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NO TESCO SHOWDOWN WEDS. DEC. 8th 2pm, Council House, College Green.

December 7, 2010

The No Tesco In Stokes Croft campaign rolls into the Council House on Wednesday for what looks like being the Final show down. Tesco continues its obdurate stance, with 24 hour security guards at the former Jesters, presumably in fear of the community they profess to wish to serve, looking every inch like robber barons of yore. Having taken control of their property by subterfuge,  they now hope to push home their sneakily-gained advantage, using our current  planning laws which are clearly, “Not fit for purpose“.

The No Tesco campaign has given to our Councillors sufficient reason to refuse Tesco permission to open in Stokes Croft. The City Planning Dept. has recommended in favour of Tesco.

Wednesday is the day that our elected Councillors must decide whether they will respect the demands of the people whom they were elected to serve, or whether they will side with corporate business, bending to the might of the multinationals who are in the process of crushing diversity everywhere.


It seems that the Law is set to change: “Big Society ” is the Coalition’s Big New Idea

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said this very week:

“For far too long local people have had too little say over a planning system that has imposed bureaucratic decisions by distant officials in Whitehall and the town hall. We need to change things so there is more people-planning and less politician-planning, so there is more direct democracy and less bureaucracy in the system. These reforms will become the building blocks of the Big Society.”

Greg Clark, Minister for Planning and Decentralisation, added:

“Most people love where they live, yet the planning system has given them almost no say on how their neighbourhood develops. The Coalition Government will revolutionise the planning process by taking power away from officials and putting it into the hands of those who know most about their neighbourhood – local people themselves. This will be a huge opportunity for communities to exercise genuine influence over what their home town should look like in the future. It will create the freedom and the incentives for those places that want to grow, to do so, and to reap the benefits. It’s a reason to say yes.”


Our councillors must take account of the way the wind is blowing, listen to the people, and refuse Tesco.

If you wish to speak at the council meeting, you must e-mail before 1200 Tuesday 7th

See below, a passionate submission from Rachael Marmite.

Dear Councillors,

I urge you to refuse permission to Tesco Plc to open at 138-142 Cheltenham Road. Do not grant them external works permission and do not allow them lit signs.

I was at the meeting 22nd September. I have been vehemently against the proposed Tesco from the moment I learned Tesco had put in for advertising consent, after they’d sneakily got G.L.Hearn (Bath address, nice touch!) to apply for Change of Use so that no-one saw Tesco coming.

I commend the squatters who squatted the old Jesters to buy us time in this ‘democratic’ process. I thank them for being willing and able to sit tight and go to court and make the point. If Jesters hadn’t been squatted and Claire and the others hadn’t freely given their time to mount, manage and maintain this long campaign to inform local people, this and other meetings like it would have been taken care of in private. The planners would have worked with Tesco to ensure that their application met all the ‘important’ criteria and already there would be Tesco carrier bags wafting in the gutters.

I have an academic interest in planning and how our city, our global village, develops. In the current economic climate, I recognise that councils, are skint. The Government has spent all the money they took from us on banks, and bankers don’t give a monkey’s what happens because they have private doctors and helicopters and whole temperate islands to which they can escape when people start fighting and being locked up over food again. And this will happen when we have no choice but to buy our food [medicine, clothes, hardware, gadgets, insurance, houses] from wherever Tesco Plc choose to source it, under whatever working/environmental/welfare conditions Tesco Plc dictates.

I would like to see all the independent shops open hours as they do in places like Italy. 7am-midday, close for five hours, 4-9pm. Ideally, this would be made easier by businesses being charged rates that reflect how local, ethical and sustainable the business proved itself to be. In the course of ‘having my say’ over this application, I have had to read a lot of waffly documents that imply such criteria are already being considered and taken seriously by our town planners and council leaders, but I see no evidence of this whatsoever in the recommendations being made in this case.

