Letter: Confused at Islanders’ jubilation over ASDA decision

This reader believes the anticipated (by some) arrival of ASDA in Newport “is not good for the Island – not good for jobs, not good for choice and not good for our souls.”

Asda palm tree:

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Vix Lowthion from Brighstone. Ed


On paper, I am their target market: busy mother of three young boys, eating me out of house and home and going through their clothes like they’re going out of fashion. Yet I greeted the news that the Isle of Wight Council have granted planning permission for a big new ASDA store outside Newport with frustration and dismay.

The decision, I am sure, was made on planning grounds – hands are often tied on these occasions to stick strictly to the letter of the law and avoid costly appeals. And I am sure that ASDA want a piece of the Island action – they have received many letters and communications in recent years almost begging them to look at opening an Isle of Wight store.

It is not the council and ASDA which cause me to throw my arms in despair – it is Islanders themselves who are greeting the ‘Yes’ to the plans with cheers and cries of ‘Hooray’ and ‘Finally’ and ‘Brilliant News’! In my view, these exclamations are misplaced. Another huge supermarket will only change our area to its detriment.

“Fantastic news! 450 new jobs which Islanders need”
The very nature of an Island means that stores are competing for a finite number of customers – apart from tourists who would be visiting the area anyway. No one is going to pay £40 to come on the ferry to get their shopping from Newport’s ASDA.

Thus when shoppers go to the new ASDA, they will be not going to the other supermarkets or local shops in their local town. These new jobs make a great headline – but it is only a matter of time that older, local stores will lose their customers and close their doors and people will lose their jobs.

“Asda has a great selection of cheap food and clothes. We need choice. We need an Asda”
We already have four supermarkets in Newport. Our local towns are full of Poundlands and 99p stores – and cheaper food can be sourced at Lidl, Aldi and Iceland to name three.

A huge ASDA is not going to result in more choice than this – ASDA’s owner Walmart would hope that you would buy everything from them, under one roof for everyone’s convenience. The notion of choice is an anathema.

“If you don’t want to shop there, then you don’t need to”
Sounds sensible on first hearing, and to begin with there are local butchers, fishmongers and grocers we can still support in the area. But their cards are marked. ASDA will have to fill their store with customers from somewhere – and then there will be no choice for anyone.

Whoops and Cheers about the new ASDA store I find utterly depressing. It’s just another place to take the money from the poor and give to the rich. It’s another supermarket on an Island already laden with them, with local shops closing every day.

Tourists don’t want ASDA – they want House of Chilli and the Garlic Farm and bustling local shops. Locals don’t need ASDA – we already have dozens of supermarkets.

Not good for the Island
Life is about so much more than consume consume consume, soulless aircraft hanger stores and everyone driving and leaving their local communities to give their money to a big global business like Walmart.

This is not good for the Island – not good for jobs, not good for choice and not good for our souls.

Image: dominicspics under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 4th July, 2014 1:16pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2c57

Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Newport

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78 Comments on "Letter: Confused at Islanders’ jubilation over ASDA decision"

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ratbag

Totally agree. If they had to come to the island why not in an area where there is little or no competition? I only know of one product they sell that isn’t available on the island – Anchor chocolate squirty cream…!

liam

Couldn’t agree more. The uniqueness of the Island is being eroded every year by these soul-less buildings.

davidwalter
Vix, couldn’t agree more. But you are wrong on one point; it’s not about choice or need or even planning. It’s money. Money for ASDA, for the developers, builders, and more. More significantly it’s for revenue to your council. There is a budget shortfall so they sell the family silver to buy a shop that we don’t need, will close down other established shops which, as you… Read more »
tiki
If this comment was by David Walters – town Cllr in Cowes and former Mayor of Cowes. Did you object to Aldi when planning permission was sought? I couldn’t care less if we have an Asda or not, but you can’t give permission to every other supermarket chain and object to Asda. We’re also over run with charity shops that doesn’t look good when tourists visit either.… Read more »
Cynic

With the death-knell of Island High Streets, no doubt they will be converted into estate agents offices to suck up the trade as new housing developments appear in greenfield sites.!

