It suggests that half of all the new retail space created in the UK last year was taken by Tesco. That’s over 2 million square feet of shopping space, more than the entire Bluewater shopping centre.
Can that be healthy? For competition and for consumers? As a Tory you might expect me to be open to the market and accept that this is what market forces dictate. Well, in this case I’m not.
The increasing dominance of out of town shopping centres concerns me greatly. I believe that we must safeguard our town centres and most importantly local shopping centres. Not to do so is to be very short sited.
At least Tesco, through their Tesco Metro network, seem to recognise this too. However, in Fordingbridge where my parents live, they immediately disposed of the post office from the One Stop store they took over. It concerns me that, in this case at least, they put retail space and therefore profit before community need.
Providing easily accessible local facilities, not least shops and of course post offices, is essential to the sustainability of communities. In time, as environmental and energy conservation issues discourage us from such frequent travel, these facilities will be vital. We need to look to the long term and find ways by which we can support and protect local shops and shopping centres.