too that there are wider issues here about the “tescoisation” of the food chain in this country. Thankfully enough of us are aware of this to continue to oppose such developments. Tesco beware. The strength of feeling about this store will make it hard for them to operate this store…the fight goes on.

  3. Typowriter permalink
    March 16, 2010 9:34 pm

    An extremely loaded version of events there Chris.
    The photo captioned: “Angry crowd vent their frustration” was actually people asking the mounted policeman why he wasn’t picking up the poo his horse left on the road. I filmed the entire exchange.

    Facts work best generally.

    • nigel drew permalink
      March 17, 2010 8:35 pm

      Your facts are incorrect about the nature of that confrontation. That particular mounted policeman no. 3919 had backed his horse into the crowd and two of us had been trodden on by the horse. We had every right to show disapproval of his behaviour. That policeman was also the first to go for his baton at one point when things got agitated. Maybe he needs to be sent for some anger management sessions.
      Incidentally it turns out that police horses are allowed to shit in the street “because they only eat vegetables”. When I asked equine plod whether, as a vegetarian, whether it was OK for me the shit in the street, I was told that I would be arrested for “offending public decency” !! The whole police/tesco/bailiff/thug operation yesterday offended public decency.

  4. backslap permalink
    March 16, 2010 10:27 pm

    ‘Heavy-handed’ and ‘aggressive’ bailiffs…what a load of rubbish.

    I watched the entire process (which was outside my window), and in that time the said bailiffs were laughing and joking with the protesters, providing them with water and handling everything pretty well, despite having shit and god knows what thrown on them. They even cut round the wire fences they were holding onto, rather than prise their hands off.

  5. anon permalink
    March 16, 2010 11:32 pm

    hey wow this comment box is right-justified!

    It still seems a bit petty and old-fashioned to me. These new-fangled supermarkets are everywhere! I personally remember when we had to do all our shopping in local shops and it sucked – you really struggled to eat if you were on a budget in those days.

    Also it was a real shame the activists couldn’t have distanced themselves from the crazier elements. Smashing up supermarkets all over town doesn’t really endear people to your cause. As it stood I couldn’t really join in with a campaign that seemed more about bringing back “the good old days” of poverty and neglect and protecting local capitalists, who are every bit as crap as global ones.

  6. Kevin permalink
    March 17, 2010 12:37 am

    Hooray for the squatters, just great,
    this is my community. these are my neighbours
    fantastic, keep up the good work

    I do not want another Tesco Express,there is already one at the end of Jamaica Street, (10 minutes walk)
    I do not want another Tesco Metro there is already one in Broadmead, (15 mins walk).

    • mrsquater permalink
      March 25, 2010 2:31 pm

      i say no more food shops !!! we have too mainy as it is , pluss we waste far to much food in the uk .

  7. skeptic permalink
    March 17, 2010 10:16 am

    What exactly is the objection?

    I am not aware of any butchers, bakers and grocery stores on Stokes Croft that are going to lose trade from this – or have I simply never noticed them?

    Proof will be in the custom that the store generates – if the people really don’t want it, they won’t shop there. If the store thrives, then the local people have spoken and it is wanted by the majority.

    If you must protest; protest with your wallets and shop elsewhere.

    As a side note; I agree with the comments above – this appears to be one of the most biased pieces of journalism that I have ever seen outside the Daily Mail.

  8. Joe permalink
    March 17, 2010 12:32 pm

    I cant believe that people actualy want a tesco here! are you from the local community? This will affect the independant shops not only on stokes croft, but also on picton street. Over the years i have seen the long term affects of what companys like tesco do and the negative affect that they have on the local community. And i know that most of the people who shop their wont actualy be from the local community, they will be studens, profesionals ect who will never understand of see the long tearm affects to the area. And as for the poverty argument, me and my sister was raised by a single mum on benefits in the local area and we had a very healthy diet and she managed it without the help of tesco.

  9. March 17, 2010 12:38 pm

    Well done to all you protesters! it’s great to see some direct action getting in the news.
    If and when Tesco manage to bribe enough of BCC to build these community destroying outlets then you could try and encourage a boycott. Please see http://www.saveourtowns.org to download posters. And good luck!

  10. March 17, 2010 1:00 pm

    Like millions of people I shop at Tesco, Asda, and those kind of shops. I do so because they are cheap and convenient.

    However, I find it sad that the soul of Britons local high streets is being sucked out by the megacorp shopping powerhouses that have pretty much completely homogenized our high streets robbing them of character, individuality and charm. Of course there are exceptions, but on the whole one high street looks pretty much the same as another.

    For smaller towns I wish that local councils were able to pass local laws preventing the megacorps from opening in order to protect and promote small businesses that bring color and life to communities. This is not impossible and has been done to great effect in towns across the USA (where I lived for a few years).

