No Tesco in Stokes Croft

Last night’s meeting 

About 200 gather in Stokes Croft, Bristol to discuss the shock-news of Tesco opening a soulless supermarket in the area.

Not so fast, o supermarket giant – the local people of Stokes Croft want a say.

Local communities need local shops, not another soulless chain that swallows resources.

The intended site is a comedy club – they must be joking, as the campaign headline on Facebook says.

The area Tesco has chosen to site its 32nd supermarket in Bristol is Stokes Croft near St Paul’s.

The home territory of The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft which trials new ideas and celebrates creativity.

The very opposite of Tescopolis.

Supermarkets kill local business. The small shopkeeper does not survive.

The tragedy is Stokes Croft is an increasingly happening place.

Take Canteen, which serves seasonal and local food at affordable prices, hosts great music nights and is designed by award-winning architect, George Ferguson, above newly-reclaimed office space at Hamilton House run by Co-Exist.

Tesco’s planning application to change the use “from stand-up comedy venue to shop” was done under another name last November.

The minimum of public consultation took place – no responses were received – so no one knew until last week that Bristol County Council had given Tesco permission to set up shop.

Not even St Paul’s Unlimited, the body set up by Bristol City Council “to provide an open, accountable, community-led organisation to advocate and lobby for the community of St Paul’s”.

There is still time to stop the supermarket which by the way already has a Metro Express five minutes from the proposed site.

According to Rachael Marmite of the Planning Club (she knows her stuff …and how to explain it in plain English), the Bristol City City Council planning officer said:

“An inordinate amount of (responses) could rescind change of use.”

So lots of responses are planned, including surveying local traders and neighbours, petitions, lobbying councillors and a pledge bank.

Find out the latest at the No to Tesco in Stokes Croft campaign website.

And get general campaign material and advice from Tescopoly.

The people of Stokes Croft want a meaningful consultation.

Being a creative community, expect some street theatre along the way.

“If we all make an effort, it will be easier to achieve,” says co-organiser, Claire, at the first meeting last night.

“Every little helps,” added someone else in the audience, to laughter.

24 responses to “No Tesco in Stokes Croft

  1. The first I’ve heard of it but it would be a disaster. Tesco isn’t about choice it’s about the opposite of choice.
    They know that the only way they can move forward is to make sure that no-one else can acquire properties with the potential to compete with them. I don’t go there any more.
    If this doesn’t stop, they’ll become the only retailer in the country and then we’ll only eat what they tell us we can.
    Not only should we boycott Tesco, we should also make our feelings known to the planning authorities, which I intend to do.


  2. Thank you so much, Paul, for explaining your reasons for sharing the shock. Do you have all you need to register your objections to the planning authorities?

    Here is the link to the two relevant councillors.


  3. to Elisabeth and anyone else either present last night or supporting this = BRILLIANT! I’m sorry I couldn’t have been with you but I will be in future and am most certainly ‘with you’ wholeheartedly – have been fighting tescopolisation for a decade now. Great initiative – keep it up & well done – what a fantastic turn out.

    Cllr Ricky Knight.
    Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West

    Home: 01271 371732
    Mob: 07986 941 026


  4. Thanks. I have a friend too who might be able to help.
    I’ll check your blog.
    Good luck!


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  6. Our small market town has been slowly dying since the big supermarket arrived. It didn’t happen immediately, but over the years there are more and more empty shops and one whole street of old shops is now virtually residential. Our high street is empty of people most of the time, yet if you go past the supermarket on the edge of town the car park is always full! This is a tragedy for local employment, the local economy and for local producers.


  7. The first I’ve heard of this too. Shows how underhanded they’ve become. Tesco’s should be broken up and their outlets given back to local traders. I too have been fighting Tesco’s from time to time over the years. I was active with the Greens long ago when there was a campaign to stop Tesco’s building a superstore on greenfield land at Golden Hill (of course, they won in the end). This should definitely be opposed and I think it’s time to organise a larger city wide campaign against Tesco’s. They are destroying our city, local traders, and farmers. There must be a case now for referring this to the Monopolies Commission, quite apart from anything else.


  8. Thank you, Geoff – I remember the protest at Golden Hill well and how sad it was when the beautiful old trees got chopped down – I think of this every time I pass Tesco’s at Golden Hill.

    Choclette, thank you, for your giving us the barren reality of what happens when a giant supermarket comes to a market town.

    Ricky, keep up the good work with the Greens – we need you!

    Join the Green Party here


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  10. This blog on Tesco’s got 85 views so far.


