(image shamelessly linked from the very fine www.tescopoly.org . Cheers!)
Just when it seemed Tesco was a non-story, its depressing inevitability now with a confirmed opening date, something very interesting crops up.
My annoyance at Tesco has been a constant theme throughout the life of Beestonia: from my upset at Pet Mart being bulldozed after its plucky stand against the retail behemoth, to my attempts to get the site designated a protected wildlife area by introducing some rare newts; to my planned, and possibly illegal occupation of the site and planting of the Beestonia flag to claim the area as a independent republic. The way such a prime site, ideally placed for a cluster of very much-needed affordable homes to be built on, was so cynically gifted to a company who care not a jot about Beeston, and will rip the heart out of the high street without blinking. Special thanks here to Beeston Conservative’s, who pretended to oppose the plans while simultaneously accepting a huge wodge of cash to move their club into a plush new building.
The last few weeks I’ve been watching the progress with a heavy heart, and that horrible pragmatic realisation that despite my ire towards it, I’d probably end up shopping there. Sigh.
Or is there still a battle to fight?
Earlier this week, an email arrived from a Beestonian who had moved to our fair town, and more specifically, right next to the site. Then it was still wasteland, so was quite a shock to her when she realised a mega-store was being built on her doorstep. Or as she succinctly puts it ‘I moved to a small Labour town, I now live in a giant Tory supermarket’. After reading that how could I not decide to don my cast-aside anti-Tesco tabard, polish off my reporters pen and dog-eared notepad and go to work?
Tesco made several promises when fighting for permission to build, some of these related to the disturbance that would be made to locals living nearby. This included limiting working hours: 8.00am-18.00 during the week, 8.00am-13:00 on a Saturday, and nothing on a Sunday. Which seems fair enough, if you don’t work shifts. Except it seems Tesco (I know it’s technically contractors hired by Tesco, but ultimately Tesco have responsibility for the works, so I will continue to refer to them as such) are so desperate to get the store open by early November they have arrogantly, and possibly illegally, decided not to bother adhering to these rules. Work has been starting as 7am most mornings, and work on a sunday has become commonplace. Heres a picture of the site from Sunday 3rd October:
and also this from last Sunday, the 10th:
Hmm, that looks like working to me, unless some blokes in hi-vis are playing on an improvised slide, and categorically NOT working.
This inevitably results in this:
Gridlock on Queen’s Road. (Also check out the billboard that proclaims ‘THE BIG TORIES TART HERE’. Please feel free to add your own satire)
This is only a small selection of pictures I’ve been sent on the issue. But lets move onto another issue: the incredibly badly thought-out pavement obstructions, which are impassable to wheelchair/mobility scooter users and pushchairs, and occasionally downright suicidal for even the most able-bodied pedestrian.
The first pic is particularly scary: as it leads the gentle, soft, squishy pedestrian directly into the path of hard, fast, crushing vehicles. At least Ginever’s funeral parlour is opposite, so your demise will be quickly dealt with.
My informant has been in touch with the Council, MP Soubry, and Tesco’s themselves, but is pretty much convinced that this weekend her sleep will be broken as work continues in earnest. If you live by, send me pics/videos/ anecdotes. It won’t make Tesco back down, demolish the store and plant a butterfly meadow, but it will get them to stop being so incredibly arrogant in the construction; and I’ll contact anti-Tesco groups who still have their stores in the planning stage, and pass it on to help the case against another soulless box being thrown up in their town.
As the saying goes, Every Little Helps.