  11. fox permalink
    March 17, 2010 1:57 pm

    whats next plan then are ppl still in there ?

  12. ihatesquattersandsmellyprotestors permalink
    March 17, 2010 11:48 pm

    firstly, i love the propoganda machine that is this website, i mean how much crap can one person, and im presuming the PRCS’s chairman elect chris chalkley who wrote this article, put into such a heavily biased article that makes the squatters/ crusties/ jobless idiots (all the same in my eyes) look like modern day robin hoods…it beggars belief that so many people actually buy into this crap. Do they not realise their so called chairman, who speaks for stokes croft et al actually lives in St werburghs. Its thanks to the PRSC that stokes croft has such ‘delights’ as turbo island, the endless amount of drunken street drinkers who would serve better as cannon fodder in Iraq or Afghanistan (rather than letting our brave soldiers get killed and maimed why not send the scum that gather on turbo corner on a daily basis).
    There is a picture on this article that shows a woman holding a young baby in her arms standing next to the police officers. Yet the caption reads ” police pin down protestor..” WTF???? How and where are the police pinning down her? surely someone should criticise this stupid woman for bringing such a young baby to demonstration? what would this woman have done if it had turned nasty, as lets face it most of the people that gather at these demo’s are only there for the purpose of creating civil disobediance and chaos? and why was she compelled to stand so close to the police line? some people dont deserve to be parents.
    and as for stating the obvious-“huge police presence” yes well done, thats a police horse, rather large beast and one could say huge when describing said animal.
    oh and by the way. I just wanted to say thank you to all those stupid people that felt it absolutely neccesary to block off the road causing traffic to grind to a halt. I was more than happy to be diverted through some sh”t hole known as st pauls and sit in traffic for hours, and was even more happy to get home 2 hrs later than planned.
    I love tesco’s and i hope they build in the old jesters site. I will be more than happy to drive from my very large and expensive house in Chipping sodbury to stokes croft with the sole purpose of buying localy from tesco’s…..and then dump my rubbish on stokes croft/ turbo island, after all who would notice some more crap on top of the crap thats already there..

  13. Mr Smith permalink
    March 18, 2010 12:15 pm

    I had bottles of piss thrown over me, paint, dirt, stale booze and anything else that came to hand. I was kicked, punched, pushed pulled and abused. Yet, I cut around hands on fences, fed water to those polite enough to respond to me asking if anyone would like some, offered explanations to those that required them and tempered the heavy handed approach mentioned above to meet the exact requirement needed. I tried to take the time to explain exactly why what was happening was happening, in some cases the response was positive, in others I was utterly shocked to hear people spouting such hatred for corporations,especially when they were wearing their fave Dominoes pizza belt….

    I have a family to feed, that’s why I was on the roof. The guys I worked with showed nothing but professionalism and courtesy, honestly. Find every video you can of this and turn the volume up rather than believing the views of loaded reports from either side. I’m also a journalist, the facts are always there,you just need to know where to find them.

    • March 19, 2010 11:01 am

      Good gracious Mr Smith! you’re a Bailiff AND a Journo!!
      Have you read this quote by the late journalist Hunter S Thompson…..

      “Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits — a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage. ”

      The people who will have their jobs displaced by Tesco also have families to feed but the difference is they’re not helping the community to be destroyed. Every £ spent in stores like Tesco is a £ taken out of our communities.

      The post above yours doesn’t need a response.

  14. March 24, 2010 1:56 am

    I too watched the whole squatter eviction process from the windows of Metropolis, and I have nothing but praise for the team of bailiffs who handled themselves with dignity and a whole lot more self-control than I would have managed with piss and shit being thrown at me by miscreants who clearly have nothing better to do than squat buildings that don’t belong to them for a cause they cannot justify. Not once have I read an argument from the anti-Tesco brigade that stands up to debate. And look at the bile and anger they vomit in our direction when their views are challenged.

    What an incredibly lame attempt by Alexis Wolf to insult Mr Smith above too. The fantastic irony is that by blogging here, she is, in her own way, behaving as a journalist. Hilarious!

    And just what exactly does the landlord, commercial property mogul and self-made millionaire capitalist owner of this site do exactly? Yes, young Chris Chalkley reports the facts as he sees them… just like The Daily Mail does. A proper journalist through and through. Did anyone know that Chris owns the Jamaica Street studios? I didn’t until yesterday… The word ‘hypocrisy’ falls way short don’t you think?

    If Ms Wolf and her self-righteous bunch of crusaders really wanted to do something good, maybe they’d go work for free for some of the shops that they’d have us believe are in such danger of becoming extinct when Tesco arrives. That surely has to be a better use of their resources than the cult religionesque, self-delusional nonsense that they propagate here.