(Bembridge already has four such offices within 100 yards of each other!}

stephen
Since when have councils directly benefited from Business rates? Though they may seek some planning gain as a condition of planning permission. My understanding is that they collect the business rates, administer whatever relief schemes central government offers and presumably act as debt collector for central government, ie they act as the precepting authority and no more. Planning applications are usually viewed as a YES unless there… Read more »
Robert Jones
Those who believe ASDA will create jobs should also look at the jobs their coming will destroy – how long will the Morrison and Gateway stores last now? How many shops in Newport and surrounding areas will be starved of trade and have to close? You could of course say tough luck: the supermarkets were responsible for the closure of small businesses in their time, and if… Read more »
happy shopper
How long will gateway last? over 10 years ago wasn’t it? So how is that ASDA’s fault? As for other shops in Newport? Why haven’t they already shut? with customers going to Tesco or Morrisons. Pound shops, phone shops, cafes, camping stores, jewellers, WH Smiths, JD Sports, TX Maxx, Charity Shops, Gun Shops, the variety in Nodehill, none of these are ASDA’s target market so will have… Read more »
Paleo

Your argument only hold’s water if we do not have any population increase on the IoW. We do, so it doesn’t…

davidwalter
tiki — No, not I. People often ask me if I am he. I am David Walter (no s) and I am in Wellow. I am not a councillor of any sort just a concerned and interested resident. I spent much of my early childhood in Sandown, where my parents had a house, then happily returned in 2011. Some of my earliest and happiest childhood recollections are… Read more »
Paleo

The IW Council’s own figures…

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has developed
population projections for the next ten year period,
through to 2021.
2011 population estimate (census based) 138,392
2021 population projection 146,749
Projected growth in numbers (10 years) 8,357
Projected percentage growth (10 years) 6%

From http://www.iwight.com/azservices/documents/2552-Islands-Demographic-and-Population-2012-13-Final.pdf

Cynic

In which case, is not the claim that there are surplus school places at the moment merely a transitory stage that will be consumed within 2 or 3 years?

Mark Francis

Older people

Cynic

Mmm! The ONS 2008 survey shows an increasing Live Birth rate to 2020.

So does that imply the “older people” are becoming more promiscuous and Viagra use increasing?

Mark Francis

No doubt they are at it like knives, but they do not tend to have so many children & the biggest increase in population is -we are told- amongst the ageing population who tend to come to the IOW

Cynic

So, presumably, the increase in older people on the Island does not contribute to the rising birth rate that determines the number of school places that will need to be provided and is thus irrelevant when discussing the notional surplus school places?

Mark Francis

The increase in older people does not contribute to a rising birthrate. Presumably the surplus in school places is either due to a shortage of school age children or too many free schools.

I’m not sure where this is going…

Cynic

A 15-20% surplus at the moment apparently which could be filled by the rising birthrate within the time it would take to build more schools to house them once the existing ones are sold to developers.

Check out the number of aisles already devoted to baby and toddler stuff in the supermarkets. [Cheesy, I know, but a link back to the basic ASDA thread. :-))]

tryme

“At it like knives” is so evocative of (…um…) relations between two people, but why on earth should it be? ‘At it like forks’ wouldn’t cut it, though we do have ‘spooning’ of course. I suppose there is a bit of a link with (.um..) appetites there.

Cynic

I suspect the phrase links back to the days when knives were sharpened by grinding.

The latter word became a slang expression for intercourse possibly based on the similarity of movements taking in the two activities.

tryme

Thank you cynic, enlightening! I wonder what a modern day equivalent could be – at it like plug-ins? (I don’t even know what a plug-in is).

