Well – this one seems to have slipped away almost unnoticed in today’s news – in case anyone was in any doubt about Tesco’s plans for the future when they’ve removed competition from the high streets – they’ve already started… 

Fixing the price of cheese! Of course, when you have such a dominant position, you can do this kind of thing – on this occasion, they got caught, but how much do they get away with, and as they become more powerful, how bad will it become.


Taken for a ride?

Just a little post, to brighten your Monday…

Apparently we’ve all got the taste for horse – and people want to know where they can get more. Helpfully today’s Guardian has an article which helps locate it. So – if you’ve an urge to climb aboard the equine band wagon, take a look here:

And if you don’t fancy any of the places on their list, in just a few months time there will likely be all manner of horsey dishes available from the ranch right here on Warley Hill. Yee Haaa!

A vision of the future… (2)

This week, we saw an indication of the kind of problem which will become a regular occurrence on Warley Hill if Tesco arrives:

2013-02-22 09.25.23 (1)

As you can see, there’s no space to park a delivery van on the hill, so it’s blocked up the pavement. Even then, there’s only space for one vehicle to pass at a time.

Expect this to become a regular feature of life, with traffic jammed in both directions day and night.

A Bad Week for Tesco?

It’s not shaping up to be a good week for Tesco…

With the horsemeat scandal deepening, and even BMW making good use of their disregard for paying customers, Tesco were then announced as the UK’s worst supermarket. Could it be that the tide is turning? The majority of those who participated in this survey seem to think so.

In the West Country yet another sign of Tesco’s increasingly unpopular takeover of the UK’s towns and villages was seen in Portishead. Whilst it’s hoped that such events won’t occur in Brentwood, with their predatory approach emotions are already running high here too.

Then, last night they had permission rejected on another pub conversion in the North East – proof that it’s not necessarily a foregone conclusion where the giant horse-flogger is concerned.

Finally, brace yourself for this link – a couple in the Costwolds found an ENTIRE DEAD BIRD in their Tesco salad.

Every little helps. SW.

Horsemeat – Are Tesco Running Scared?

A confession: I shopped at Tesco. A long time ago…

…so I’m on their mailing list. Today I received an email from them about the horsemeat scandal.

It talks of ” rigorous processes” and “we will set a new benchmark”, and “a plan to build a world class traceability and DNA testing system”, and the list of preventive measures Tesco are taking goes on and on. Quite ground-breaking.

It all sounds like someone at Tesco is very concerned about the effect their apparent recklessness might have (or is having) upon their bottom line.

And frankly, for me that’s no a bad thing – if it encourages quality, so be it.

But it makes me wonder, why didn’t Tesco think of all this wonderful, revolutionary food safety before they started serving up fraudulently produced untraceable meat to their customers? Was it because they didn’t care? Because they’ve become too big to care? Or because they simply thought nobody would notice?

It is to be hoped that the longer this scandal continues, the more people will realise the damage ‘cheap’ food has to our nation’s health and our high streets. Local butchers are reporting an increase in sales, and for local shops hopefully the same will be true.

Some places need a little supermarket. Some places would benefit from a late shop. Unlike those places, we’ve got both on Warley hill already, as well as four nearby Tescos, perhaps it’s time Tesco focused on doing things well, instead of just doing lots of things? SW

Pedestrian Cross-ing?

Next in the saga of the Tesco Warley fiasco – we’ve been informed that a crossing, which has been discussed for a while on Warley Hill, is to be expedited on the basis that Tesco might be arriving and the anticipated extra traffic problems it’ll bring.

So – because Tesco are turning up without invitation, tax payers will foot the bill for a re-design and build of the highway!

Normally, when a supermarket, which makes billions of pounds a year in profit, wants to open up in a town, they apply for permission, and the local planning authority will require certain conditions – improvements to the highway, safety assessments, consultation, etc etc.

Because this supermarket will just arrive and no permission is needed, they arrive, and who pays for their necessary construction work? We do!

Crazy? We think so.

Tesco’s and Suppliers

If you’re not sure about the local arguments for/against Tesco, how about some consideration of the people who supply Tesco…

The giant was in the news again this week, and not just for the supply of horse-filler burgers and other ready meals. Suppliers have this week been presented with invoices up to £1,000,000.00 – that’s a lot of zeros! With just a few days to pay.

