Over the past few years when I have mentioned to people that I live in Belper, they have usually made very positive comments about the town. This is in part due to the wonderful range of small retailers, the well kept parks and the mills. At the moment Belper still has the character that other towns have lost. A Tesco store would not be inkeeping with a world heritage site. Surely Belper is in a strong position to build on tourism rather then shopping at Tesco, which can be done in Alfreton, Heanor or Clay Cross? There are already two supermarkets in Belper and an empty store, which could be utilised.
I entirely agree with Mr D Buttery’s letter published in the Belper News, Sept 12. Belper seems to be becoming distinctly down market. I have always thought that Tesco would enhance the town. Being situated where it is proposed, quite close to the town centre, far from taking trade away from small local retailers it would bring people into the town to see what Belper has to offer. I was more perturbed when Iceland was allowed to slip into the old Woolworths premises unchallenged as they do pose a threat to local retailers in my opinion. I believe there is definitely room for another supermarket in the town to rival Morrisons. I also believe that there is more silent support than opposition to it and I look forward to its arrival.
Bonemill Cottages, Belper
I feel that anyone who believes, as Dave Buttery of Pingle Lane seems to, that: “the addition of a Tesco would benefit Belper” can never have seen the concrete results of such an “addition”. My mother lives in Hailsham, East Sussex, and I have never seen such a rapid degeneration of a small town centre as that which followed Tesco’s arrival. There is now a dead feel to the town, and it is becoming positively unpleasant to visit. And any attempt to persaude Belperians with a by-pass, for example (Hailsham was with a new school), should be resisted strongly. We should be fighting for more funds to be allocated by central government to councils, and should also be prepared to pay higher council tax if necessary, so that improvements to the town can be made by our council. That is its job.
Spencer Road, Belper
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, we are enduring the worst recession in a generation, this is causing far more shops to close than the arrival of a supermarket in a town could possibly cause. I think that the creation of a relief road bypassing the town centre is more likely to damage local trade. I think the focus should be more on the effects of this rather than Tesco.
Whitemoor Lane Belper
I write in reply to Dave Buttery (Readers View, September 12).
He describes opposition to Tesco as coming from “a small powerful yet unrepresentative group”.
Belper Against Tesco Superstore is not a small group. Over 1400 people signed our petition back in 2009/10, and our public meetings have regularly been attended by 150-200 supporters.
In October 2009, The Belper News conducted a poll which showed “fewer than a quarter of the votes backing the plans”. And our poll outside the Tesco exhibition that year showed only 31% in favour of the proposed superstore. Interestingly, when asked why they agreed with the proposal, the reason given by most people was that regeneration of the area was needed (and we agree). Less than 10% of those supporting the proposals actually did so because they felt Belper needed “more retail”.
All of this tends to suggest that BATS actually represents the majority.
And Mr Buttery says we are “powerful” We are proud to admit that we have had an influence on the Draft Development Brief and how it has changed over the years, but we are no more powerful than any other group of interested residents which has taken part in the consultation exercises conducted by Amber Valley Borough Council.
Last year’s independent Amber Valley Retail Study concluded that “Any convenience floorspace which comes forward on the site should be relatively modest in scale”, and that Belper cannot sustain a superstore without damaging the town centre. We agree.
BATS is against any massive superstore, not just Tesco, and believe that we should Keep Belper Special.
Dave Wells (BATS)
Tesco; When it was suggested that Tesco should come to Belper, the “carrot” that was put forward as an urgent reason for acceptance was that there would be a much needed A6 by pass for the town. As this is no longer an option, anyway we don’t want a Tesco, as this would kill all small shop trade in the centre of the town, as has been proved at Matlock with Sainsbury’s opening there, which has decimated their shopping centre. Tesco is definately not needed.
Bas & Pat Clarricoates.