    We have news for you squatters, communists and dictators. You’re not wanted, you’re effete, and you’re quickly becoming despised. You have done nothing but show how best to turn any local sympathy you may once have had, into a palpable, polarised surge of feeling against you. Congratulations – you’ve done our work for us, and given Tesco more free publicity that they could have hoped for in a month of free advertising in Socialist Worker.

    I’ll leave you with a paste-in of Gilly (Woo) Cockwell’s first blog on this issue. It’s brilliant and speaks volumes for those of us that actually work for a living on Stokes Croft rather than just spout shit all day and choose to dictate the terms of approval to those of us that really do have a vested interest in the area.

    *********************

    I do not believe that Tesco will be the down fall of one single good business on Stokes Croft or in the surrounding area.

    Did I go out of business when the biggest Primark in the country opened not 500 meters from my dressmaking workshop? Of course not.

    Competition is healthy and important and it makes us strive to be better.

    Some of the shops in our area are frankly disgraceful and if there was a clean, friendly, welcoming alternative then they might have to up their game in order to survive. Well…so they should.

    I love most of our little independent shops and am very proud of them, but even though I live and work locally I rarely get chance to use them, this is because I work 15 hours a day running my own business. Will I feel guilty about using a clean, convenient supermarket that is open when I need it to be? No I won’t. Will I choose independent shops when I have the time to? Yes I will. Every time.

    I do not expect any of you to get all your clothes made by me instead of buying them from the high street which is far cheaper and far more convenient, of course I don’t, even though the vast majority of high street fashion is made unethicallyI recognise that there is a need for high street fashion and I recognise that my business can exist in harmony with it.

    I work bloody hard, produce a product that is second to none and give excellent customer service, that is why I’m still in business… in spite of Primark…and that is why our good local shops will stay in business, in spite of Tesco only I’ll be able to buy fresh vegetables on my road, making it more convenient for me to continue to work such long hours trying to build a business which I hope will be an asset to our community.

    A community which I love by the way and want to see thrive.

  15. March 25, 2010 12:58 pm

    <<>>

    See, this is just the type of delusional nonsense I am talking about.

    If you think it’s clever to cement your arm into a barrel, then it really gives you no right to complain about H&S issues in being cut out of it. It’s like suing a doctor for hurting you whilst removing the lightbulb you’ve inserted up your arse.

    I watched as the bailiffs cut these twats out of the barrels that they’d cemented their arms into. The bailiffs used large pieces of wood to protect these silly little children from the sparks and flying dust. I have the pictures I took using a long lens on my DSLR. I’ll happily use them as evidence in the bailiffs’ favour if ever there is a need.

    “Brave Squatters”!! Laughable. They were just angry little boys who couldn’t bear having to face the real world. The real world being a place where if you illegally occupy someone else’s property, eventually someone will come along and force you out of it.

    I hope they’re now living in some rat-infested, Dickensian shithole, exactly in keeping with the way they’d have Stokes Croft remain. I hear rat is very nice if you barbecue it. It’s also free, locally-sourced, and organic – rats also eat the food that Supermarkets put in their skips. What clever, ‘green’ little creatures.

  16. March 25, 2010 2:02 pm

    Dave, calm down you’re dribbling on your pretty pink shirt. As a former owner of Jesters we’re not surprised at your hissy fits. After all when money is concerned people like you conveniently forget about anything else. Have you ever wondered why you’re approaching 50 and still single? well just read through your own scribblings and you may have a clue.
    We’re sorry you feel you’ve had it so tough, but please don’t take it out on the rest of us.

  17. Dave Trew permalink
    March 25, 2010 2:54 pm

    Alexis, you really are proving just how blinkered you are. Richard Craven was bang on the money; once it gets down to personal insults, you know that you’ve won.

    I’m not single – I live with my girlfriend, and we’re just about to have our first baby in June. This is the same girlfriend I have mentioned before that works for Riverford Organics by the way – it gives me somewhat of an interesting insight into the world of organic fruit and vegetables that you worship so much. And as you seem to have developed a fascination with my attire, I don’t own a single pink item, either literally, or metaphorically.

    I don’t conveniently forget about anything else either – I, like the many you choose to ignore, try to see things round here with open eyes. I think you know full well that Tesco won’t affect this neighbourhood in the way you’d have us believe, but you just can’t exist without something to whine about. I’ll give you this though, you’re about the most eloquent person from the anti-Tesco brigade, and God knows they need someone who can speak and spell!

    I don’t consider that I’ve had it tough either – we’re thriving here at Metropolis, and I’m very proud of it. Unlike you perhaps, I tackle adversity in a totally different way – you might want to try it sometime, it may prove to you that whining and protesting will get you nowhere, as you’ve proved so adeptly over these last few weeks.

