Letter: 1 August 2008

Counting cost of Tesco expansion

IT IS with much concern that I read in your newspaper that the supermarket giant Tesco has been given permission to expand its presence at Rainham Mark.

I think it is great that the store is expected to pay for the rebuilding of what has become affectionately known as the Tesco roundabout on the A2, fund bus and road improvements and invest money into Gillingham town centre.

However, what I don’t see coming from Tesco are assurances that it will compensate the most important group of people who will be affected by the growth: small business owners in Gillingham and Rainham who stand to lose customers to the new store, which will sell a greater range of products.

Perhaps the hardest-hit businesses, though, will be in Twydall, which is just two minutes from the store. Presently Twydall Green boasts a wide selection of shops and services, many of which may be threatened by the expansion of the store andthe increase in products available to buy – which would be bad news for the owners, their employees and the local residents who are unable to get to the Tescostore and so depend on their local shops.

It is also good that the new Tesco store will create jobs and invest in the community, but it must be remembered that jobs will also be threatened by theexpansion, businesses will be threatened because they are unable to compete with the giant and the lives of local residents who depend on their local shops and services may also be made much more difficult.

Alan Collins
Goudhurst Road,