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Wycombe shop owners to fight Tesco plans
DAVID is going to war with Goliath - as High Wycombe shop owners prepare to fight Tesco’s plans for two new Express stores.
The supermarket giant announced last week it will open an Express store at the former Golden Fleece pub in Hatters Lane in the summer.
While Wycombe District Council’s Planning Committee will meet on Wednesday to deliberate over Tesco’s application to regenerate the old Platt’s garage site next to Costcutter in London Road.
But convenience store owners, fearful the proposed stores will hit their own businesses, are refusing to take the Tesco takeover lying down.
Balapandian Kandiah has splashed out £40,000 refitting his Best One store – which is just 0.2miles away from the proposed Tesco Express at the Golden Fleece site and just over half-a-mile from the Tesco garage.
He fears he will lose half of his business if the plan goes ahead. He said: “I don’t know why they do it, they kill small businesses.
“A lot of customers said they will back me and sign my petition to the council about this, as they don’t want it either,”
Shaid Mahmood works at Mak Foods shop in Totteridge Drive – he said Tesco’s promise of 20 new jobs at both of its proposed new stores is “false economy” and labelled the supermarket chain “greedy”.
He said: “Firstly, they would create traffic problems, the jobs they say will be created is a false economy as the 30 people that already work at the convenience stores in the area could lose theirs.
“And the Tesco Express stores are not cheaper than convenience stores. They are simply trying to muscle in – it’s just pure greed.”
The Totteridge shopkeepers have the backing of Cllr Tony Green, who has urged residents to tell Tesco ‘we don’t want you here’.
But he doesn’t believe the council will be able to fend off the shopping titans from renovating the Golden Fleece under planning guidelines.
He said: “I spoke to Tesco and said it was a very bad idea given the availability of other shops in the other area and that they would affect the livelihood of other traders - but I don’t think they care.
“They are intent on increasing their marketshare, putting other people out of business in the process.
“I don’t think boycotting them would do anything, I think the best thing to do is for people to petition Tesco’s and say they’re unhappy because I think they genuinely believe they are doing us all a favour.
“But the risk is they will kill off local businesses – I’ll still be coming here to get my paper because they are convenience stores serving their neighbourhood.”