Mark Francis

My comment was intended in an entirely supportive way.
Get in!

j mckee
We have heard all these moans and groans before. It was all said when Tesco was announcedthem when Safeway was announced. Neither caused the problems mentioned and once established Asda wont either. People just don’t like change or competition and the argument that Asda has nothing new to offer is total rubbish. The idea that jobs will be lost is at present just an assumption but the… Read more »
KR
This decision is just all about greed on the councils behalf.. Money money money. I’ve lived here most of my life, and have seen the closure of HMV, and many many decent shops on the island, to be replaced with coffee shops, charity shops, discount shops and SUPERMARKETS!!! SO MANY CO OPS!! Newport now gives Islanders no choice but to shop on online or to go to… Read more »
Mark Francis
When I was young my mother used to have to go to shop in Portsmouth to Landport Draperies & the nearest M&S. Then Tescos set up & the council negotiated a sports centre as “planning gain.” Don’t they do that anymore? The big supermarkets are now buying up corner shops as well. Lake used to have a variety of food shops – Young’s, Harris’s, Princelett dairy, Archie… Read more »
CERS121
I have to say I disagree with the letter writer… I don’t like T**co I don’t like Morrisons I would not shop at Iceland if you paid me, I would not go anywhere the G Farm for good reasons too, this is my choice because of the food I personally want to buy so I do shop around, because I want local produce, I want Organic Produce,… Read more »
Cynic

Some “Farmers Markets” are apparently selling off supermarket stuff nearing their sell-by date. Take care!

peaceful_life

@Cynic.

Proof that some* farmers markets (authentic ones?) are apparently* misselling?

Cynic

@PL How does one prove the “authenticity” of Farmers’ Market traders?

peaceful_life

@Cynic.

We can get to that, after….you provide proof of your statement regarding misselling.

Cynic

@PL Seeing you insist… :-)

ww.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2665447/Have-duped-farmers-market-Homegrown-fare-locals-No-We-reveal-stalls-run-giant-firms-selling-EXACTLY-food-cheaper-supermarkets.html

Don Smith

Farmers Markets? What a scam.

peaceful_life

@Don.

How so?

vix
Thanks everyone for all these comments. Such planning decisions do generate divided opinions. I think for me an idea model would be supermarket supplemented by the high street – so supermarket for convenience, and high street to get the extra foods and the non food items. But seems we have gone almost beyond that now – and certainly with yet another big and comprehensive store the vast… Read more »
Cynic

Remember also that the supermarket chains are also buying up local convenience stores.

The OFT was getting concerned about his trend a couple of years ago but Tory and New Labour supermarket friends and sponsors (Sainsbury?) quashed the investigation. Surprise? Surprise?

Calder Jon
When I lived on the mainland some 15-16 years ago, I had a vast choice of supermarkets. Asda was by far and most consistently the best in terms of quality and value. On my frequent trips back over the water over the years, this has remained true. Oddly enough, more recently, I have even found their staff to be more polite and seemingly a happier bunch. I… Read more »
vix
Thanks for the comments, but I think you have misjudged me. I lived on the mainland surrounded by the growth of these stores for nearly 30 years. In fact I used to live 2 streets away from one of the biggest Asdas in the country in its home city of Leeds. How is it progress to follow mainland towns 20 years behind them? Surely progress should be… Read more »
Robert Jones

“Doing the math” – or maths – doesn’t normally involve making figures up, does it?

peaceful_life
@CJ. Maybe an idea to revise those maths. ‘Every time a new supermarket opens, 276 jobs are lost locally.[4] Between 2008 and 2010, the big supermarkets Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, pledged to create 67,000 new jobs. They fell far short of this target, creating just 28, 217 jobs.[5] In 2011, supermarket giants expanded their floorspace by 2,750,000 square feet. You might expect this to lead to more… Read more »
BRIAN
From the comments thus far it would appear there is inconsistency of attitude with respect to capitalism and how it operates. The key tenet of capitalism is that the efficient and innovative survive, prosper and grow, the rest go to the wall. I give an example which concerns a young man I worked with when we were young apprentices in the 1960’s. He left the company and… Read more »
Cynic

The Darwinism of Greed?

