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A Potter's Moll: I Hate Tesco-isation

...I hate the Tesco-isation of this country – you see it clearly if you travel by train with clogged roundabouts and queues waiting to get into and out of the car parks. The other point I think it is important to point out is that all the profits of a Tesco go to its shareholders: the profits of small local stores are passed on in the community to other businesses, accountants, cleaners etc...

Columnist Liz Robison is incensed by retail giant Tesco's plans to open a store in a picturesque Yorkshire market town.

Jim, the potter, returns tomorrow from his annual potters’ jolly in the USA. It is a national organisation of ceramic educators who hold their annual conference in a different city each year. This year it is in Phoenix, Arizona. He reports that daytime temperatures are in the 90’s but nearly freezing at night. That’s the desert for you.

I travelled from Huddersfield to Bradford by train last Sunday to join one of my sons and friends for a delicious Thai meal. The upside of the journey was that it only cost me 70p with my Metro Senior Citizens card. The downside was that on the way back at 9pm I was the only person left on the train by the time we got to Huddersfield. A bit spooky!

I enjoyed giving a talk entitled Collecting Mania to a church fellowship group of mostly older folk. I took a laundry basket full of representative artefacts from the various collections I have amassed over the years: Cornish motto ware, tins, patent medicines, ceramic hot water bottles, flat irons and hand made pottery. People were very interested and we had plenty of nostalgic fun as people recalled using similar items in times gone by. A lady who told me that she will be 96 ‘next time’, pointed out that the patent medicines for constipation, liver and kidney ailments, indigestion and heartburn were popular because many could not afford to go to the doctor.

Tesco have applied for planning permission to build a store in this little market town, Holmfirth here in West Yorkshire. There is already a Co-op supermarket and a small Morrisons a couple of miles away. Our local newspaper reports that the Parish Council wants people in support of the bid to voice their views. I hope that this means that most of those who have voiced their views so far have been against the bid.

Traffic problems would be horrendous and Tesco’s claim that the store would be the greenest in Yorkshire does not amount to a hill of beans. They boast that the roof would be covered in moss – most buildings in this valley have moss growing on the roof. All the small shops would probably disappear: butcher, baker, greengrocer, and there are already six new empty retail properties for sale in the town centre, to say nothing of four charity shops.

I hate the Tesco-isation of this country – you see it clearly if you travel by train with clogged roundabouts and queues waiting to get into and out of the car parks. The other point I think it is important to point out is that all the profits of a Tesco go to its shareholders: the profits of small local stores are passed on in the community to other businesses, accountants, cleaners etc.

Food for the soul this week came in the form of a visit to Dove Cottage Nursery at Hipperholme, near Halifax. The owners are true plantsmen and they have a to-die-for garden of their own which you are encouraged to enjoy. The man used to be a butcher in the market until a career change took him to Kew Gardens. Everyone is helpful and knowledgeable and the plants I buy from there are unusual and always thrive.

And the swallows are back – hurrah! More from me in a fortnight.

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