  18. March 25, 2010 4:16 pm

    I apologise for any personal insults. I am nothing to do with or speak for PRSC. I run my own bespoke manufacturing company. I can only spell because of my spell checker!
    The thing is I{we} have very little respect for anyone who likes to live in our so called democracy yet is willing to take sides with corporate business that tramples over any local objections to the further destruction of our towns and communities. The corruption involved is 2nd only to a Banana republic
    Dave, you only need to look in the majority of the UK’s high streets to see what the effect of superstores has. Our towns are becoming carbon copies of each other with independent retailers closing down along with the pubs. Everywhere gets boarded up, it’s heartbreaking. We won’t be better off when there’s no alternative to Tesco, what choice or competition will there be? And how many stores do they need in Bristol? when will they be happy?
    Do you really think the opposition to the likes of Tesco is simply from troublemakers that have nothing better to do? because if you do you’re doing yourself a disservice. Up and down the UK there’s increasing local opposition to these developments by a broad range of people and they’re getting better at winning. They expose the Tesco underhand tactics e.g Catchment areas within 30 minute drive. Then you find out there’s actually another store in the opposite direction with less than a 30 minute drive. Another one is this job creation nonsense, it is in fact job displacement.
    Here’s some, hopefully enlightening, info from another protest site [Keep Mach Special}

    A report commissioned for another market town, Abergavenny, found that local traders are more vulnerable than previously thought when a supermarket comes in. Although turnover might reduce only a little, the knock-on effect on profit is 3 times greater:

    Turnover down 5% – Net profit down 16%
    Turnover down 7.5% – Net profit down 23%
    Turnover down 10% – Net profit down 31%
    Turnover down 12.5% – Net profit down 39%

    Most local traders run close to the wind in this respect, and this helps explain the ‘ghost town’ phenomenon that often follows the invasion of a supermarket.

    And another report …………

    The report looked at six small towns – Porthmadog in Gwynedd, Ruthin in Denbighshire, Ellesmere in Shropshire, Beverley in East Yorkshire, Stalham in Norfolk and Skipton in North Yorkshire – and investigated whether the introduction of a new Tesco store reduced unemployment in the towns.
    The findings of the report by Richard Stankiewicz of the Spatial Analysis Team of Barnsley Council said: “The opening of supermarkets did not boost the labour market of any of the six towns sampled in terms of claimant count unemployment, despite hundreds of jobs being claimed to be created.”

    Why do you think Tesco spends so much on PR companies?

    I could go on with quotes, reports and links but I have to drag myself from this PC and do some work.
    We should all be sticking together to counter the voracious corporate greed that sees our communities destroyed and divided not at each others throats.

    I live in hope…………..

  19. March 31, 2010 2:31 am

    Alexis – Hi, it’s nice to see that you’ve stopped frothing at the mouth for long enough to write something more reasoned. I’ll reply on a point-by-point basis

    AW: I apologise for any personal insults.

    DT: Accepted. Thank you.

    I am nothing to do with or speak for PRSC. I run my own bespoke manufacturing company. I can only spell because of my spell checker!

    DT: I doubt that. Your turn of phrase and use of language shows that you’re educated and eloquent which usually means that one can spell too.

    AW: The thing is I{we} have very little respect for anyone who likes to live in our so called democracy yet is willing to take sides with corporate business that tramples over any local objections to the further destruction of our towns and communities.

    DT: And herein lies the crux of the matter. For eight years, in the live comedy market, I had Bristol to myself for all intents and purposes. Then Jonglers arrived; the brand of a multi-million turnover corporate plc called Regent Inns. They kicked our arses for the next four years. So, trust me when I tell you, that I know first hand what it is like to compete with a corporate with branding power, big budgets and people who do their PR.

    Where were all the squatters, trustafarians, tortured artists, anti-capitalists, and those with a vested interest in their community then? Nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter in any way. I was disappointed (that Jongs had arrived and ‘spoilt it for me’) for sure, and it was a massive wake-up call. I look back now and wonder why I ever thought it unreasonable that people preferred to go to a brand new club, with its £2.5M fit-out, in the centre of town, rather than come to run-down, little old Jesters, with its nasty, small toilets, sweaty interior and rough and ready staff in an area of Bristol with a terrible reputation for crime and dereliction. I played on all the shabby-charm, local, independent, goodwill I could muster, but the truth is that Jongleurs just did it better than me.

    Does that sound like a familiar parallel in the context of what’s going on with Tesco in SC? Of course it does.

    So why would I support a corporate arriving given my history? Read on, as I’ll cover this in answer to the rest of your mail.

    AW: The corruption involved is 2nd only to a Banana republic

    DT: I don’t agree with that statement, it’s emotive and as credible as saying stuff like ‘that’s what the Nazis would have done’. Also it’s a bit of a different issue, and somewhat off the point here, so I’ll leave it for the time being.

