Morrisons in Acocks Green? Er, no thanks.

August 2nd, 2011

There is now cialis online without prescription a petition to download here:Say No to Acocks Green Morrison’s – Petition (To hand-in click ‘contact us’ or hand to an Acocks Green shop carrying the petition – list soon – or post to the Planning Department yourself once the plan appears.)

On Monday 1 August local residents and traders in Acocks Green visited thethree day exhibition , set up by Morrison’s supermarkets, to show their plans for a new, large, Morrison’s supermarket in the area. Reported local reactions to plans for Acocks Green Morrisons are on the link here to The Birmingham Mail story. Local people are not happy. Apart from these reactions from residents and traders, others, like Acocks Green councillor Iain Bowen and Acocks Green Town Centre Manager Melinda Brown, are also now expressing concern.
Cllr Ian Bowen (Acocks Green, Lib-Dem) said:
I don’t think any of us are pleased with this at all. I would like to see that site redeveloped, I don’t see the need for another supermarket.

The poster reproduced below, currently on display in the exhibition, is causing particular bemusement.

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Morrison's claim to have identified a gap ...

Firstly, it is clear from the comments in the Birmingham Mail (See link above) that Fox Hollies traders are considerably less than convinced about the supposed ‘revitalisation’ on offer to them here!!

Secondly, there is also puzzlement over claims of discomfort and overcrowding at peak times in Acocks Green Sainsbury’s. When, exactly, would that be? If anybody believes that they have experienced these conditions please let us know. We plan to add some date and time stamped pictures of Sainsbury’s tills at peak times as soon as this can be arranged.

Finally, Acocks Green Town Centre Manager, Melinda Brown pointed out, in connection with the statement that Acocks Green Sainsbury’s is trading at 164% of company average, that Acocks Green Sainsbury’s presently has little competition. However, this is about to change because of the new Tesco’s Yardley (‘Swan’) development, to open in 2012, the Parkgate Shopping centre scheduled for Shirley and a new supermarket in Sheldon. In the light of the fact that the poster wording clearly suggests that Morrison’s expect to take trade from Acocks Green supermarkets, Melinda went on to express concerns, also, about the existing 188 other, smaller, units in Acocks Green, not mentioned in the exhibition. Melinda said:I

If you look at the current lack competition around us it isn’t that surprising that Sainsburys is ‘statistically’ over-performing but we are more than just Sainsburys! I would be delighted to see a report that evidenced that the 188+ other businesses in the Village (many of which depend on the footfall created by our larger stores) were also over-performing. What these reports also do not capture is the sustainability of the businesses in the Village.

She went on to list a number of, mainly long established, Acocks Green businesses which have recently closed like Wave Fashions, Acocks Green Cafe, Freshey, Prontaprint, Tiffin Lounge and Retro Hair. Beyond these, though, Melinda believes that, in the face of the impending supermarket competition with Acocks Green centre, long established ‘absolutely treasured independent’ shops which are currently ‘solid businesses’ could also be ‘pushed’ too far.

On a more positive note Melinda added

We are working hard to find ways to revitalise the Village with the proposed ‘Business Improvement District’. No matter how large a supermarket may be or how vast a product range it stocks, it doesn’t offer the local flavour of our Village. We have listened a great deal to what local people have to say about their local shopping centre and if we get the Yes Vote from businesses I do think we will keep many of our shoppers coming to the Village, and I hope, some new ones too.

We hope she is right. Meantime, though, there seems plenty here to worry about. Acocks Green shopping centre is undoubtedly vulnerable and a the report referred to on the poster by Roger Tyme and Partners – see link to Pdf for ‘Retail Needs Assessment Summary’ – noted that access to the village facilities is still an issue. The village has difficult parking and we have been campaigning on this for years. If people drive to a big supermarket with lots of facilities and easy parking what will happen, as Melinda asks, not only to our supermarkets, but to our smaller shops, our banks, our cafes and maybe other facilities like our library. Will these be less used? Could Acocks Green village become a ghost town? Will we cease to run into each other ‘in the Green’ because with so few facilities left we don’t go there much? If so, how would that affect the life of our community round our centre, as well?

We are told that there will be more local jobs. This does not, however, take into account the likely loss of jobs from the present Acocks Green centre.