BRIAN

Excellent, wish I had thought of that!

peaceful_life
@Brian. Your comment here… ‘The key tenet of capitalism is that the efficient and innovative survive, prosper and grow, the rest go to the wall’ ….is better described as an expanding pyramid scheme, only with increased diminishing of accessibility to the market. Outcome: minority market dominance, which is a story of monopoly, the quirk is that the architects of capitalism don’t play by their own rules, due… Read more »
BRIAN
Correct in all aspects, Tryme. In fact the inventor of Monopoly did so to highlight the stupidity of capitalism. When someone dominates the board, no one has any money left to pay their rents and the game ends. All the money gained has to go back and be shared out again (socialism). Even the Japanese realised this when they invaded our markets with their exports. They realised… Read more »
tryme

I think you mean peaceful_life, Brian. (Not me, at any rate).

BRIAN

Sorry,tryme, should have gone to specsavers!

tryme

I thought for a brief moment there, Brian, that I might just have said something intelligent! Back to the drawing board.

BRIAN

You always say intelligent things, Tryme.

Mark Francis

Specsavers ?
Whatever happened to Batemans & Leightons in Ryde?

tryme

Kind remark, Brian!

davidwalter
Brian — You are missing the point. ‘Capitalism’ is indeed a battle but we don’t want a battlefield in our County Town, leaving nothing but destruction behind. Enough land has been allocated to supermarkets both in the very centre and the peripheral areas. Enough is enough. Is it a done deal? No. The land has planning permission but the land has NOT been sold so this scheme… Read more »
Cynic

The problem is that in Tosca, in the end the fat lady jumps to her death from the ramparts of Castell Sant’ Angelo. How high are the ramparts of Carisbrooke Castle?

BRIAN

Rather like a French farmer during D Day suggesting he is all in favour of the Allies repelling the Germans so long as they don’t do it on his farm.

Cynic

In the aftermath of the 1929 Wall Street crash, a bankrupt capitalist leapt off the top of the Empire State building intent on suicide. As he passed a window on the 50th floor, the potential suicide was asked, “How is it going?” to which he replied, “OK. so far!”.

Capitalism is in a slower death-fall but can’t admit it for stock valuation reasons.

tryme

The Fat Lady might have done better to shop from independents selling more wholesome and nutritious foods, rather than falling for the hard sell, lavish and misleading, of highly processed, additive-filled, saturated fat-filled and high sugar products of supermarkets. She might then have been slimmer, healthier and happier all round.

peaceful_life

@Tryme.

She would be far healthier yes, but worth* a lot less to the system as a whole.

davidwalter
cynic – Maybe the massive green and glass advertising oojamaflip boldly emblazoned with ASDA would be a suitable rampart for the fat lady? It would not be a pretty sight (the oojamaflip, I mean, I don’t object to fat ladies). Still time to stop it. Just don’t sell the land. ASDA can’t build until they own the land and the land still belongs to us, the people… Read more »
peaceful_life
@Cynic. From the Mail article…. ‘So are the markets quite what they’re cracked up to be, or are they exploiting the gullible? And can you buy the same product more cheaply from the local supermarket? We visited some of the biggest farmers’ markets across the country to find out’…… ‘we ask the stallholder at Parliament Hill’….. ‘But they’re another farmers’ market regular with 14 stops on their… Read more »
Cynic

Yep I had to wash my keyboard after quoting the “Daily Heil”! :-)

peaceful_life

@Cynic.

Pity you didn’t think about that before spinning it’s fluff, all you had to do was actually read the article…and saved yourself a keyboard clean ‘apparently’.

Cynic

@PL Also a pity that you cherry-picked the article to make your comments rather than reflect on the holistic view.

( BTW you still owe showing me the way one can check the authenticity of traders in Farmers Markets.)

peaceful_life
@Cynic. Careful with your assertions, there was no onus on me to provide anything, you made conveyed the apparent* smear on the farmers markets and then answered the question with a question. Fallacious doesn’t win the game. I picked quotes that contradicted the entire premise of the article that you referenced, not me….you. The holistc view is that global food production has to chnage it’s ways pdq… Read more »
Cynic
Compare and contrast: (cynic) @PL How does one prove the “authenticity” of Farmers’ Market traders? (PL) @Cynic. We can get to that, after….you provide proof of your statement regarding misselling. (PL) Still…you provided proof of something, thanks for tha (PL) Careful with your assertions, there was no onus on me to provide anything, …………… BTW as an ex-farmer, I agree with your statement “The holistc view is… Read more »
davidwalter

Certainly there is a lot of fraud in trade descriptions. Trading Standards totally ignore those pubs selling ‘home-made steak pie’ and ‘home made apple crumble’ when all the locals know that the Brakes truck arrives every week. I have a café near me advertising ‘home-made cakes’. Home-made from Brakes I think, given the Brakes truck outside! Why don’t the Trade Descriptions bods take action?

