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Friday, 24 October 2014

Could supermarket be good for Ulverston?

SAINSBURY’S and another “high-end” supermarket could be coming to Ulverston. Reporter DAVID PICKTHALL speaks to traders in two northern market towns which already have a Sainsbury’s

SUPERMARKETS are cropping up in towns around the country as food retail giants seek to expand their empires far and wide.

During the debate over whether or not new supermarkets are good, or not, for Ulverston, developers and campaigners have pointed to other places where big stores have moved in.

Nay-sayers have highlighted towns they claim have gone to ruin following the arrival of a supermarket powerhouse.

While Robinson’s – the company behind the plan to build a “high-end” supermarket on the old Ulverston – claims it can point to towns that have benefited from a supermarket’s arrival.

Sainsbury’s also has its sights set on Ulverston and has identified a site on the outskirts – on grassland facing Daltongate Business Centre.

If one, or both, supermarkets were to get the go-ahead, what would it mean for Ulverston’s retail future?

Sainsbury’s opened in recent years in the centre of fellow Cumbrian market town, Cockermouth.

Jonty Chippendale, vice-chairman of Cockermouth and District Chamber of Trade, believes his town has benefited from Sainsbury’s – but warns Ulverston’s fortunes could be different if the giant opens on the edge of town.

Mr Chippendale said: “I think Cockermouth’s experience is very relevant to all market towns and that’s basically because Sainsbury’s came here.

“But they came into the centre of town and took over the cattle market and they were only able to build a site of modest size.

“And that’s actually helped the town. If they had built a large one on the outskirts of town, I’m quite confident it would’ve destroyed the town.

“Make no mistake, whatever they say, the purpose of that site (which Sainsbury’s has earmarked in Ulverston) is to get hold of as much spend in the area as possible.

“Whatever they pay for it, they will expect to get that back in three or four years and that’s money coming out the community.

“If I get a leaky roof, I go to see a local man to come and fix it.

“They don’t use local people. They use national contractors who come up to do the job and go again.

“They all make a big thing about local jobs, but the majority of the profit gets lost out of the area and you will lose local business – and the majority of their profit goes straight back into the community, whether the owner is spending his money, or the business itself is spending.”

Mr Chippendale, a toy shop boss, concluded: “We are extremely lucky. Our experience has been that a modest centrally located supermarket has not hit trade as much and, what’s more, it hasn’t hit the butchers and grocers, because in Cumbria people tend to know where the meat is coming from.”

Asked which proposed supermarket would be best for Ulverston, Mr Chippendale said: “The central site would probably be the lesser of two evils, but, with the out of town store, all the evidence is there.”
Ian Lloyd, president of Clitheroe Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said Sainsbury’s is one of four supermarkets trading in and around the centre of his Lancashire market town – with Aldi having opened just last Thursday.

He said Sainsbury’s came around seven years ago – but the cumulative affect of the supermarkets began when Booths arrived in the town around 25 years ago, followed by Tesco some five years later.

My Lloyd, a director of a chartered surveyors and estate agents, said the big name stores had eaten up small businesses – but concluded the town remained attractive.

He said: “We are a small market town and we have four supermarkets with a population of 13,000, and an overall population in the Ribble Valley of about 26,000.

“It’s affected a number of businesses. Most corner shops have closed down.

“The market town, as such, I think we have lost. We have lost fruit shops and sweet shops because the supermarkets have literally soaked them up and taken a lot of business from the town centre.

“But the town centre still survives. The picture here in Clitheroe is that it does attract people into the town from other towns.

“We have Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley, each about 10 miles away, and they do come to shop here.

“We have a castle and it’s almost like a day out for a lot of people.

“I would have to say supermarkets keep people in the town and I think we need to keep people in the town to support the other shops.

“The shopping has changed – we are becoming a bit more of a coffee culture with a range of specialist shops.

“I think the supermarkets have put out of business some of the shops we used to have – the corner shops, which were Co-ops, have all gone.

“I think it’s progress and I think the balance will settle down and you will see some quality shops replacing the shops that have gone out of business.”

Have your say

With regard to the proposed sainsbury's on thr Beehive site. What some people don't realize is the flooding issue involved. those fields flood whenever we get a downpour which is often these days. It doesn't do any harm as they are natural soakaways. What sainsburys are proposing to do is chanel all that water into the drainage system which will then flow into dragley beck. This will take it straight down to South Ulverston and we are aware of what happens when that overflows especially the residents who have on more than one occasion had their homes flooded.Ulverston does not need more supermarkets especially at the cost of peoples jobs and homes.

Posted by L Barker on 13 September 2012 at 12:13

I'm lost for words about the proposals for both supermarkets. There is nothing to commend them. From what I understand: the claim for employment is hugely overstated- there will actually be a net loss; there is a great deal of choice in Ulverston enabled by two supermarkets, a convenience store (all of which open late) as well as the indoor and outdoor markets and local small shops - you can buy small amounts rather than large over packaged supermarket determined amounts; and the superstores of the size proposed will make the town more like all others - and that is not what visitors say they come for - the opposite in fact.

Add that to the mayhem for traffic, the dangers for homes and children going to school and it will be a disaster.

All that will happen is that the supermarkets (should there be one or two) will compete with each other, take their profits elsewhere and destroy the character of the town

Posted by Stephanie Sexton on 10 September 2011 at 15:06

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