Medway Council's planning committee in October, has caused a stir amongst people who live in the area, who fear it will lead to the closure of many of the local shops.
Tesco sent two of its executives to convince the Luton PACT that the convenience store was no threat to the local shops and might even increase trade.
The arguments deployed were convincing but led to the inescapable conclusion that the new store would put yet more pressure on the beleagured Chatham Centre Tesco.
The Tesco executives, led by Jack Pearson, the company's corporate affairs manager, quoted a study carried out by Professor Neil Wrigley at the University of Southampton (see note below) on the impact of supermarket developments.
This study certainly backs up their argument that a new convenience store usually does not damage the trade of the existing local stores, but it also fatally undermines their contention that the Luton location was carefully planned to avoid taking trade away from the Chatham Centre store.
The key finding of Professor Wrigley's study was that fewer shoppers visit the main town or city centre store if there is a local convenience store. That's good for the local shops but very bad for Chatham Centre, already well served
See page 2 of Relocalising food shopping: "It is clear that the introduction of the Tesco Express format to these communities helped bring about a major re-localisation of top-up shopping - away from distant superstores towards local shops" If you are standing in Luton Village Chatham Town Centre seems fairly distant.
|Chatham Chat August 27, 2014.||Chatham index||Click to continue.|