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Wycombe traders tell Tesco: 'No-one wants you here'
LONDON Road shop owners have told Tesco “no-one wants you here” - as the food giant plans its eighteenth store in south Buckinghamshire.
The supermarket titans have submitted plans to Wycombe District Council to redevelop the former Platts garage and turn it into a 2,480sq foot Express store with nine parking spaces.
The firm says the new store at the Wycombe Marsh will create 20 jobs and that it is ‘looking forward to investing in the area and becoming part of the community’.
But neighbouring traders, fearful of their own futures, have told Tesco to pack its bags and drop its plans as the proposed store is not wanted.
Younus Mohammed, who owns the Costcutter franchise next door to the mooted Tesco, said: “My customers are not happy about it.
“They’ve got two supermarkets at either end of the road for people to do weekly shops - a corner shop is special for schoolchildren coming for sweets, emergencies and people looking to conveniently pay bills.
“If Tesco opens we would probably be forced to shut, I’ve got a bank loan to pay, the seven people I have will be without a job – but it’s the same for everyone.”
Tummy Fillers owner Jevan Kumar, who employs four people, believes Tesco would do more harm than good – pointing to the effect Sainsbury’s Local had on businesses in Flackwell Heath.
He said: “They say it’s going to create 20 jobs - it’s going to affect all the shops in this area, which is more than the 20 jobs they’d bring.
“There are nine parking spaces; where are there staff and customers going to park? There are not enough places for everyone as it is now.
“People will end up parking on the zig-zags and it will be chock-a-block on London Road with cars trying to get in and out, and past that shop.
“Budgens in Flackwell Heath lost about 60 percent of its business when Sainsbury’s opened, existing businesses here will be the same.
“Traders need to stick together on this – it’s going to kill our shops.”
Cllr Trevor Snaith echoed the thoughts of traders and is urging Tesco to drop the plan and plough its money into breathing new life into its dilapidated store in the town centre.
He said: “We have seen Tesco Express destroying trade in areas of ribboned development, not only does it destroy the food retailers but also the secondary businesses – your newsagents, fast-food, off-licences etc.
“I would rather they invested their time, effort and money into redeveloping their town centre store which, if they really went for it, would revitalise the town centre with new jobs and increased footfall.
“There is a place for Tesco – just not there in London Road. Especially when you consider the traffic problems and it would be right next to a junction fraught with danger. It’s a bad place.”
The ward member for Ryemead said he would be organising a public meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the matter.