    AW: Dave, you only need to look in the majority of the UK’s high streets to see what the effect of superstores has. Our towns are becoming carbon copies of each other with independent retailers closing down along with the pubs. Everywhere gets boarded up, it’s heartbreaking.

    DT: To an extent I agree. There are chains everywhere, and I’ve seen chains copy all the best bits of independents and use them for themselves. However (and it’s a big however), economics dictates that large corporates are necessary, if only from the stand point of fulfilling demand on a small island with a population exceeding 60 million.

    But here’s my main point – there is still plenty of room for good, independent, local businesses. At Metropolis we buy all (and I mean ALL) of our meat from MJ Daltons (around £300’s worth a week) and ALL of our fruit and veg stock from Pawsons (around £100’s worth). Both, very good, local, independent traders. I could use a supermarket chain and get this stuff delivered, but I choose not to, because I support local traders as much as possible, and frankly, their produce is better. If the supermarkets are muscling local traders out of business, how come people like this can survive and thrive?

    AW: We won’t be better off when there’s no alternative to Tesco, what choice or competition will there be?

    DT: I don’t believe that’ll ever happen. If you do, then your frothing at the mouth is perhaps somewhat justified. I can’t see it ever being the case though. I’ve travelled around the US pretty extensively, (as an aside) I was even in NYC (Manhatten) on 9/11 day in 2001. Even in NYC there are plenty of independents. I’ve seen many ‘Mom and Pop’ stores in Florida, California and Arizona too. It’s just human nature to want diversity, and all of this in the world’s largest, and most hated capitalist empire!

    AW: And how many stores do they need in Bristol? when will they be happy?

    DT: Again, that’s not really a relevant premise on which to base a question. The Tesco in question is there because it will fulfill new, local demand; right now, the 300 people in the Linden development (from June 10). Probably, another 300 or so in the Carriage Works/Westmoreland House development when that’s built too. All Tesco is doing is catering for local demand. Their own business model doesn’t rely on gaining business from other local stores, it simply looks at the demographics of an area, the density of population and calculates whether this is sufficient to operate a commercially viable local store.

    I get especially riled when I see people like Claire Milne making proposterously weak (and false) arguments about her hypoglaecemia being down to Supermarkets selling her parents junk food when she was a child. (I sell alcohol. Does that make me responsible for people that consume it irresponsibly and fall ill as a result?) I also get irritated when I see the PRSC publishing ‘results’ that say stuff like 96% of 700 people surveyed don’t want a Tesco in SC. Why? Because Ms Milne and co. have simply gone off and got the survery results they wanted by asking the ‘right’ people. I don’t doubt that the majority of that 96% came from the petition in the Radford Mill Farm shop. (That’s akin to asking an Africaans farmer in Zimbabwe if they’d vote for Robert Mugabe!) What about all the people ‘on the other side of the tracks’? Arley Hill, Lower Redland Road, Sydenham Road/Lane etc. I bet I could easily find more than 700 who would want a Tesco from this locale if I had time. And don’t they have as much right to want a local, clean, cheap, convenient express-style supermarket as those that don’t? If you’re talking about consulting the community, you really need to be all-inclusive here. The notion that NO-ONE wants a Tesco is a complete myth and not even part-way truthful. It has annoyed me sufficiently to spend way more time blogging on the issue than I can really afford.

    AW: Do you really think the opposition to the likes of Tesco is simply from troublemakers that have nothing better to do? because if you do you’re doing yourself a disservice.

    DT: No of course not, but they make such an easy target, and do the anti-Tesco brigade a huge disservice themselves.

    AW: Up and down the UK there’s increasing local opposition to these developments by a broad range of people and they’re getting better at winning.

    DT: It’s opposition to BIG supermarkets that people object to. It’s not legal (from a planning law perspective) to object to a specific company or organisation.

    I didn’t especially oppose it, but I was far more sympathetic to the BOGOF campaign against a big supermarket development further up Gloucester Road. That was run by sensible, rational people, who made valid points in a calm and collected manner. That’s way more attractive and voter-friendly than a bunch of angry, smelly kids that squat, protest and then cost us taxpayers £60K to police having them removed. And then think that they’re some kind of local heroes. It was juvenile, pathetic and by becoming their allies, the Anti-Tesco brigade simply lost any credibility.

    AW: They expose the Tesco underhand tactics e.g Catchment areas within 30 minute drive. Then you find out there’s actually another store in the opposite direction with less than a 30 minute drive. Another one is this job creation nonsense, it is in fact job displacement.

    DT: I disagree. You can’t deny that Tesco will create new jobs. If some local traders shut down, then some will lose for sure, but I doubt there’ll be more job losses than the number created in SC.

