Hallo, why are we talking about Llandrindod Wells? Sure it is a rather long way from Acocks Green. Llandrindod is a pretty Victorian Spa town, in Powys, in Mid Wales. It has a small town centre. It has slightly fewer shops than Acocks Green, but some of the same types of shop. Like Acocks Green, until recently it had one main supermarket, some smaller food shops, a butcher’s, a hardware store, a couple of chemists a couple of newsagents, some knick-knack shops, some cafes … Llandrindod had something happen to it recently. Something which could happen to Acocks Green, if Morrison’s is approved on Thursday 26 April. A year ago it acquired a large new supermarket, a Tesco, just around the corner from the town centre. On visiting we noticed a number of boarded up shops and an unfamiliar ease in parking in the high street which was quite disconcerting.
Here are some comments from some shop keepers and assistants. Nearly all were happy to give their names.
Lets start with Bradley’s hardware shop (See the tall building on the left, in the picture above.) Bradley’s is very well known in Llandrindod. Everybody goes there (well, they used to) for their tools, their their gardening equipment, bins, rugs, curtain hooks … The shop is run by Bradleys. This is a family business. For those who live in Acocks Green this might be starting to ring a bell or two. Julie Bradley said that trade was considerably down since the arrival of Tesco’s and that she had been forced to reduce the stock now carried. Shopping in the, still well organised and well stocked, four story, shop was a disconcerting, even slightly eerie, experience because we were the only people there.
Everyone we spoke to told us the same story. Chris Brittain, at J.O. Davies, the Spa convenience store said – yes it was fine to quote him saying: ‘We noticed an effect straight away.’ Here is Chris again on Facebook. He writes:
Yes, I know everybody loves Tesco’s in Llandrindod but it means all the local shops are losing business. Don’t let the Spar close down! Go in and buy something every so often. Save. Our. Spar.
Di Sharma in Vann’s Good Food shop told us:
We have lost the footfall. Our trade is noticeably down. The cars just go straight over the railway bridge (To Tesco). It has detracted trade from the Co-op too (Previously Llandrindod’s main supermarket – about the size of Acocks Green Sainsbury’s) There is free parking and a huge car park there, too
Since Tesco’s came, our trade is down by half.
Another trader from a well known old chain declined to be named (though, hint, we have this chain on a prominent corner location in Acocks Green) said:
We have lost half of our counter sales and a number of shops have shut down. Tesco’s have stopped the footfall. People from the big local offices now just drive straight past to Tesco’s.
The phrase ‘ghost town’ also occurred disturbingly often, both from the lips of traders, and from local residents in the area.
Lots of Llandrindod people also told us that there had been assurances that the centre would be OK, and lots of people who supported Tesco’s swore they would still shop in Llandrindod. They even recalled a councillor said to have voted for Tesco against his better judgement because he was frightened of the opinion of local people.
Do we really want Morrison’s in Shaftmoor Lane, close Acocks Green centre. There is still time to just just say no to Morrison’s