Tesco hails new Glastonbury store as one of Somerset's top performers
A Glastonbury supermarket whose arrival caused protests, a site squat and threats of a boycott say they have enjoyed a successful first period of trading.
The Tesco store’s arrival in the town was full of controversy, with some of Glastonbury’s famously vocal population voicing venom when the supermarket chain announced plans to open a store in the town.
Flying in the face of controversy, members of the planning board at Mendip District Council voted 11 to one in favour of the development in August 2009, against the recommendation of their own planning officer.
They approved the 41,000 square foot of shop floor space built on stilts, with 324 car parking spaces underneath.
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But Tesco withdrew the application when the decision was “called-in” for a planning inquiry by the Secretary of State, Hilary Benn, because the development would have wide effects beyond its immediate locality.
They returned with an application for a smaller, 25,000 square foot store which was approved in August last year.
With the original application for the larger store, Tesco had pledged to give £70,000 to both Street and Glastonbury to lessen the impact the development would have on the town.
But the planning application for the smaller store, which was passed by Mendip’s planning board, did not have a financial offer attached to it.
Its only condition was that if the planning committee passed the application, the Tesco Metro store in Street would remain open for at least five years.
This proved to be the final straw for some residents of the town who vowed to boycott the store when it opened its doors in November.
Rumours have been circulating that this has been the case and that shopper numbers were low.
But this week, spokeswoman Melanie Chiswell said the store had been busy and things were going well.
“In fact, over the festive period, the Glastonbury store was one of the highest performing in Somerset and the South West,” she said.
“We’re very pleased with how things have been going.”
A spokeswoman for Morrisons, which has a larger store around 400 yards away on the Wells Road said they would not comment on whether the opening of the Tesco store had affected trade in their store.
“We do not release data on how individual branches are performing,” she said.