Anti-Tesco protests: Sherborne latest town to oppose retail giant
Sherborne businesses shut up shop this afternoon in protest at plans for a Tesco supermarket.
Businesses boarded up shop fronts and staff members walked to the third and final public consultation session which got underway at the Digby Hall at 2.30pm.
More than 9,000 business owners and residents have signed paper and online petitions in opposition to proposed plans by the retail giant to build a store on the Sherborne Hotel site, on the A30.
Anti-Tesco campaigners have also taken their fight to video-sharing website YouTube, uploading a Pink Floyd-inspired clip.
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Today’s move is the latest in a long line of anti-Tesco protests held in the South West in recent years:
Violent Bristol clashes
In April 2011 violent anti-Tesco clashes in Bristol made national headlines, as residents made clear their opposition to a Tesco Express.
The newly-opened store, established in the bohemian Stokes Croft area of the city, was severely damaged, and riot police were called in to tackle protestors throwing missiles.
The protest started peacefully but in the early hours of the morning turned sour as outsiders began causing trouble.
Three separate nights of rioting ensued on April 21, 22 and 28, with running battles between police and rioters on Cheltenham Road and Stokes Croft.
Bristol was also the scene of protests in 2009 - campaigners formed a "human juggernaut" as they protested against plans to build a new Tesco supermarket at the Bristol City football ground at Ashton Gate.
Around 300 people turned out in support of the fight against the scheme, which they said would damage local shops in the Bedminster and Southville areas of the city.
And in December last year placard-waving protesters held a demonstration to object to moves to turn a redundant pub in Portishead into a Tesco Express store.
Bridgwater public inquiry
A public inquiry is currently taking place into an application to have Brewery Field in Bridgwater declared a Town Green, protecting it from development.
Tesco, which has been granted permission to build its supermarket on Northgate, wants to develop 11 per cent of the Brewery Field – but the Town Green status would prevent this.
Meanwhile the 2008 opening of a Tesco Express at Bathwick Hill, Bath, prompted protests from anti-globalisation campaigners concerned at the impact of the new outlet on existing shops.
Representatives from the canal community and the Bath Activist Network (BAN) group protested at the shop.
Job advert controversy
Tesco was forced to shut one of its stores near the Houses of Parliament last year after it was targeted by activists from the Right to Work group.
Police were called to break up the demonstration, which saw around 12 people sit or stand by the tills at Tesco Express on Westminster Bridge Road, London.
Tesco amended the "misunderstood" advert and said it was down to a mistake caused by an IT processing error. The advert should have been for a four-week work experience placement, Tesco said.
Glastonbury site squat
Tesco’s November 2012 arrival in Glastonbury was marred with controversy, prompting protests, a site squat and threats of a boycott.
But while many locals vehemently opposed plans to open the store, Tesco maintained it enjoyed a successful first period of trading.
Spokeswoman Melanie Chiswell said the store had been busy and things were going well.“In fact, over the festive period, the Glastonbury store was one of the highest performing in Somerset and the South West,” she said.
‘Say No To Tesco’
Ystradgynlais residents launched an anti-Tesco protest at a town council meeting in 2009, brandishing badges with the slogan "Say No To Tesco".
The meeting was arranged for councillors in the South Wales town to discuss amendments to a planning application made by the supermarket giant at land on the former Tic Toc site, but campaigners used the arranged gathering to mount a protest.
Addressing councillors, chairman of the campaign group Vince Hotten said: "What I would urge you to consider is the future viability and vitality of Ystradgynlais.
“If a clothes shop closes in the town a flower shop opens instead. The town remains viable, the banks and the cafe's decide to stay, people keep talking and the vitality of the town remains.
"I would like you to use your intelligence and integrity to see that building a Tesco on the edge of town, which will take £26 million away from our local economy, is going to affect the vitality and viability of this town.”