NEWS October 2008

  • A week after the news broke that Tesco have bought the old Woolworth’s store on Broad Street, the response has been overwhelmingly negative. It would seem it’s not supermarkets that people are objecting to, it’s Tesco and their corporate practices. Why such a powerful company would willingly allow itself to be so negatively perceived is a mystery. It is deeply cynical, if nothing else. If you want to work for positive change in Lyme Regis, however, the news is good and there’s plenty to be done. There is a Transition Town meeting this evening at the Masonic Hall at 8 pm. The Transition Initiatives Primer is available as a PDF, along with other information by clicking HERE.
  • Discussions are beginning about an alternative economy for Lyme Regis. We have found a very good example in Lewes. There are details on how to go about it HERE. (Before you go to print, beware – it is 32 pages long.)
  •  So could this be the future face of currency for Lyme traders? (Substitute Fowles for Paine and the Cobb for the Castle perhaps…)

    • 20/10/08 Could we have a Lyme Green Tesco? Having talked about it, done some research and slept on it, we have the following observatons to make:
    • It’s important we consider the point of view of all sections of the community, particularly those who are going to be most affected by the wider economic situation, people who may lose their jobs, people who have one car or no car at all, young families, older people on fixed incomes. On their web site, under Corporate Social Responsibility Tesco do address many of the issues which are worrying people in Lyme, such as sympathetic signs, quieter lorries, working to enhance local communities. If Tesco can respect the very special community we have in Lyme Regis, they could be a force for good which will support and enhance our efforts and success so far, the Gig Club, Candles on the Cobb, Turn Lyme Green, and the fledgling Transition Town movement to name but a few.                
    • 17/10/08 Our initial response to the news that Tesco have bought the town’s largest retail site from Woolworths:

    The announcement that Tesco will open a store at the Woolworths store was a big suprise to almost everyone, and brought many views and opinions to my attention. Some positive and some negative.

    • From a “Broad Street employment” viewpoint, Tesco is seemingly welcomed. They are a reliable employer, providing good training and benefits. We certainly don’t need an empty shop there!
    • From a “car journeys” viewpoint, they are also reasonably seen as positive. All Tesco’s existing customers in Lyme don’t need to drive to Axminster any longer.
    • They do have a fearsome reputation for ripping out the heart of a shopping street, leaving many other food retailers in trouble.

    However (having reflected on it for a few days) I think the bigger issue is about the Local Food Network, and the threat that a grocer such as Tesco brings. The recent exhibition “Farming in the Lym Valley” showed how Lyme Regis and the surrounding area used to be supplied with fresh food and veg by a network of small family farms and market gardens. In the past decades, many of these have ‘changed use’ – but others are still going strong, and it is still possible to buy “Lyme Regis Honey”, “Monkton Wyld Lamb” and “Bridport Apples” in our local stores. Our Town Mill bakery is the envy of many and together with the Wet Fish shop and several other suppliers and producers, can make up a good percentage of our food needs.

    It is probably a reflection of Lyme’s infrastructure and local-focus that has still allowed these to thrive, whilst big-stores have been kept out by the simple logistics of not having a decent site!

    The question is; Can we carry on supporting these excellent local food sources, when Tesco will undoubtedly have a ‘similar’ product 5p cheaper (and you get points too)?

    If we continue to support our local shops and producers through the next difficult months, that is surely the best response to Tesco?

     Turn Lyme Green will continue to promote “Shopping Local” and encouraging the Local Food Network to thrive. As the business climate changes and people have to adapt, spending our limited grocery money on local produce from local traders keeps up to 80% of that money circulating here. Wheras spent in a supermarket such as Tesco it is more like 20%. The town then has to work hard to bring that money back via tourism..

    Several initiatives are underway in this regard already, and more is being planned along with the Transition Towns group. If you would like to know more, please contact Mark on 444330 or Fran on 445078.

    • 07/10/08 The Turn Lyme Green Vision statement is available HERE.
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