Supermarkets versus People: Redressing The Balance

It’s been quite quiet here for the last few weeks as people have been away on holiday or busy on other projects, but we’re back up and running once again and raring to go.

First up, here’s a great petition that neatly encapsulates the exact issues that we are trying to deal with here. A campaign group in the Somerset town of Frome, Keep Frome Local, has set up a very well worded HM Government e-petition (the online petitions that replaced the very successful but recently closed Number 10 petitions):

Supermarkets versus People: redressing the balance

Responsible department: Department for Communities and Local Government

Throughout the UK there are disputes between the wishes of local communities and the four large supermarket chains. The large supermarkets appear increasingly predatory and intrusive on local communities and often over-ride the wishes of local people. The government needs to put in place more transparent, comprehensible and directly accountable planning processes for large retailers, that local people are better able to influence. They need to put in place mechanisms to redress the balance between large, well-funded retailers who are able to engage in prolonged campaigns of many years, and local communities who are usually under-funded and ill-resourced. The outcome must be to cultivate sustainable communities in which retailers serve the long-term interests of these communities, rather than the short-term interests of remote shareholders.

I couldn’t put it better myself. Please sign the petition and spread the word. If it gets 100,000 signatures it has to be considered by government and could even get debated in parliament if it gets enough traction.


  • Gail

    I just signed the petition even though it said it closed on 10/8. But it’s only got 122 signatories. Could there not be a bit of an active campaign to get people to sign it?

  • admin

    Hi Gail. Thanks for signing! Can you link me to the closed petition please? The online petition we have on the website has over 400 signatures and is still open:

    Most importantly the petition can also be found in many of the shops around Stoke Newington and we’re getting the bulk of the signatures there.

  • J.J Best

    Where is the place for the nuturing of independant entrepreneurial skils when the ‘powers that be’ encourage these big supermarkets to saturate neighbourhoods and kill off small autonomous businesses to replace the quality jobs with low paid shift workers.
    Once the supermarket kills off the high street the prices go up, up, up and the choice goes down, down, down. The physical environment suffers because the car is central to the shopping and overall well being declines. There are no benefits from implanting such a development in this area. ONly the developer will get their return on investment. Everyone else pays the price.
    Family and starter homes yes, supermarkets no.

  • Ben

    Actually, I think it’s a terribly worded petition. Supermarkets – and the efficiency savings that they bring – have proved to be hugely popular in communities right across the country. That is why they are so successful. The petition is a classic example of a tiny niche Nimby group attempting to deceive people into thinking that they represent “the wishes of local communities”. If groups such as this think supermarkets are so bad, they should have the courage and honesty to lobby their own neighbours not to shop in them, rather than attacking businesses that are delivering people what they want.

    • Andrew

      My backyard is full of supermarkets already thanks

      • Ben

        Then why not have the balls to knock on your neighbours’ doors and lobby them not to shop in them rather than trying to prevent business delivering services that the community clearly wants?

        • Jamie

          Ben it’s not our aim to stop people from shopping in the existing supermarkets or get rid of them or anything like that so I don’t see why we should be knocking on peoples’ doors to tell them that.

          What we are tellling our neighbours is that we reckon that there are plenty of supermarkets already and this proposal is completely incompatible with Stoke Newington for a wide range of reasons as detailed on this website.

          We also enthusiastically encourage our neighbours to support the amazing selection of independent shops we have in the area because, particularly now, they are in need of support.

          If you have evidence that another supermarket is clearly wanted in Stoke Newington then please share it because we’re yet to see many examples of people in favour.

  • Ben

    Jamie, wasn’t it you who stated that “I’m sure there will be a significant number of people in Stoke Newington who would like the convenience of a new, large supermarket”?
    If you’re now claiming that that is not the case then surely they’ll go bust?
    I speak to people all the time who are looking forward to it opening.
    Do you think Sainsbury’s may have done some market research before deciding to invest millions into the area?

  • Jamie

    Yes I said that, however the phrase a significant number doesn’t mean a large number, it just means a meaningful number that shouldn’t be ignored. As I’ve said before we don’t pretend to speak for everyone in the community and recognise that there will be people in favour of the development.

    I’m just questioning your comment that the community clearly wants this development because we aren’t getting that feedback. As ever we’re very keen to hear from people who are in favour to find out exactly what it is about the development that they consider will benefit them or the local community. Contact details can be found at the top of the page.

  • Ben

    Self-evidently communities right across the whole country want supermarkets – that is why they shop in them.
    You’re being a bit disingenuous here since it’s precisely their popularity that you object to.
    You’re not seriously expecting numbers of people who are in favour to contact an opposition group are you Jaimie?

    • Ben

      You keep claiming that you “don’t pretend to speak for everyone in the community”, but Hackney Unites seems to think that it does;
      “Hackney Unites are supporting the community campaign to ensure that these proposals are not just rushed through against the wishes of the local population.”

      • Ben

        "..the campaign reflects the whole of our community." Stokey Local's Debora Robertson, Evening Standard

  • admin

    If they feel strongly about it then i don’t see why not. It only takes a couple of minutes to write an email and we don’t bite.

  • Ben

    As I’ve said before, you’re being disingenuous. You know very well that the new supermarket would be popular – that is what frightens you.

  • Tom

    I don’t think this campaign is being disingenuous. I think it’s pretty much implicit that a new supermarket would be popular. Hell, I don’t want one but if one got built, I’d probably end up using it.

    But you know what? I still don’t want another massive supermarket round the corner from me. I’ve got convenience coming out my ears living in London. I’ll manage without. Eating pre-chewed food would be pretty convenient but I’m not about to start doing that either.

    It mainly gets on my nerves how these massive, bland corporations steamroller everything in their path, and any corner of England currently unoccupied by another massive supermarket, they’ll probably have their eyes on as an untapped revenue stream – and it will take take money out of the pockets of local shopkeepers. “Invest millions in the area”? yeah, right.

    Not anti supermarket, but this proposed one is really surplus to requirements.

    • Ben

      Blimey Tom! Of course it’s your prerogative to make your life as inconvenient as you wish. But it seems more than a little lacking in community spirit to attempt to deny others that convenience on the grounds that you don’t trust yourself not to shop in the shops that you claim you don’t want to shop in.