Cynic

I often notice a local chef coming back with Tesco bags possibly containing the “fresh” ingredients for that day’s dishes. :-)

BRIAN

There is one proprietor of a fish and chip shop who goes to Lidl in Newport and comes out with a trolley load of the cheapest ready-made chips. No peeling of spuds for him when he serves his “fresh” chips eh?

davidwalter

Hmmmm…provided the chef is buying good fresh ingredients that seems sensible — unless he is advertising ‘local’, of course. But if his carrot and coriander is branded Morrisons that is different. M’s is a fine product but I don’t expect to pay restaurant prices for something I can buy at the supermarket and pop in the mic!

davidwalter

Brian — My wife and I went to a well-known pub the other night. I had fish and chips supposed to be really top-notch. The fish was unbelievably watery and flavourless. I imagine it was cheap fish frozen and defrosted in cold fresh water. And own-brand chips, not even McCains. Yuk. I’d be certain it wasn’t the fresh haddock I paid for.

BRIAN

Not as bad as my mate in the 1970’s who had a takeaway from a Chinese. He said it was the only chicken leg he had ever had with the remnants of a paw on it!

Mark Francis

Lake Fish Bar – best this side of the Blue Dolphin at Hastings.

watchdog

Regarding the comments about Asda not yet owning the land, this is probably wishful thinking. I am reminded of the ancient wisdom that “no citadel is invulnerable whose gates are wide enough for an ass with a sack of gold”. I am sure a sack of gold from Asda will be an offer that can’t be refused.

davidwalter
Brian — :-) watchdog — True to an extent. I wonder how far the searches have gone. Presumably the disposal process includes a period of public notice? Is some of it common land, or convenants? You lose the battle the moment you believe you’ve lost. You haven’t lost all the while there’s a chance. Some gold-laden asses have been known to get brassed-off and do something else.
peaceful_life
silverhealer
I understand the argument about Asda’s arrival offering choice, but I believe this is an illusion. For example, all those ‘Simply The Best’ food product lines offered by each supermarket chain are produced by the same factories. Do Asda have spectacularly different carrots and pork chops? Will we be particularly blessed to be able to buy their own-brand diet cola? We on the Island are not East… Read more »
peaceful_life
@Cynic. cynic’s comment is rated +1 Vote +1 Vote -1 4.Jul.2014 8:14pm Some “Farmers Markets” are apparently selling off supermarket stuff nearing their sell-by date. Take care! It really get’s no more complicated than that, you pushed a biased, you were asked to prove that, you then cited a Daily Mail article as proof, the article is a complete and utter nonsense, yet….you compound the assertion with… Read more »
Cynic
@PL “undeniable necessity to relocalise food production back to the small and diverse scales, something that farmers markets actually help to facilitate and are an integral part of the food web,” Is not the essence of the DM article that products sold are often NOT “local”, are higher-priced versions of identical products sold by the same producer to supermarkets and some of the traders are part of… Read more »
peaceful_life
@Cynic. No, that was not the intent of the article at all. It said… ‘We visited some of the biggest farmers’ markets ACROSS THE COUNTRY to find’ (emphasis mine) …when in fact they didn’t even leave London!…this was NOT a fair cross section representation of the produce being sold in farmers market nationally*. The article also alludes to the a reasoning (based on it’s false premise) that… Read more »
Cynic
Presumably then the following quotes are DM lies? “The co-owner of Five Ways Fruit Farm in Essex visits about 200 markets, sometimes taking in seven in a weekend, and also sells his fruit to Asda.” ‘An early morning visit to New Covent Garden Market, the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market in the UK, gives a worrying insight into one dishonest ploy — passing off foreign… Read more »