  11. Hi Elizabeth, In my part of London we are blessed with lots of small, local shops, great Turkish greengrocers and little family run delis. We were horrified a couple of years ago when Tesco declared they were opening up. There was a lot of protest but they were just too powerful for us. Their presence has had an adverse effect on local traders, but they struggle on and have devised systems to cope with the retail bully boys. Local shops have joined together to buy basics like milk so they can purchase them more cheaply and pass on the savings to their customers. Fruit and veg is still better, more varied and cheaper in the local shops, so many customers vote with their feet. The hideous Tesco never looks very busy when I walk past, which is pleasing. I realise in cities where people have more choice it’s easier to ‘protest shop’ elsewhere. It’s so much more difficult for a handful of traders to hold out in smaller communities. Beyond depressing.


  12. I live in Bedminster where Bristol City Football Club are looking for a buyer for their Ashton Gate site when they move to their new stadium. Tesco was their first choice against much local opposition. Their application was withdrawn on the eve of the hearing but has been replaced by one from Sainsbury who wish to relocate from Winterstoke Road. We are waiting for the outline plans but I don’t imagine they will be any more acceptable than Tesco’s. It’s high time the supermarkets’ stranglehold on our high streets was broken and that a more sustainable economy was allowed to develop. I wish you success in your campaign and will follow it with interest.


  13. Thank you for your support, Just Gai. I find it incredible that supermarkets can override the wishes of local people.

    Something is wrong with the planning process if this can happen.

    Can Sustainability South West help Bristol City Council see the (green) light? Supermarkets with long supply chains, whose very existence depends on food travelling thousands of miles (supermarkets don’t store food locally), are part of the problem, not the eco-solution. They squeeze prices for farmers, waste huge amounts of food and undermine local traders with their ILLUSION of cheapness.

    Hi, Licked Spoon. It is sad to hear of yet another supermarket driving away vibrant local trade but heartening to hear how the traders have banded together to form a buying group.

    Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, have more information on how to set up a food buying group.


  14. I was at the meeting – here is my take

    Paul Smith
    Labour Party Candidate for Bristol West

    The Council have also given Tesco permission to block the pavement with their hoardings


  15. I spoke to a friend in planning (who has no axe to grind) who says that there’s not much we can do about the planning aspects as it’s a perfectly reasonable use of the site (if only in planning terms). They appear to have no remit to try to maintain a balance of shopping in the High Street. One query about the site is surely parking? It’s obviously not intended to be a very big store but so many people still drive to shops – could that be a valid objection?


    • Apparently there is one more (minor) planning hurdle that Tesco’s has to jump before full approval is given. Called Planning and Policy Guidance no 8 Shopfronts (from my notes), it seems Tesco already breaches much of the guidance.


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  17. When’s Tesco opening? Can’t wait, it’ll make a interesting additional choice from the hippie food on Picton St.


    • Hi Dave, thank you for your comment. No need to wait for a new Tesco as there is one already, just ten minutes from Picton Street, on Marlborough Street opposite the Bus Station.

      For those who do not know Picton Street in Montepelier, Bristol, let me explain that it has three wonderful food shops:

      Licata, the family-run Italian delicatessen that sells everything from fresh produce including fresh herbs to a wonderful array of Italian olive oils, wines, tinned beans and fish, olives, ham, salami etc – all at extremely reasonable prices;

      Radford Mill organic farm shop with produce straight from the local organic farm as well as wholefood staples, organic dairy, fish, and freshly made flans and cakes;

      – the family-run mini-supermarket on the corner which is open until very late, sells everything you need from a well-stocked convenience store as well as fresh produce and some organic items. These shops provide a real community service, knows its locals and (in the case of the latter two) has community noticeboards.

      While on Picton Street, do check out the Bristolian cafe for a fab fry-up, or have a homemade smoothie and sit-down in the Radford Mill shop, or grab a fresh pita and hummus take-away from the take-away. (I will add in missing shop names, in due course).

      If a transnational such as Tesco’s moves in nearby, research shows independent shops such as the ones in Picton Street are at severe risk of closing down. Small shops do not have the economies of scale to compete with a giant supermarket.

      Instead of another Tesco on Cheltenham Road, I think we would do better to promote Picton Street, the street-behind-it – so many thanks, Dave, for this opportunity to do so.


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  19. I am proud to say I have been banned for life from all Tescos after taking action against Golden Hill Tescos back in the 1990s.

    Keep up your campaign against Tescopoly


  20. Pingback: No Tesco in Stokes Croft fundraising party – Chance to win a Banksy! | Real Food Lover

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