What happens next? Morrison’s have said that the plan will be submitted to Birmingham City Council Planning Department by the end of August. If you are concerned about these plans download the petition at the top of this post and watch out for the petition appearing in local shops. Also, drop us a line and let us know what you think and do drop Morrison\’s a line

Updates

See, also, this post on The Birmingham Press for more info on the present worrying trend, this summer, for new supermarket plans in Birmingham, and the recent work of campaigners.

Interesting programme on towns. Ludlow, ten thousand residents, actively campaigned for a Tesco’s IN town, as opposed to away from their centre – for all the kinds of reason we give below. See near the beginning of the programme on this link: BBC iPlayer – \’Town\’

The Guardian magazine carried a very timely article this weekend \’The People vs The Supermarkets\’ by John Harris

‘Once planning permission has been granted and another supermarket goes up, the inevitable happens: local traders suffer, and many go out of business.’ (John Harris, The Guardian 6.8.2011)

Anyone who thinks that that Morrison’s is just another addition to a merry smorgasbord selection of new supermarkets around Acocks Green, please note!

Below is a potentially important extract from Vol 1 of Birmingham City Councl’s Retail Assessment Needs Survey. p. 93. (BCC website.) Trading in Sainsbury’s will go down anyway when the other three supermarkets planned for around are built, but this extract suggests that the over-trading argument put forward by Morrison’s about Sainsbury’s is not going to be at all useful to them.

BCC Retail Needs Assessment Survey Vol 1, p.93

17 Responses to “Morrisons in Acocks Green? Er, no thanks.”

  1. Can we please give some thought to residents at the other end of Shaftmoor lane especially those without transport , they have quite a trek to the nearest supermarket
    I cant see what possible efect the proposed store will make to the existing business in the Green Morrisons do not specialise in clothing , they dont have a hairdressers , hardware, furniture,carpets ,betting shops, chip shops, key cutters, jewellry ect
    I agree the independant supermarket will suffer however no one uses them for a full shop due to thier prices
    I agree that peak times at sainsbury’s is problematic with regard to traffic congeston particullarly at school times
    I also agree it could even bring more business into the Green

    • Julia says:

      Hi Lynne

      Thanks for your comments. Just a few thoughts: Are you absolutely sure that Morrison’s are not going to sell clothing or hardware? Most of the big supermarkets do. Re hairdressers – agreed they are unlikely to provide a hairdresser, but hairdressers in The Green are struggling already – Kevin John’s went ages ago now, and another hairdresser closed recently. Will people come specially into The Green for hairdressers if they are getting their other shopping elswhere? Likewise, in regard to people not using the local supermarket for a ‘full shop’, will people do their main shop at Morrison’s and then make that extra treck you mention, into The Green as well, when it will not be close? I am not quite sure why you think that Morrison’s could bring more business into The Green. Can you explain?

  2. Amanda D says:

    I dont live that close to Acocks Green or the proposed site but can see that it would be very cconvenient for local residents. I use Sainsburys quite a lot but avoid it on Saturdays as it’s always really busy. I’ve been in the car park quite a few times and there were no empty spaces. Friday afternoons are always a nightmare there too. The car park gets really congested and the Warwick road is so busy you can’t get out.

    I’ve never seen any of Morrisons selling clothes. They do have a small range of homewards but I would still continue to use Acocks Green for those items as you can get them cheaper (Wilkos, pound shop, pound stretcher etc).

    • Julia says:

      Hi Amanda

      What you say is interesting, but, as an Acocks Green resident, I have never been in the car park at Sainsbury’s when there are no empty spaces – there are generally plenty, and, if anything, the shop is often a bit worryingly quiet for my liking – quieter than it used to be, and far quieter than existing out of town supermarkets. As you say, you avoid Sainsbury’s on Saturdays, and don’t like it on Friday afternoons, but it does sound as though these times are the exceptions. I would be interested to hear more opinons on this

  3. Amanda D says:

    I am in Acocks Green every school day as my kids go to school there and Sainsburys is very busy then. The car park is very full in the afternoon and so is the supermarket with queues of people. Perhaps you should take a look at it in the afternoon as its probably the busiest time of day. The other thing about that store is it has a limited range compared to bigger stores so I often have to shop in Solihull.

  4. John Frusciante says:

    Yeah I think a Morrisons woils be good there. It’s near me so good to pick up stuff. I use Acocks Green for other things though. Betting shop, tattoos, haircuts, and a few other things. I still will go there if Morrisons opens.

