Tesco blamed for closure of shop
One of the oldest shops in the neighbourhood, Peasedown St John's L&F Jones general store, has closed down, killed off, say its owners, by a new Tesco supermarket.
L&F Jones executives are now worried about the effect of a Tesco Express store opening near another of their local shops, in Southdown, Bath.
The Peasedown store, which has served villagers since September 1911, closed its doors for the last time on Friday, a year after planning permission for a Tesco Express just down the road was granted.
Simon Jones, chief executive of the retail division of L&F Jones, and director of the Midsomer Norton-based company, said: "It is purely because of Tesco, 110 per cent. We objected to its planning application when it came up.
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"It has affected us aggressively all across the board. Forty per cent of turnover had been destroyed."
Three staff and some temporary workers lost their jobs with the closure.
The shop building was leased from the neighbouring garage.
Peasedown Parish Council objected to the Tesco planning application in 2007, on the grounds that the village already had two convenience stores. A Radstock Co-operative supermarket is still trading.
When the parish council was told of the closure, chairman Robert Butt said: "This is exactly the situation envisaged by the parish council in 2007, and we are now once again calling on Bath and North East Somerset planners to listen more closely to the people who actually live in the towns and villages where controversial developments are taking place as a normal part of the planning decision mechanism.
"Part of the sales technique for the introduction of a major retailer's presence in the village was that it would increase competition and therefore keep prices down.
"This was little more than a pipe dream, and now the competition element has been returned to the 2007 situation, with additional unemployment created in a period of economic decline, when all jobs need to be protected."
Mr Jones said that although retail is facing a hard time, sales in his company are not looking too bad.
The company has opened a shop in Coleford, bringing the total of L&F Jones convenience stores to 16.
Mr Jones added: "People should realise the potential that Tesco is having on retail – food, grocery and non-foods."
Nobody from Tesco was available to comment, but a spokeswoman for the supermarket said she thought the claims unusual.
"We normlly find that having a Tesco in an area brings people in rather than driving them away," she said.