Soul sold to highest bidder

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Madam,

RE: SOUL FOR SALE?

I must confess I had to double check the date when reading the headlines on this week’s Mercury. Surely it must be April 1, and this was all a hoax? Any local authority with the community in mind wouldn’t possibly even entertain the idea of a ‘huge’ new Tesco store in their small town would they?

Then I remembered we have a planning department which has presided over recent disasters/carbuncles such as the ‘Cell Block H’ development, the ‘concrete jungle’ which now constitutes the outskirts of our town around the soon-to-be-expanded Sainsbury’s and the ugly pedestrian railway link bridge – to name but a few.

The question is, ‘Can Matlock support three major supermarket chains in their town?’. The obvious answer of course is a resounding ‘no!’. You only have to look at the reduced footfall in the Co-op, the fact it has had to diversify into what seems to be a Peacocks white elephant, the reduction in trade of the smaller ‘local’ retailers – leading to many failing within a short period once their rent-free has run out, and the plethora of charity shops which now blights us.

No, what Tesco are all about is monopolising local trade. If they were to open, what you would see is the Co-op’s swift demise, the closure of our smaller local traders, thus stripping us of any diversity we have left and, just as importantly, an ugly blot on the landscape – right in the heart of town. Local examples such as Ilkeston, Long Eaton and Alfreton, where large Tesco developments have opened, can easily be cited as evidence of all the above – only in Matlock’s case, rather than an unsightly blot on the outskirts of town, what you would have here, in what should be promoted and celebrated as an attractive Spa Town, is an ugly focal point right in the town’s heart.

No doubt there is an economical rationale to the council’s musings, and the easy sale of the Lido building could feature in this. Well Mr Wilson, I’m sure in these days where money counts, I just hope your conscience doesn’t keep you awake at night if you progress this ridiculous proposal any further. You can return to your home, but we will be left with the soul of our town sold to the highest bidder.

Martyn Cater

Imperial Road

Matlock