  5. Mrs McEvoy says:

    As the bus operators keep taking off certain bus routes around Acocks Green ie no42 Morrisons would be alright at least its not Tesco the site is far enough from Acocks Green shops there are no shops in that area Ive ever used If you havent got a car you need bus fares for the Number 1 bus, this site could do with a good store

  6. Lesley T says:

    I think having a Morrisons in TYSELEY (it’s not Acocks Green) will be a good thing, especially for the local people that don’t need to go to the green everyday. I’m in the green every day as are many of us who take their children to the various school around Acocks Green so will still use the shops like Boots, Wilkos, Jeffries, Iceland, shoe shops, hairdressers etc. Incidently, you mention the closure of Retro hair salon but you fail to mention that Rachael’s hair salon has opened in its place! However, I can possibly see why the forum maybe a little worried about Acocks Green bacause at the moment it doesn’t have much to offer local people or people from other areas. Let’s face it, it’s full of charity shops, bookies and places to eat, which I hasten to add, don’t stay open for more than 3 or 4 weeks, due to there being enough good eating places already, and not forgetting the pawnbrokers. Instead of opposing Morrisons perhaps you should put your energies into trying to convince other worthwhile retail businesses to invest themselves into Acocks Green because it won’t be Morrisons that will kill the green!

    • Julia says:

      Hi Lesley

      Thank you for your comment. One or two corrections: firstly, I think we had better leave Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum to speak for themselves, re their views on the Morrison’s scheme – we are Acocks Green Focus Group; a different organisation. Secondly, the supermarket will be in Acocks Green, and not Tyseley. The address of the land concerned is Acocks Green – it is on the extreme edge of Acocks Green, although Spring Road is in Tyseley, and the other side of Shaftmoor Lane is Hall Green.

      In regard to businesses investing in Acocks Green, sadly, there is a recession on, and persuading busineses to spend money they do not have would be a virtually impossible task. Acocks Green does have useful shops for local people; we currently have a Sainsbury’s, a greengrocer’s two butcher’s and a baker’s, as well as the other shops you have already helpfully mentioned. I am not aware of any eatery which has only stayed open ‘3 or 4 weeks’, and we do have an excellent, very well used, Costa a delightful local pub restaurant in The Inn on the Green and a high class Indian Restaurant: Shah’s. These have all been open much longer than three or four weeks (Costa is celebrating its seventh year) However, when people start doing their main shopping elswhere than the town or village centre that centre tends to lose shops. More large, ‘out of town’ supermarkets are opening every year, and more small shops are closing.

  7. Lesley T says:

    Dear Julia, I have read and re read my prevoius post several times after reading your response. Why you mentioned Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum Group is puzzling me because my comments were aimed at your Acocks Green Focus Group as it was on this site that I was reading the groups negative comments. I have never read any of the forum group’s comments on anything.
    I am aware that Costa coffee has been in the Green for several years, so has N.K diner which I use regularly. You must have forgotten about Freshy and Cono Pizza…..only open for a few weeks.
    There is’nt a decent variety of shops in Acocks Green anymore. There is too many, offering the same kind of service. I notice that although there are only 5 other comments besides mine on here, they’re all in favour of Morrisons on Shaftmoor lane !

    • Julia says:

      Dear Lesley

      Thank you for your comment. The reason why I mentioned Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum was because you wrote I can possibly see why the forum maybe a little worried about Acocks Green We are not a neighbourhood forum, or, in any sense, a ‘forum’. We are a voluntary campaign group. People sometimes confuse us with Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum however, and I thought that it is what you were doing, so I apologise if I misunderstood you.

      I take your point that Freshy was not open for very long. I was not aware of Cono Pizza, however, as you say, there are other eateries which have been in The Green for a long time, and they are very popular. It is true that most of the comments on here support the Morrison’s supermarket plan, but I have also received a lot of comments from people who are very worried about it – and, and apart from the TCM, and one of our councillors, that goes for Acocks Green Focus Group, Acocks Green Village Partnership and traders in Acocks Green, and a great many petition signatures have already been collected. Several shops have run out of forms, after being given several, and Jeffrey’s asked for more forms after having around six sheets which filled up very quickly – they showed me recently.