    And herein lies another very important point that Gilly (Woo) Cockwell made so well. It’s only the crap local traders that’ll suffer. I’ve avoided mentioning them by name in my previous blogs because I felt it was unfair, but we all know who they are. If you’re going to run a food shop, then the least you can do is make it clean. There are shops on SC I won’t set foot in for that very reason. If they disappear, then I won’t have any sympathy with the owners at all – they’ve taken the piss for far too long. I’ve always maintained that the good shops will in fact thrive in Tesco’s wake, and a local Tesco will only serve to exaggerate their uniqueness. My eternal point stands that Scoopaway and The Bread Store on Gloucester Road (as a couple of examples amongst many) are both within a few yards of supermarkets, yet do fantastic trade. Why would it be such a problem for Herberts, Licata, Radford Mill et al to co-exist with Tesco?

    AW: Here’s some, hopefully enlightening, info from another protest site [Keep Mach Special}

    A report commissioned for another market town, Abergavenny, found that local traders are more vulnerable than previously thought when a supermarket comes in. Although turnover might reduce only a little, the knock-on effect on profit is 3 times greater:

    Turnover down 5% – Net profit down 16%
    Turnover down 7.5% – Net profit down 23%
    Turnover down 10% – Net profit down 31%
    Turnover down 12.5% – Net profit down 39%

    Most local traders run close to the wind in this respect, and this helps explain the ‘ghost town’ phenomenon that often follows the invasion of a supermarket.

    DT: I am sure this is all credible stuff. The problem I have with it is twofold. 1) Abergavenny isn’t Stokes Croft; the demographics and population densities are different everywhere, therefore it is impossible to attach these statistics in any meaningful way to another area. The only valid conclusion to draw is that increased competition will squeeze margins and probably turnover, and that’s true of any competitive situation – it’s basic economics. In Stokes Croft, your beloved Canteen has done exactly the same to The Croft, The Pipe and Slippers and The Old England (I know this for a fact). But that’s ok of course because it’s good old George Ferguson… So is it so unfair that Tesco is so good at what it does? 2) Corporates aren’t unbeatable. I like to think that I played a very big part in the closure of Jongleurs in Bristol. I certainly proved that I could exist with them, albeit on reduced turnover and profit in the old venue.

    AW: And another report …………

    The report looked at six small towns – Porthmadog in Gwynedd, Ruthin in Denbighshire, Ellesmere in Shropshire, Beverley in East Yorkshire, Stalham in Norfolk and Skipton in North Yorkshire – and investigated whether the introduction of a new Tesco store reduced unemployment in the towns.
    The findings of the report by Richard Stankiewicz of the Spatial Analysis Team of Barnsley Council said: “The opening of supermarkets did not boost the labour market of any of the six towns sampled in terms of claimant count unemployment, despite hundreds of jobs being claimed to be created.”

    DT: See previous point.

    AW: Why do you think Tesco spends so much on PR companies?

    DT: Because they can. It’s in any company’s interest to promote themselves and be seen in the best possible light. We both know this of course, but your point is to imply that they’re lying isn’t it? If so, I compare the Tesco PR with the nonsense that Claire Milne, the squatters, and many of the anti-Tesco brigade has come up with. I don’t think I have ever seen such a poor set of arguments demonstrating a distinct lack of joined-up thinking in my life. They have exaggerated claims and made up ludicrous nonsense to back themselves. They might do worse than learning from the Tesco PR machine!

    I could go on with quotes, reports and links but I have to drag myself from this PC and do some work.
    We should all be sticking together to counter the voracious corporate greed that sees our communities destroyed and divided not at each others throats.

    DT: Alexis, if I believed for one moment that the arrival of Tesco in SC would do any of those things, I would have been the champion of your cause. I’m pretty good at marketing, PR and debate, even if I say so myself. What I’m also good at, is taking a helicopter view of things. Tesco in SC will invest in their building by restoring it back to its Edwardian splendour. This is in complete keeping with the council’s vision for the area. (I was offered a 75% grant to do this myself, but at that time it didn’t suit my needs and I had other things that my 25% needed spending on then). This means that that building and the one next to it, will look great again. That, in my view, is a positive thing to happen. It’ll possibly slow down the fast-paced march of those that keep their heads low and their headphones firmly in their ears as they walk home from work through SC. Some of them might just stop to pick up some groceries, even if it is from Tesco – they sure wouldn’t have stopped at any of the other local stores!

    If we could get Tesco on board with it, they do run local community schemes, and will happily advertise local services. Why not play on everything they have to offer rather than treating them like the bubonic plague? It’s the next best thing once you accept that they’re here to stay. I’d happily act as the conduit for that, as I doubt any of ‘your lot’ would be able to bring themselves to ask without spitting in the manager’s face.