I understand how tempting it must be to eat from the hand that offers you cash for infrastructure, highways, schools, football stadiums and public art. Let’s face it! Even if the Government does promise to give you money to run stuff, the likelihood is, they’re lying or that they can revoke their promise, which is the same thing. When a nice lady from a big shiny company comes along and offers you ‘jobs’ and ‘community boards’ and ‘convenience’, it must be very hard to say, ‘no, thanks for the offer but our constituents don’t want you here’. With all the planning applications you get, I can understand why you might not devour every noise report with enthusiasm but we have highlighted inconsistencies. Claire and the team have done the work to make it possible for you to legally say NO TO TESCO. Be stronger councillors! You became a councillor because you cared and wanted to make a difference! It takes a person with guts to stand up and make the harder choice. This is your opportunity to be our elected representatives. Do it! SAY NO TO TESCO.

You can cite the extremely dodgy looking noise report, the rape of a historic frontage, the monopolisation of food retail in the centre of Bristol, the genuinely dangerous position cyclists and bus users will be put in when there are six lorries a day parked in their cycle/bus lane and the decimation of the planet as your reasons for saying NO TO TESCO. Enough is enough.

I won’t just roll over, give up and let ancient skills such as farming and land cultivation be wiped out in my country by greedy corporates. Unfortunately for you, you are in the middle. If writing accurate emails to the right address, within the deadline, doesn’t work and if you continue to fob me off and expect me to behave, I will have to find other ways to make you hear. I am not alone in this feeling. I am not violent and don’t believe in using violence to get my way but I am creative and happy to break some laws, if necessary. And if the Tory-lition lock me up for protesting over something as serious as food and farming, I’ll just have more time to write about it.

Thank you for reading my email.

Yours sincerely,



Below: No Tesco protestors show how the road will be blocked
by Tesco delivery vehicles


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Consultation Team permalink
    December 7, 2010 1:20 pm

    Wednesday’s planning meeting to further discuss the proposed Tesco Express on the former Jesters site will be webcast live on the internet.

    If you cannot attend the meeting, you can watch it at

  2. David Trew permalink
    December 7, 2010 1:52 pm

    Yet again, the complete and utter dogma and blindness of this campaign astonishes me.

    Having had commissioned, and read several noise reports myself, the one Tesco had commissioned was one of the most professional I have ever seen – they even included the noise ratings of the exact equipment intended to be used, from within acoustic chambers at the manufacturer’s premises. It only looked dodgy to Ms Marmite and co because they refurse to believe its findings or simply don’t have the brains to understand it. Perhaps it’s a case of ‘none so blind as those that don’t want to see’ (or hear in this case…).

    And since when did people rightfully defending illegal squatting of, and entry to their premises become “robber barons of yore”? It’s a fascinating irony that the very people who accuse Tesco of circumventing planning law to gain consent, are the same people that completely ignore the law when they make objections against the Tesco consent. Rachael Marmite’s letter reads like nothing more than an act of defiance in the face of imminent defeat for this long and pointless campaign.

    I doubt any of the proposed changes to the law, as quoted by Greg Clark, even if they become legislation, would have any bearing on the ability of anyone to object to a company or organisation based upon their prejudices against it. Nowhere in this process, to their credit, has Tesco ever bothered getting down in the gutter with the left whingers to defend their company practices.

    A clean, tidy, low-priced, well-managed food retailer is due to open in Cheltenham Road. Hallelujah

  3. David Trew permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:29 am

    This piece was particularly hilarious in its inaccuracy, blind dogma, and politically blinkered bias.