      You may feel that there is not enough variety in Acocks Green shops, but if we are ringed by big supermarkets (which, with Tesco’s at Yardley, Asda in Shirley and Sainsbury’s in Sheldon already having permission and Yardley Tesco’s already half built and due to open in 2012 is exactly what will happen) then even more shops in Acocks Green – along with Freshey’s and Cono Pizza, and many more which have already gone – are likely to close, and Acocks Green could become a ghost town. The same battle is being fought by several suburban centres in Birmingham alone, right now, and there are more battle going on all around the country at present. Each year there are fewer independent greengrocer’s, butchers, newsagents, etc and more big supermarkets. Our old way of life is going. Maybe that is OK, and maybe what people really like is out-of-town supermarkets which sell a standard range of goods. However, many of us feel that the new way of life will be colder, and less community centred. I am aware that some people are vigorously insisting that they will continue to use some of the Acocks Green shops centre shops, and that everything will be alright, but, in reality, the experience in this kind of situation suggests that most people will not do that.

      I also realise that Yarnfield does need more facilities. However, firstly, Morrison’s are not going to be able to provide anything like all the jobs that people need, and, secondly, the real problem seems to be no shops very near by, in Yarnfield. A smaller supermarket than this big one (double the size of Acocks Green Sainsbury’s) could meet the need for a more convenient shopping facility. Some of us feel that other options could still be explored, in order to arrive at a solution that could suit Yarnfield, whilst being less damaging to the rest of Acocks Green.

  8. John F says:

    Leslie has raised some very valid points and I totally agree with her. Julia, you say you’re an Acocks Green resident and seem to know all about the village but you didn’t know Cono Pizza had closed down after only a few weeks being open….seems odd to me.

    • Julia says:

      Hi John

      Thanks for your comments. If you check out the two posts on Morrison’s you will see that, in regard to Acocks Green, I am quoting the Town Centre Manager, who knows a great deal more about Acocks Green than I do – it’s her job! In my previous reply to another commentator I also referred to comments made by the representative of Acocks Green Trader’s association on the Village Partnership. I think we need to avoid seeing this as a test of how much I, personally, know about what goes on in Acocks Green village and to look at the bigger picture, and the other people who are concerned, who I have been talking to.

      Moreover, as I have said before, there is a pattern here which is worrying many people around the country. You are, of course, spot on to talk about Tesco’s, which is why you will find that I have also referred to the Tesco’s issue previously as well. This is also a large part of why we are worried – we will be ringed by large supermarkets … after Tesco’s, which is already likely to be a blow, it is the Morrison’s store which really could be the last straw after Tesco’s has made Acocks Green centre vulnerable; this in fact, is a key part of the worry.

  9. John F says:

    Oh and I can’t believe everyone is so concerned about Morrisons. Its the new Tesco at the Swan people should be worried about. That’s going to sell everything, far more than Morrisons!

  10. Ant says:

    I agree with the no Morrison’s for Acocks Green, if they wanted a presence on Acocks Green they should have kept the now J Sainsburys site and not sold it off at the first opportunity they had.

    Acocks Green is one of a few vibrant and living shopping areas, Shirley is another example of one winning in the the current climate, Kings Heath on the other hand is falling away.

    Tesco at Yardley, yes will sell everything that’s what the extra format does, but surely that will impact the Asda at Small Heath and the existing Tesco at Sheldon. Impact on The Green could be minimal, depending on where the existing customers come from, Do they come from Olton? Gospel Oak?, the Swan area? or elsewhere, time will tell!

    • Julia says:

      Thanks for your comments Ant.

      Factual point: as far as we understand it (though we stand to be corrected if anyone knows any more) the site which Sainsbury’s, Acocks Green currently stands on is owned by the Holy Souls Roman Catholic Church, next door. Morrison’s leased the site from Holy Souls. They took over the lease from Safeway’s who were had the lease from when the supermarket was built in the early 1980s. Our information is that Morrison’s still hold a lease for the site. The supermarket on the site was operated by Morrison’s for a few months in the mid 2000s. However, Morrison’s, have been sub-letting the site to Sainsbury’s since around 2005. This is any attempt to avoid any confusion, but is not a criticism of Ant’s comments; it is hardly the kind of thing any one could tell by looking at the site!

  11. Steve Langdon says:

    I’ve come to this web-site late, but not too late (I hope) to address a point made by Lynne Donnelly. It’s not just about what Morrisons supply that makes a difference. Local traders are precisely that; Local. The money they make stays in the local area economy; money Morrisons (and all the other large supermarkets) make is taken out of the area, making the area, as a whole, poorer. Secondly, the local traders are (mostly) full time; if they’re put out of business they have to find employment. The employment offered by the supermarkets is part time (it’s cost effective [i.e. cheaper] to have as few full time staff as they can). The net effect is that employment is lost locally, again to the detriment of the local area.

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