Friday, 5 November 2010

First post

Plans are afoot for a a new supermarket in Frome: for more details, go here.
In order to air the issues at stake, a first public meeting is to be held at the Cheese & Grain on Wednesday December 1st starting at 7.30 and ending at 9.00pm. 
This meeting has been organised by concerned local people from various walks of life and all are welcome. Those who wish to read up on supermarket planning issues may like to visit the TESCOPOLY website before the meeting.
You can contact us at More details and information follow...


  1. thank you for starting this, makes much more sense than using

    presumably Tesco have decided that Frome is a potentially profitable target town for its UK expansion, the way to send Tesco elsewhere will be to make the Frome project unprofitable so that Tesco looks elsewhere?

  2. Hi

    I used to live in Frome in the 1980s. Back then, the only supermarket was Safeways and the Wednesday cattle market was still in town.

    Fast-forward 20 years and it sounds as if Frome is awash with huge supermarkets.

    Does the town really need another one?

    Why does Tesco use bully-tactics to impose itself where it is not wanted?

    I have been involved in the No Tesco in Stokes Croft campaign in Bristol this year.

    A year ago, Tesco applied for change-of-use under the radar, using a third party. The Council granted this change-of-use in the belief it was for an ordinary shop.

    One thing I have learnt: large corporations have the resources to exploit every loophole in the book.

    Particularly when it comes to tax (viz Vodaphone) and planning laws.

    The community has managed to keep Tesco out of Stokes Croft for a year - no mean feat.

    I have been asked to join you on on 1 December 2010 to talk about the Stokes Croft campaign.

    I hope it will help yours.

    Please my recent post on the No Tesco in Frome campaign.

  3. Hi,
    I have contacted tescopoly, and asked for contacts from the Sheringham team. Also, I will try to form a team with local architects to see if we can come up with an alternative model. We do need to see what NVB architects are thinking of though, as they may be on the same wavelenghth.

  4. Good news, you have my support!

  5. Just had a response from tescoply. See below. terry.

    Dear Terry,

    Many thanks for your email.

    I'd suggest you contact Nigel Dowdney (independent retailer in Stalham but
    involved in the Sheringham case) or 01508 471 528

    Eroica Mildmay, campaigner in Sheringham -

    They should be able to provide you with details for the person who intiated
    the other scheme.

    That said, it's still crucial that the community in Frome use the planning
    system to properly object to the Tesco scheme. If there are good objections
    based on local and national planning policy e.g. traffic, impact on town
    centre, better site available etc then the planning committee is duty bound
    to consider these.

    It's important that the community pursue both routes i.e, object to the
    Tesco plans and look at a viable alternative. A good starting point is to
    try and set up a campaign group now to start raising awareness about the
    negative impact the Tesco development could have on the town.

    Please let us know if you'd like more information on objecting to a
    supermarket application.

    Best wishes,
    The Tescopoly Team

  6. Is there any way we could arrange and audio/video feed from the meeting on 1st Dec? Like a lot of people, I may not be able to be there but I want to "take part" if I can. Given that we're a creative, tech-savvy community, I'm wondering if this might be possible; technically I don't know how to do it, but somebody from Media Arts at the college maybe? I'll look into it. Patrick

  7. That's a good idea. Please let us know if you come up with anything on this thread, or via email at

  8. @Patrick - excellent idea!

    Would it be helpful to invite other Frome interested parties such as to join this blog? I feel that whatever approach is taken, we will have more success if we are seen to represent the broadest possible spread of the town's and villages opinions?

  9. this might be worth a look

  10. If it does go the way of needing Tesco's money to develop the site (which I think is how a lot of these decisions are ultimately driven) then how about a new approach to protect local businesses and the character of small towns against the localised monopolies...

    I'd love to see Tesco challenged to produce a broken down version of their store, into individual units on a standard(ish) street layout, but interspersed with "real" shops.

    This is not the Clarks Village "outlet park" style where other national stores are bought in, as this doesn't help the diversity or character loss.

    Tesco could still have a central depot on the site, to keep their business model more or less in check (delivering to their individual shops from the depot daily), but they would have to compete, not just on price and the "all under one roof" strategy, but with the huge diversity and the quality independent products we have in the town.

    This model might actually benefit everyone. Any national store involved would get a "real" feel for what people want rather than just offering something almost impossibly cheaply and when people buy it saying "well that's what the people want". That way we might even see (shock horror) some character (at in terms of product ranges) even within the realms of a supermarket.

    I'd hope it might also free up local store managers to choose to run local product ranges themselves using local suppliers rather than national distribution leading to greater understanding between the chain store and the local economy and community.

    I guess what I'm advocating is prevention of localised monopoly by removing the both the teritorial domination of a large store, and the "under one roof" convenience(*) aspects of a supermarket to increase competition & diversity.

    I also think the design of the plot should be driven by architecture largely in-keeping with the character of the town centre, and ideally using local architects for the project to help ensure this is achieved.

    I'd also hope there would be something other than a car park lining the river this time, maybe some shops and cafes & ideally some public green space so locals and visitors can enjoy a break from shopping on the river front.

    Sadly in none of the reporting or the documents I've found online is there anything like a discussion piece, decent visula maps or drawings, or any presentation on the *proposed options* (one would hope there is more than one design on the table!!) for street layout in the area. Perhaps a kindly journalist could oblige in digging arond for some of this as a followup story...

    (*) supermarkets might argue that reducing convenience would damage the interestes of the consumer.

    I'd argue that while this is true, I would find shopping in a supermarket a lot more convenient without:
    the torrade of in-store marketing,
    the unclear pricing and complex offers making product choice by price rather complex,
    additional packaging,
    store layouts with impulse buys more prominent than essentials.

    Yet they do all of these things for a good reason. It promotes sales, increases shelf life and protects the interest the company.

    For these same reasons, local economies should protect themselves from localised monopoly, even if there is a perceived reduction in convenience to the consumer next to a standard supermarket.

  11. From my understanding the developer is coming to listen to our concerns. At the moment they are not proposing a huge foodstore - see their website where teay say ""Plans include a 40000 sq.ft anchor supermarket 500 car parking spaces and an additional 40,000 sq.ft of multiple comparison retail as well as leisure, art facilities, civic uses, local artisan studios and an adult learning centre.

    SJI are currently consulting locally with various local interest groups, interested parties and town and local councillors, out of which designs are emerging based on local desires and concerns.

    The saxonvale regeneration has the potential to facilitate a step change in frome and through comprehensive design facilitate a new vibrancy to the town centre.

    SJI are determined to make the scheme as sustainable as possible."

    I've been involved for the last ten years in the detailed proposals for this site (formerly as Regeneration Officer for Frome) and have put some background info and written a detailed report here - Their proposal at the moment seems to conform with the planning authorities brief for the site.

    Katy Duke

  12. You may be interested to know that on 21 November, CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) published a 14 page illustrated report that supermarkets in town centres need to be well designed to fit into their environment and should not be the standard large rectangular shed surrounded by car parking. The report is available to read, or download, or order a hard copy by going to and clicking on 'Town Centres at risk if supermarket-led development fails', then clicking on the blue highlighted title of the report: 'Supermarket-led development: asset or liability'.

  13. this is a good US article that makes many points applicable to Frome -