Supermarket giant Tesco have announced plans to open another store in the city. They are currently in talks with Enterprise Inns, the owner of the Gamecock pub on Holme Lacy Road, in a bid to open a Tesco Express on the site.
But plans have already met with opposition from locals who see no need for another store in the area that already has two similar shops close by.
Soon after plans were announced Cllr Chris Chappell called a demonstration outside the Gamecock; a petition has been started and has now been signed by over 1,000 people from the area; more recently, Hereford Solidarity League organized a picket outside Tesco’s Bewell Street branch. The majority of shoppers we spoke to there were overwhelmingly against another Tesco store in the city–why do we need another one when they have three stores already?
The Gamecock has now closed but it is still on the market as a pub. With the right landlord, this important asset could be turned into the thriving community pub it once was. Yet there is more than just a pub at stake. Holme Lacy Road has two small supermarkets, a pet supplies shop, a greengrocer/florist and an off license/post office, all within 150 yards of the proposed Tesco store. All of them, apart from Co-op, are independent family run businesses, and are open seven days a week, selling competitively priced produce.
Greenflynns the grocer have been there for four years, and buy their produce almost entirely from local sources–all their vegetables and most of their fruit is grown in Herefordshire. Their free range eggs, honey, jam, pickles, strawberries, apple juice and flowers also come from all over Herefordshire–healthy food with a minimum of environmental damage. They have over 10 local grower/suppliers who would all be affected if this shop were to go under.
The only benefit of having a Tesco open on this stretch of road would be for Tesco themselves and at the detriment to all the existing businesses there.
A public meeting has been called to organise opposition to Tesco’s plans. It takes places on Friday 22nd October, 6pm at the Baptist Church Hall, Web Tree Avenue.