Wednesday, May 14, 2014

An out-of-town superstore is bad news for Market Harborough

"Tesco is set to get the go-ahead for a superstore on the edge of Market Harborough," reports the Leicester Mercury. The paper says Harborough District Council's planning officers have recommended approval of the scheme.

I think this is bad news for the town. As I blogged last September:
It's not that I am a rabid opponent of supermarkets. I do a lot of my shopping in them and believe that Market Harborough is thriving because it has a good balance of national chains and small local shops. 
When I was a councillor more than one older voter told me that in the 1950s and 1960s the old town council had done its best to keep supermarkets and new business out because councillors feared they would force up wages. Such was the dominance of the town shopkeepers on that council that I can quite believe it. 
But that was a long time ago and the balance of shops Market Harborough enjoys today can easily be destabilised. And if there is a large supermarket in Rockingham Road then the people who shop there may never see the town centre at all. 
People are asking whether Market Harborough needs another supermarket. But these national chains know there business very well and I suspect this new store is aimed chiefly at the people who come into Market Harborough to do their main weekly shop. I find it hard to believe that the people who live in the pleasant new houses that ring Corby, for instance, shop in that town. 
So a new supermarket in the Rockingham Road will keep those shoppers out of the town centre and away from all the other shops. Far from creating jobs, as is claimed, it may end up destroying them.

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