No Tesco in Stokes Croft fundraising party – Chance to win a Banksy!

Here (above left) is breakfast, a sourdough loaf from the Stokes Croft pop-up bakery (above right), just across the road from the famously-unwanted Tesco.

“A year ago these streets were the scene of riots following the bitterly opposed opening of a Tesco store. Twelve months on, Stokes Croft, Bristol’s most bohemian neighbourhood, is booming,” wrote Stephen Morris in the Guardian earlier this week.

In a debate in parliament on 17 January 2012, Stephen Williams MP said:

“I am probably the only Member in the Chamber who has experienced a riot in his constituency caused by the opening of a branch of Tesco. It took place over the Easter and royal wedding bank holidays in April last year. I certainly do not condone the antics of those constituents, but I very much share their frustration. Large businesses do not work with the grain of local opinion.”

Here’s some background, briefly: Our No Tesco in Stokes Croft campaign, began February 2010 after Tesco arrived in Stokes Croft by stealth.

Against all odds, we took our legal battle as far we could – to judicial review.

We lost – our court costs are £2,126.50.

We are having a fundraising party on Friday 13 April at 7.30 pm with music, poetry and street theatre at 35 Jamaica Street, Bristol BS2 8JP. Join the group on Facebook.

Buy a limited-edition bone china “I Paid The Fine” mug produced by The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, and be part of social history.

Twelve of the 250 mugs will be accompanied by one of the original Banksy posters donated by the graffiti artist as a “commemorative souvenir poster.”

Every campaign, whether you win or lose, is worth its weight in gold for it raises awareness of the issues.

I will be part of a round-table discussion – The High Street Fights Back – at the Natural Product Show this Sunday with campaigning journalist and author, Joanna Blythman.

This month, Tesco withdrew its planning application from Herne in Kent after huge local protest.

Thus, I, like my fellow campaigners, remain

relentlessly optimistic.

STOP PRESS 23 April 2012: Last Mug Sold!

10 responses to “No Tesco in Stokes Croft fundraising party – Chance to win a Banksy!

  1. Don’t forget my e-petitition attracted over 1,300 signatures


  2. Oh Elisabeth, I am so proud of you and your compatriots in your fight against the “big box” machine! In my eyes you are all compassionate winners and you truly led the way for the rest of us to stand up for what is right. I would love to purchase a commemorative mug and help defray the legal costs. Just let me know how I can help! Missing you….Jody Cody


  3. Missing you too, Jody Cody. I would love you to have a mug.

    Gonna buy a few for friends and family….Maybe get P to take it back?


  4. well done, Elizabeth and to everyone who keep sticking their heads way over the parapet. I didn’t support the rioters one jot; I would be outraged if Tesco supporters trashed our wonderful shops. But I share the fury at feeling unheard and over-ruled. Continuing peaceful action takes guts and stamina and demonstrates the strength of character, love and connection that we strive for. Will be buying a mug!


    • Hi Grace

      Thanks so much for your words which mean a lot.

      Thank you so much for recognising the staying power of the campaigners.

      Yes, violence is terrifying. And charity shops got their shop fronts trashed those April nights too. However, I also have to recognise that the dismantling of Tesco that night gave huge publicity to the planning issues in a way (sadly) our peaceful campaign did not. I can’t even get my head round that irony.

      Thanks, thanks, thanks for support! Hope you get a mug OK.




    my e-petition was posted on 11th February 2010, after writing and co-ordinating the co-created content with Elisabeth Winkler & Claire Milne, the closing date of the e-petition was extended to 30/6/2010 and it attracted a total of 1209 signatures!

    As a Service Designer on the Public Services by Design team, I also took the opportunity to constructively criticise the usability of Bristol City Council’s e-petition channel, because they have an IT system that does not ‘serve’ the needs of the ‘customer’ as my email below illustrates…

    To Michael Brewin:
    “Following your contact suggestions, I spoke with Richard Jones – Democratic Services Team leader and Nigel Butler – Area Planning Co-ordinator – who were both very helpful.
    Learning from my conversations, it seems that those who supported my ePetition cannot technically be informed by email of subsequent and related planning applications by the current IT system and so the onus is on the lead-petitioner (me) as co-owner of that private data to do so, if required. This is disappointing for a Council IT system, that can gather raw data and yet cannot manipulate it effectively in all the ways that the City’s epetitioners or other stake holders would value…”

    I then had to personally thank all 1209 people via email as the system could not do so.

    On behalf of the campaign co-ordinators, a big thanks to all (1,209) of you, who were motivated to lend your support to “Say ‘NO’ to TESCO in Stokes Croft – we demand meaningful consultation” by signing the ePetition. Since the close of the ePetition, there have been new planning applications by Tesco, which you may be interested to learn about and challenge.

    I have discovered that Bristol Council may not have contacted you by letter recently, as they did all those that submitted a paper petition, so I am emailing you directly *** just this once *** to point you in the direction of the campaign website which will help you, by providing all the information you need to continue showing your support to this important campaign and help stop Tesco obtaining planning permission to build a new supermarket in Stokes Croft.

    Spread the word to all your friends and neighbours. The more people that object the more likely we will stop Tesco.

    On behalf of the campaign co-ordinators, many thanks for your continuing support!

    Lead ePetitioner

    P.S. Sending an e-mail to a group is a great method of communicating a single message to numerous people. However, to retain your confidentiality, Bcc has been used so that your email address has not been disclosed to any other recipients.”

    So yes, I think I played my part in trying to stop Tesco…
    Richard Arnott @servicejunkie


    • Thanks so much, Richard. That was a crucial omission so thanks for putting me straight.

      So, Bristol City Council must have received over 4,000 objections to Tesco in Stokes Croft (and only two in favour, apparently).

      You made a good point about the IT system, and its lack of responsiveness. Big institutions don’t really understand the fast-changing nature of computers, do they? They need small-is-beautiful solutions that can be quickly adapted, not huge expensive unwieldy ones that quickly date.

      Did you get a response?


  6. It’s unfortunate but I actually think it’s right that planners can’t refuse planning permission to a business based solely on the ownership of the business. It would open the door to all kinds of unpleasant possibilities, the most obvious being racist campaigns against new businesses run by non-white business people.
    I ran an event the other day giving information about the Localism Act, and a St Werburghs-based community activist made a very powerful point about the limitations of saying ‘no’. I think this is a good example of that – the way forward is to concentrate on what we do want, not what we don’t. The Localism Act’s neighbourhood planning powers, alongside the Sustainable Communities’ Act’s more ambiguous but possibly even greater powers, give us a useful toolkit to get started. If we really want local, sustainable food, let’s look seriously at what that would mean and engage properly with the planning system to try and overcome some of the obstacles. The challenge is not to find ways to ban Tesco – it’s to find ways to make them irrelevant.
    We’re starting a new Bristol CPRE group that will be campaigning on localism, local food, planning law and sustainable city life. If anyone would like to know more, come to a public meeting at Horfield Quaker Meeting House, 300 Gloucester Rd, at 7.30 on Tuesday April 3rd (apologies for the shameless plug).


  7. Thanks for finally talking about >No Tesco in Stokes Croft fundraising party – Chance to win a Banksy! | Real Food Lover <Loved it!


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