Report of telephone call with Tesco – 29th July 2013

The ‘meeting’ was arranged following communications: FPAG with Theresa May with Tesco.  Tesco could not meet face-to-face so we had a dial-in discussion on 29th July 2013.  The FPAG was represented by Jim, Ryan and Mark.  Tesco was represented by Beth Greenhouse, Corporate Affairs Manager.

We started the meeting saying that we are not anti-Tesco; in fact they have provided some locations that are positive – a village where the pub was poor and had closed is now the village store; Prestatyn has now brought life back to a dying high street.  We referred to the national planning laws that allow a pub to be converted to a store but suggested that, as with clothes, one size does not fit all.  In this case, the change does not fit the Golden Harp!

Below is a summary of the key points that were covered:

FPAG: How does Tesco select a site?

Tesco: They have a site research team that look closely at the area and analyses shopping habits and the types of people who would shop at a convenience store.  It is not for the main shop, it is simply for topping up bread, salad etc.  On-line shoppers would also use the store to top-up.  Ensure they have a ‘delivery solution’ [which actually meant: can they get their truck into the site, or deliver from the road (10 trucks per day!)]

FPAG: Re: danger for the school children…

Tesco: Deliveries will not be made at peak hours. Tesco has stores close to schools.

FPAG: There will be a single entry/exit on Courthouse Road.

Tesco: It would be safe to open the entrance on the A308. We have a diagram that shows how the trucks could unload.

FPAG: Would you send us a copy?

Tesco: Yes.

[The FPAG have since received this diagram, and we question the viability of a 40ft vehicle being able to make the turning circle when the car park has vehicles and people moving around. Vehicles exiting will block the entrance for the trucks entering from Courthouse, and they will probably block both sides of Courthouse.]

Tesco: This will be a successful store.

FPAG: How do you measure success – you make a lot of money?

Tesco: No, lots of customers use the store! I have had lots of people calling me to support the store.

FPAG: How many?

Tesco: They are frightened to say that they support, because the community would go against them.

FPAG: How many?

Tesco: We asked if they would speak at the Council meeting but they would not [see above].

FPAG: How many? We can give you the addresses of all the people who said ‘no’ to the petition because we respect their decision and did not want to call on them again. How many, Mark? 22.

Tesco: Yes, it is not many people; not as many as you have.

FPAG: How did you carry out the consultation?

Tesco: We spoke to the neighbours.

FPAG: How many houses from the site did you talk to? I am approx. 12 doors away and I had nothing!

Tesco: The 6 that are closest [including the empty flat at the Harp]. I held an open day so people could come and talk to me.

FPAG: How did you publicise the open day?

Tesco: The 6 houses nearest to the pub.

FPAG: There has been a police traffic survey…

Tesco: Yes, but it was a policeman’s report; we paid for a professional traffic survey.

FPAG: It was a Police Inspector that produced the report, not the local bobby! I have lived in Courthouse Road for 29 years and I wish it were as safe as your traffic report.

FPAG: What if we were to offer to buy the lease off Tesco; would that make any difference?

Tesco: (A long silence) Possibly.

Tesco: My senior people have asked me to let you know that Tesco is going ahead with this store.

FPAG: Would these faceless senior people sit around the table with us? We do not hide behind other people.

Tesco: [She did not answer, which we presume meant no]

Tesco: My senior people have asked me to let you know that Tesco is going ahead with this store.

FPAG: I am very disappointed that your faceless senior managers have threatened us in this way.

Tesco: No, they are not threatening you.

FPAG: What you have just said is a threat. Regardless of the traffic problems, safety etc., you will open this store.

Tesco: The appeal is set for October; we can do nothing until then.

FPAG: I have two questions that I would like you to take back to your faceless senior managers:
1. If Tesco loses the appeal in October, will they walk away from this site?
2. Would your senior managers meet with us?

Tesco: Yes I will [ask them]