    “You can cite the extremely dodgy looking noise report, the rape of a historic frontage, the monopolisation of food retail in the centre of Bristol, the genuinely dangerous position cyclists and bus users will be put in when there are six lorries a day parked in their cycle/bus lane and the decimation of the planet as your reasons for saying NO TO TESCO. Enough is enough”

    1. The noise report was accurate, professional, and one of the best I’ve ever seen. And I’ve read many. It was nothing less than I would have expected from professional noise consultants who probably charged about £10k for that, given the depth it went into.
    2. “rape of a historic frontage…” Really? Old Jesters at 140-142 is NOT a historic frontage. Go study pictures of Edwardian/Victorian shop frontages and you’ll see this. Sadly for you Rachael, Tesco’s plans for a new frontage are completely in keeping with how the building was orginally designed and looked in its day. 138 was restored about ten years ago to emulate its original design, and that too, will remain in keeping. So, how come you have made such a ludicrous statement as this? Challenge me by all means, but I once owned both of those buildings, and dealt with the council’s architects when we were looking at restoring them to their original design.
    3. “Monopolisation of food retail in the centre of Bristol…” Perhaps if you were referring to all the food retail chains, your beloved Co-Op included, (see the one in Baldwin St as exhibit no.1) then perhaps you’d have a point, but to label Tesco with this tag is again, desperately inaccurate. And even if it were the case, using the word “monopolisation” is again, inaccurate. There are many independents and smaller chains the town centre. Take your blinkers off and go have a look.
    4. “The genuine dangerous position of cyclists and bus users….” is another very biased and ill-conceived comment. Take a look at how many buses pick up passengers every hour to see how this affects cyclists who need to ride into the traffic to get round them. Take a look at all the other premises in C Rd that get deliveries from big lorries (we’re one of them). And then take a look at when Tesco is most likely to deliver to that store – it’ll be late at night, just like Somerfield, err, sorry, The Co-Op does on Gloucester Road. And where did you get the 6-lorries-a-day stat from? You’re just making this stuff up aren’t you?
    5. You round off with typical, and tiresome green hysteria – “the decimation of our planet…” So this is all down to the chain food retailers is it? Tell me Rachael, what is your solution for feeding 60 million people on a small island like the UK? Turning production over to small farms, in the name of fairness and community? If so, you are both naive and delusional.

    In general, your letter to the council demonstrates almost perfectly just how the NT mob has so completely missed the point, read planning law as if it applies solely to them and their prejudices against Tesco, and then made up outright statistical lies, weak and inaccurate arguments, and diseminated misinformation to bolster their position. Sadly, those with a more balanced approach see through all of this. The city’s councillors are exactly these dreadful people with balanced minds who don’t listen to whinging and prejudice, or at least if they do, with deaf ears and lip service.

    I’d expect to lose again tomorrow if I were you, though I kinda think you know that already…

  4. Jonny permalink
    December 8, 2010 7:02 pm

    I agree with the objection to Tesco in Stokes Croft in principle, but where was all the hue and cry when Sainsbury’s opened a few yards up the road?

  5. Carla permalink
    December 23, 2010 12:17 am


    There was a movement to stop the Sainsbury’s on Gloucester Road, it’s a shame you didn’t hear about it. Dozens of us local residents wrote to the council in objection of the licensing application. And we went to the council hearing to make our points. Admittedly it wasn’t as high profile as this No Tesco campaign, but that’s mainly because the Sainsbury’s (ex-Threshers) premises was a shop before, so there was no need for Sainsbury’s to apply for planning permission change of use, they only had to apply to renew the alcohol license. So there was little grounds on which we were allowed to object. This is a fault of the planning system, because it does not distinguish between different types of shop. The licensing laws also works on a much smaller radius of what counts as a ‘local resident’ so they rejected letters from anyone who lived more than a few hundred metres away. For this reason, it was not worth us trying to make this a huge campaign like the Tesco one.

    Jonny, please remember that we are all individual citizens of this world. The No Tesco campaign is not a single entity like Tesco itself is. So no one of us can answer on behalf of everyone else why there was no “hue and cry” over Sainsbury’s. I can only answer for myself – I poured weeks of work into trying to stop Sainsbury’s. It took over most of my spare time this summer. Why did other people (presumably including you, since you’re asking) not put so much into it? You’ll have to ask them, and yourself.

  6. bark0dellll permalink
    April 27, 2011 6:35 pm




  1. Bristol – Stokes Croft | A sailor's escape.

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