3 October 2014

Celebrity TV Presenter Supports Our 'Say No to Timpson at Tesco' campaign!



It's about time you had a good old update about our campaign to 'Say No to Timpson at Tesco', isn't it.

In July, James Timpson, the Managing Director of Timpson, gave me a call to have a chat about the situation in Shepton Mallet, where a planned Timpson pod, installed in the Tesco retail park will threaten our high street, even more. I was really looking forward to that chat, knowing full well, that he would of course listen to sense, community duty and ethics, I was looking forward to putting the phone down and rushing to tell Mike Alford, the cobbler's son, the good news. I knew that we would make a difference and I knew that James Timpson would acknowledge that the Townsend location, as an edge of town retail park, would prove to be a valid threat indeed to the high street and I knew that he would reassure me that he would ask Tesco to withdraw the planning application.

Oh, but this didn't happen, at all. Mr Timpson did try to reassure me but unfortunately he tried to reassure me that when he has a shop in a town centre and then he opens one on a retail park, the takings in the other shop, on the high street are not affected and if they are then only marginally so. I pointed out that this was an edge of town retail park, rather than an out of town retail park but he didn't really seem to take that point on board. He also told me that what they were doing was not morally wrong in his eyes. He also said that if Timpson thought for one minute that it would affect the shop already in the High Street, they would not do it.

I asked Mr Timpson, if he would come to Shepton Mallet, to have a look at the situation and to also meet with the shop keepers, to see what they thought and felt about the planning application to put a Timpson pod in the Townsend Retail Park, that invitation was refused, although he said he would maybe pop in for a coffee one day.

To say I was disappointed with that outcome, wouldn't do my feelings justice. I felt very, very wronged indeed. It was good that Mr Timpson took the time to call me and to talk and to be interested but I am afraid he did it just so that I could spread his word of good intentions and he wasn't actually interested in a conversation, or a negotiation about where his Timpson pod could go. I know where I'd like it to go but that's another matter.

I felt that was a blow to the campaign and I hadn't achieved what I set out to do.

The next blow was when one of my new Facebook friends was looking for a job in Shepton Mallet and came across an advert for a trainee shoe repair person, for their branch in Shepton Mallet! I couldn't believe the cheek of it! Can you imagine interviewing people for a position for a job in a pod, that hasn't even got planning permission? Can you imagine doing that? Can you imagine being interviewed for that job, you're skint, been unemployed for ages, spend time, money and hope on sending off your CV and then being interviewed and there isn't even actually a JOB! That is just so wrong.

Then one day, Mike Alford, came rushing into the shop to tell me that the petition had been mentioned in Channel 4's Grand Designs Magazine and that the TV Presenter Kevin McCloud had signed it. It's in the October issue! I am so grateful to Kevin McCloud for supporting our campaign in this way. This has given the campaign a real boost, with front page coverage from Shepton Mallet Journal and they've also printed the link to the petition in the paper, which is fantastic. I can see the petition is now reaching more locals, with more signatures trickling in. At the time of writing we are on 486, getting to 500 would be great!

Please sign our Petition.

Then, after signing our petition please take the following steps to support our campaign:

1/ Please share this petition with your friends, via social media and email.
2/ Please email Tessa Munt, to express your opposition:    Tessa.munt.mp@parliament.uk
3/ Spend at least £10 a week in your local independent shops instead of Tesco! Don't forget Shepton Mallet's Friday Market, with Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Fish, Baked Goods, Plants and Flowers, as well as our unique High Street!
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