    AW: I live in hope…………..

    DT: Me too – the hope that people in SC will actually co-exist, rather than just talk about it, or use that term as some kind of self-righteous platitude. I see the hatred of corporations almost in the same way that I see people that are racist. Quite a big concept I realise, but there are many similarities, not least of which are the ones based on fear, prejudice and loathing, that when you strip back the arguments are inevitably ill-founded and weak.

  20. Mr Smith permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:32 am

    @DT

    Top work, I like the balanced reply you got after all that. Oh, hang on….

  21. April 14, 2010 9:49 am

    Surely there’s been enough ‘debate’ here? after all how can this issue get any further with such entrenched & prejudiced attitudes?
    The so called ‘good PR’ is in fact very easily seen through, by give aways such as inferring that the other side is lying and supported by a bunch of smelly kids “squatters, trustafarians, tortured artists, anti-capitalists” etc. It’s all very neatly set out and looks like it’s had a lot of time & thought put into careful replies but you just can’t help revealing your prejudice against those in your own community who have a different value system to corporate Britain and its well paid lackeys . You seem to have such an elevated sense of righteousness it must be the only way you can spend time in your own community whilst looking down your nose at those that don’t fit in to your scheme of things.
    What could possibly be your motive? not money by any chance?
    I expect that you will, in time, sell up and sell out once again when you have extracted as much from the community as possible and then disappear to a leafy suburb or become a much resented ex pat in some far away country living off your spoils and carry on looking down on the local residents that don’t fit in.
    I for one, will always help prevent these so called ‘developments’ and if they do go ahead I will carry on and encourage a boycott of Tesco and other businesses that support the destruction of our culture and communities.

  22. April 14, 2010 12:11 pm

    Alexis, do you not understand that you’re demonstrating your very own prejudices here in all their glory?

    You make it sound as if making money, or living in a leafy suburb is something I should be ashamed of. And so what if I choose to move abroad? (For the record I have no plans to do so…) At your somewhat immature level of reasoning however, I would at least say that I’d done my bit for SC, having spent 15 years of my life investing in it through three businesses; Jesters, The Croft (which I owned from 1999 to 2007) and now Metropolis. I feel that that gives me the right to comment and have a credible opinion upon its development, as I see fit.

    Levelling accusations of self-righteousness is extremely ripe coming from someone whose value system extends to merely attacking anyone with different views to their own on the basis that they have some kind of moral superiority. I’d also be very interested to know exactly how you plan to make a success of your own ‘bespoke manufacturing business’ too if profit isn’t one of your objectives.

    As someone who is passionate about my own work, keen to see SC move out of its Dickensian Britain image, and be a hub for everyone of all shapes and persuasions (including political biases), I thoroughly object to those of you who tell the people that actually contribute the most, exactly how ‘their’ SC should be, and then berating them for disagreeing. It’s so easy joining protest groups and hurling insults and abuse from a distance isn’t it? What a perfect platform for launching your own small-mindedness and prejudices without having to qualify or justify anything through your own efforts, other than those efforts that are merely protest itself?

    To make statements like “Tesco and other businesses that support the destruction of our culture and communities” is barely credible and even bordering on libelous. Where we shop hardly counts as our culture, howsoever you define ‘culture’. Big business has been around since the days of Henry Ford. It provides mass employment and benefits for many. Try imposing your values of ‘culture’ on those that rely on their incomes from corporates to create their own culture. See how far you get.

    Perhaps the thing that grates the most is that you can’t be bothered to open your eyes and take a good look at the real picture – Google and a host of counter-culture reports you can find tucked away in the seedy recesses of the internet will do for you.

    Time after time (in the real world) you will find examples of how the introduction of affordable residences, (Linden and the proposed Carriage Works/WM House scheme for example), and the uptake of unused commercial space will increase footfall in any area and therefore trade for everyone. Improving an area’s image also brings huge benefits in increased trade. I say again, only because you absolutely choose to ignore the seemingly blatant fact, that corporates can sit with independents in perfect harmony, and in fact, be of benefit to them, if their presence is treated in the right way. Applying general big-store-Tesco ideologies to the situation of their opening a minnow store in SC is a false comparison, and I believe you know that.

    You’re more than welcome to your boycott – it’s entirely your prerogative of course. I am sure you won’t be alone, and I am sure you’ll win much respect and support amongst your peer group. As for the impact on Stokes Croft, Tesco itself, and those that would welcome a clean, well-run supermarket, I doubt you’ll even make a small dent. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself will work, though I might suggest some anger management and some business education. You might also want to stop chucking your very eloquent insults around. Disagree with you as I do, I still recognise that you’re far more effective when you use reason over abuse, and avoid displays of your distaste for anyone that might wish to work hard to make life better for themselves and their family, even if that does mean earning more cash.