What are the invoices for? Late deliveries. So if you supply Tesco, and for any reason you deliver late, they charge you for the privilege. This might not sound unreasonable, until you realise the draconian nature of the scheme and the way it’s applied. Some people are being charged £10 for delivering something late which is only worth £4 – so if your van gets stuck on the motorway, Tesco charge you £10 for the £4 delivery you’d made every effort to deliver. Seems a little unfair at the very least!

But I guess it helps offset the cost of horse burger-filler.

And it’s not just suppliers who are growing increasingly tired of Tesco’s approach to supplier management – even city hedge funds are concerned – stating that the way Tesco treats suppliers is unsustainable.

I know personally of a factory in Colchester which supplies cakes to a major supermarket chain, and because of the terms of their supply contract, they have to supply cake for less than it costs to make. Seems to make no sense at all, but they do it, because it’s a source of turnover and better to make something at a loss than to make nothing at all. But how long can it continue, and what effect will it have on quality?

Read all about it…

Another week, another headline in the local paper – this time on the split in local politics. It seems one side are seeking to out-do the other on the battle against Tesco.

The article highlights the effect Tesco can have on a community. They’ve not even started building yet, and already there are arguments and divisions. Which probably suits Tesco – while politicians squabble and the community is divided, they carry on with their empire.

Our aims are hopefully clear:

  • We don’t think the addition of another Tesco to Brentwood will be helpful.
  • We think the location is inappropriate, and will lead to traffic problems.
  • Having lost the bakery, we want to ensure our remaining local shops stay strong.
  • We’re completely non-political and campaigning to minimise the negative impact of a potential high street giant on Warley Hill.

Sadly it seems we’ve not got the support of Eric Pickles or some local politicians, but we had hoped people could work together for the common benefit of the area.

Nonetheless, we’ll continue to work to try and help the local shops and as much as possible encourage Tesco to think about the appropriateness of this location for it’s next shop. As a non-political group, we hope that everyone can see the sense in working together on ensuring the best solution for local families and businesses.

Thanks to everyone for their support so far!

A vision of the future…

So – one individual helpfully observed that 14,000 cars a day (I think it was day) happily use Warley Hill with no problems.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the Woodford Green Tesco location. Now, in terms of location, no problem – it’s actually re-vitalised a previously run-down shopping area of Woodford.

However, in terms of traffic…

Note the van parked on the pavement. Behind this Tesco is a large public car-park. But nobody uses that. Because they’re only popping into Tesco! IMG-20130203-00068

And this is the view looking the other way – cars parked in the bus stop – note that this is a MUCH wider street than Warley Hill. People regularly park on both sides of the road, blocking traffic in both directions, and when the buses come along, nobody can get by. IMG-20130203-00069

RIP The High Street (or Warley Hill?)

Here’s an interesting article

The author makes the point that increasingly, people – particularly when times are hard and they lead busy lives – will head for the supermarkets. Primarily because they see them as cheaper, more convenient, etc. I actually thought so myself. Until I actually compared the options.

It takes longer to shop at a few shops – yesterday we did a lot of shopping on Warley Hill – bread and groceries on the Hill, then had to head over to Shenfield for meat, and Calcott Hall for our first ever visit for some other bits. But it was all a feature of the day.

In terms of cost, we spent about £35-£40 on the entire weekly shop. If we go to Sainsburys or Asda, it usually works out about the same. So cost-wise, there’s little in it. Supermarkets are great at making us believe they’re doing us a financial favour! They’re not. Otherwise they wouldn’t be making billions each year.

A couple of people have asked why we want to stop Tesco – there’s a few reasons here. My own personal objection is the position – and the following are my own personal views… – the pub on a narrow stretch of Warley Hill is inappropriate.

To my mind, another Tesco, perhaps in the middle of Clements Park might not be too bad, or even down on Kings Road – it’s a shopping area, and an additional store might add variety. But footfall to the former pub on Warley Hill can have nothing other than a negative effect on other shops on Warley Hill. The traffic problem will be significant, of that there can be no doubt. And Tesco’s predatory approach to pub takeovers is clear – it’s been discussed in parliament and in the news more times than anyone can care to remember.

However, thanks again to everyone who’s supporting this campaign, and hopefully together we can keep momentum up and encourage Tesco to think again about the suitability of its latest acquisition.