Still waiting

PUBLISHED: 12:15 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

SIR, — January has come and gone and still Tesco hasn t submitted a planning application. After years of being asked to get on with it so that the disgracefully-dilapidated area they own on London Road, St Albans, could be dealt with, the company has agai

SIR, - January has come and gone and still Tesco hasn't submitted a planning application. After years of being asked to get on with it so that the disgracefully-dilapidated area they own on London Road, St Albans, could be dealt with, the company has again gone back on its promise.

Déjà vu? Yes. Exactly the same thing happened last January. Just how long do they plan to keep us waiting?

Meanwhile things are not looking good for Tesco's hopes here or elsewhere. The council's development consultation drew overwhelming opposition to the idea of a supermarket on the site, or anywhere else in the district. So much so that council officers are thinking again about the so-called need for acres more food retail space.

Around the country, supermarket applications are being turned down again and again. The market is saturated so the applications for new developments are getting less and less appropriate. Just like the one we're faced with.

And in Europe, Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas has just persuaded the European Parliament to back her proposal for an investigation into supermarket dominance.

I'm not against the whole idea of supermarkets. There's a place for them and lots of people like them. The problem is when they grow so dominant that they threaten local economies, local high streets, local producers and so on.

The four largest supermarkets in the UK now account for nearly three-quarters of all grocery sales, and the top three control almost a quarter of the UK's clothing market too. They are inevitably forcing smaller retailers out of business. They also warp national agricultural industries, both in the UK and abroad.

Their environmental impact is also huge. Their massive scale and reliance on unsustainable practices means they over-use packaging, fertilisers and fossil fuels.

I hope that our political representatives take action to reduce the impact of supermarkets, and give everyone else a chance. And I hope that our councillors, officers and residents stand up to Tesco in St Albans - in the event that the company gets round to submitting a planning application.

SIMON GROVER,

St Albans District Green Party.

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