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.