Farnborough town centre – empty streets, boarded-up shops
KPI wish to demolish the norther half of the town centre for an unwanted superstore. It will face out of the town and kill off what little retail remains. Firgrove Court, social housing, a small estate of 28 maisonettes, is earmarked for demolition for the car park. Pavilion Housing Association that owns the estate, is letting it fall into disrepair to drive out the few remaining tenants.
The leader and chief executive of the council have regular meetings with KPI to help promote their agenda. Planning applications by KPI were simply rubber-stamped.
As one councillor who represents the town centre has said, the council has given KPI everything they have asked for.
The latest scandal is the sale of public land to KPI. This was sold at a knockdown price, the District Valuer had to step in. KPI had the council over a barrel with a gun to their head, either sell the land on the cheap, or we leave you with a derelict town centre.
The deal to sell the land has not yet been signed. KPI are looking for cast iron guarantees on future planning applications before they will sign.
At the end of last year, KPI said they were starting work in the New Year. There is no sign of any work. But then for the last five years they have been claiming to be starting in the spring, in the summer, in the New Year. At the beginning of last year, they were claiming the start would be in the spring, then it was the summer.
Eight years ago Saxmundham said no to Tesco.
Saxmundham in Suffolk is the town that said no to Tesco. Tesco wished to build a superstore on the edge of town. The local council, Suffolk Coastal listened to local people and said no to Tesco.
A food web has been created in Suffolk, at the centre of which is the small market town of Saxmundham, the town that said no to Tesco. The result has been a renaissance in small retailers – butchers, bakers, greengrocer, fishmonger, farmers markets and farm shops have also flourished – thus bucking the national trend of widespread closure. Saxmundham has now become a Mecca for food lovers.
Small producers need small businesses as their outlets.
Farmer's wife Margaret Holland, cake and pie maker from Gelham, uses local meat, game, eggs, vegetables and fruit in her pies and cakes. She sells her produce in the local butchers from where she obtains her sausage meat and in the farm shops from where she buys her fruit and vegetables. She says her business would not have got off the ground without the independent shops in Saxmundham. She now employs 20 people, of which only one comes to work by car.
Cherries, a small fruit and veg shop in the town's marketplace, buys asparagus from a local farm three minutes up the road, where it is freshly picked every morning. It goes from ground to shop in half an hour.
A network of small producers and retailers, generates local employment, recycles money within the local economy.
At Upton Park in East London, St Modwen is known as the Developer from Hell. In collusion with the local mayor, they are wishing to destroy the very popular Queen's Market and replace it with an unwanted superstore. The superstore was rumoured to be Asda. The bad publicity Asda were receiving being linked with St Modwen, forced Asda to pull out.
Patrick Barkham, The town that said no to Tesco, The Guardian, 28 June 2006
Lester R Brown, Plan B 2.0, Norton, 2006
Caroline Cranbrook, The Real Choice: How Local Foods can Survive the Supermarket Onslaught, CPRE, June 2006
Ben Farmer, Grocers flourish in town that saw off Tesco, Daily Mail, 26 June 2006
Keith Parkins, Queens Market, Indymedia UK, 11 April 2005
Keith Parkins, Tragedy of Firgrove Court, Indymedia UK, 30 January 2006
Keith Parkins, Public Inquiry into road closures in Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 30 January 2006
Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, April 2006
Keith Parkins, Tesco post record profits, Indymedia UK, 2 May 2006
Keith Parkins, Tesco - Every little hurts, Indymedia UK, 18 August 2006
Keith Parkins, Big business to decide future of town centre, Indymedia UK, 30 October 2006
Keith Parkins, Empty property in Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 27 November 2006
Keith Parkins, The Truth in Rushmoor, Indymedia UK, 30 November 2006
Keith Parkins, Failing councils are creating gravy trains for consultants, Indymedia UK, 12 December 2006
Keith Parkins, Dodgy land deals in Farnborough town centre?, Indymedia UK, 12 December 2006
Keith Parkins, Recycling – a tale of two councils, Indymedia UK, 5 January 2007
Keith Parkins, Bad Food Britain, to be published
People's Market or Supermarket, The Land, Summer 2006
Peter Marshall, Queen's Market - Women's March, Indymedia UK, 30 October 2006
No superstores 'means prosperity', BBC News on-line, 26 June 2006
Pauline Rowe, Saving Queens Market from the developers, Indymedia UK, 17 October 2006
Guy Rubin, Nina Jatana and Ruth Potts, The world on a plate: Queens Market, New Economics Foundation, 2006
Andrew Simms et al, Ghost Town Britain, New Economics Foundation, 2002
Andrew Simms et al, Ghost Town Britain II: Death on the high street, New Economics Foundation, 2003
St Modwen: By Appointment to the Town Cloning Department, The Land, Summer 2006
We wonder why?