    You should know that I’m quite happy to live with anyone of any persuasion, so long as they don’t start dictating to me and the other hard-working business owners, exactly what their terms of approval are. I’m not interested, and nor are my fellow entrepreneurs, but the day that they start to rattle my cage, then they should expect me to rattle theirs back.

    For your next project, I hear rumours of a Costa Coffe shop opening up somewhere around Turbo island. If it’s true, your forthcoming vitriol, doubtlessly, will be most entertaining.

  23. April 14, 2010 12:36 pm

    Alexis – one other thing…

    If your definition of me “extracting as much from the community as possible” can be defined as:

    i) investing a million quid in a derelict Wetherspoons pub to return it to a premier entertainments venue,

    ii) taking over a pub on its knees (The Bristol Brewhouse as it was then) and creating a viable business (now called The Croft) that I eventually sold to its managers, thus ‘keeping it in the community’

    and

    iii) buying up an Asian Cultural Club that had gone bust (The Malaap) and turning it into a viable comedy club (Jesters), and one of only seven in the country at that time,

    then yes, what a user of the community I am!

    What’s your contribution exactly?

  24. April 14, 2010 12:45 pm

    Hi Dave, I think you’re not quite undersanding me.
    The point I am making about you and your ‘morally upright’ justifications is that you have no long term investment in the community or it’s culture but just a short term grab and run mentality where building ‘my pile’ is king. The only way to do this and live with yourself is to treat others with such a sneering contempt terming them unclean, no good trouble makers.
    What is Bristol famous for? it’s culture or the 30 or so Tesco stores?
    Stop decieving yourself Dave, you’re thin arguments do little to disguise your lack of commitment to Stokes Croft & it’s people. It’s all about scrambling to the top of the pile and treading on anyone that’s to weak or poor to get out of the way. How hard it is to resist that open check book aye!

  25. April 14, 2010 1:05 pm

    I refer you to my last blog to expose the tragedy that your last comment is.

    You are so narrow-minded and have such an inflexible view of both me, and my work in SC that you resort to making an ill-founded, weak, and poorly-researched case that I am sort sort of looter of the community. Does that make anyone that objects to squatters and runs their own business in SC the same then? And how long does a long-term investment have to be? I’m not moving out any time soon and I’ve been here 15 years already. Do you have some sort of mental illness? Seriously?

    Grow up Alexis or at least sort out your anger. And if I were you, I’d go back to using a spell-checker. You’re right, you’re not so good without it are you?

  26. April 14, 2010 1:13 pm

    Open cheque book? I wish…

  27. December 25, 2010 12:00 pm

    Tesco need bringing down a peg or two. They buy up land to stop others developing sites, they use their dominant position in the market place to screw down prices to their suppliers and they sell so many own brand items, you can’t often find the original best known brand – only the Tesco rip-off version. I applaud the squatters in this instance.
    It’s another thing squatting other people’s houses of course and for owners that can be a nightmare. If anyone does have squatters, a good resource on evicting squatters, the law and how to get rid of them can be found at this top site for evicting squatters

  28. Ellen permalink
    January 10, 2011 8:25 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Anthony! Great website. We’re having a nightmare with squatters in my parents’ house in Montpelier at the moment and it’s terrible. My mum has a heart condition, they’re doing her out of a place to live … but they don’t care because it’s certainly easier to climb a ladder, break a window and take someone else’s life-savings than work to pay for an abode. And it wasn’t ‘derelict’ you simpletons, it was being worked on, slowly, as we raised the cash to do it up to a standard fit for my Ma.

    Anyway, I digress. I have lived on Stokes Croft (just behind the Bell) for two years and work most weeks (due to the nature of my job) from 10am-7pm in Brislington. I also have a medical condition (hi, Claire Milne!) which forces me to eat a restricted diet. Funnily enough, none of the ‘grocery’ stores around Stokes Croft – you know the ones, where you buy booze and fags until 5am – happen to stock a range of foods suitable for me, unless you count filthy bottom shelf vegetables in various states of decay.

    I love to spend my Saturdays strolling around Scoop Away, Herbert’s and Pawson’s, stopping for a pint at the Pipe, but sadly this is not an option on a day-to-day, mid-week basis for most people with full-time jobs.

    I agree that some of Tesco’s practices are unethical, and it’s a shame that they noticed this glaring gap in the local market before any savvy small businesses stepped up to the plate, but to claim that ‘the people’ of Stokes Croft don’t want or need one is at best intolerant of others’ views, and at worst a right-wing dictatorial standpoint.

Trackbacks

  1. ‘For Lambros’ – Bristol commemorates Greek anarchist killed by police « Bristle’s Blog from the BunKRS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: