In which I actually support something…

26 Aug

Oh dear I think I might be a de-activist.

An email landed in my Inbox mid-August from the self-styled “Scone Militant Front”. To be fair that name was quantified by a ”ha ha”. Somebody sent it to somebody who sent it to somebody who thought I might be on board with their aims so sent it to me.

This is a bit of a local beef so probably not very interesting for anyone who lives outwith a 5 mile radius of my dinky little village. But it’s a recognisable beef as towns and villages the country over will have some experience of locking horns with planners, developers and especially supermarkets. If they don’t they will. Sometime.

To put it in perspective, Scone isn’t a town. It’s not got a centre as such. We have  around 4,500 people, a Co-Op, a Spar, a Tesco Express at the petrol station, a chemist, a baker, a ladies clothes shop, a newsagent, furniture/carpet store, a sweetie shop and we still have a Post Office.  I use all the shops in the village except the clothes shop and the furniture shop. Oh and the newsagent, everyone sells papers (truthfully I have no idea how it remains viable since the smoking age was raised to 18). The sweetie shop is rarely open.

I walk to all these village shops (sometimes I skip – especially when I’m off to replenish the wine). Some might say for a place so small we are pretty well served, but the small village stores cannot stock everything all that much, milk and bread run out by tea-time and they are prohibitively expensive to feed a family of five from. I have no alternative but to drive into Perth for my main grocery shop.

Why the hell wouldn’t I want a supermarket on the edge of the village?

Ignoring the fact that it’s going to be sited at the entrance of the latest mass housing development… actually can that be ignored? Anyway… the main thrust of the objections seem to be traffic volume, impact on local businesses, aesthetics and “think of the children!”.

One at a time.

Traffic. At the moment everyone in Scone has to travel somewhere to purchase reasonably priced groceries. Everyone North of Scone must also travel somewhere, either Perth or (since it got a big Tesco) Blairgowrie. That’s a big area. They travel in cars. A lot of them through Scone. I’m all for them stopping at the northern end of the village, shopping, and heading back north without having to set wheel in Scone. Scone people who choose to drive to this new supermarket will also save fuel miles as its closer. Even better, if it’s Tesco, Asda or Morrisons then people from Perth won’t bother driving out to it (though Tesco have already denied it’s them).

Impact on local business isn’t even a starter. Given the choice of walking to the Co-Op or driving to the new supermarket I will walk to the Co-Op. I already make this decision when I choose not to drive to ANY supermarket for one or two things when I can walk to my local convenience store. Why would that change? After polishing off a bottle of wine my custom at the Co-Op for the next bottle is very safe indeedy. If  anyone really believes that people will abandon the village shops in favour of a shiny new supermarket that says more about their inability to resist shiny new things than mine.

Aesthetics. The proposed site is on the edge of the village. There’s nothing there to spoil. In fact the NIMBYs should be partying that they’re not squeezing in another 700 houses and hitting them where it really hurts, in their equity. The massive housing developments that have sprung up around Scone in the last 5-10 years have fucked village aesthetics well and truly. I’m a fourth generation villager so anyone sitting in a shiny new Stephens house, or anywhere else for that matter, needn’t waste time telling ME the village will be spoiled by ONE SHOP. It was spoiled a long time ago.

Think of the children! Yes, think of the part-time jobs for them. Think of them not having to get back from working an after school job in Perth at all hours of the night. Think of it.

In the face of this activism I guess I’m just a de-activist. I did think of writing to the Planning Department to support the supermarket but decided it’s probably not necessary. The departing Community Council sent out 2000 questionnaires and 367 were returned. All 367 were in opposition. They say this is a resounding no with 100% opposition. I (and anyone else who can count) say 82% are either in support or couldn’t give a rat’s arse. Either way I bet all 367 of them shop there as soon as it opens. Especially if it’s Sainsbury or Waitrose (but I’m secretly hoping for Netto or Lidl hahahaha!)



2 Responses to “In which I actually support something…”

  1. SJ August 29, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    That’s the reason that people want to live in villages because it is that, a village, not a town or city but a quaint backwater. If you want to have the conveniences of a town or city then move to one. Tesco and all the other major chains have killed local business which has been proved in a damning report by the government in which they want to cap Tesco. I read somewhere that Perth is known as ‘Tesco Town’ because over 60% of all shopping is done there.
    It’s not like Perth is a million miles or even one hundred miles away from Scone so it’s not too hard to get there. You say that it won’t damage the aesthetics of Scone because there is nothing there. Your missing the point, there IS something there you just aren’t looking at it.What about the huge parking facilities not to mention taking away MORE of the land than is necessary?
    Your right about the housing. It is absolutely ridiculous the amount of land that has been swallowed up over the last 5 years by unnecessary building of new houses on what used to be green belt land. There are plenty of existing vacant sites that could have been re-developed.
    It is laziness and greed to WANT a new shop when there is already sufficient enough facilities at hand even if they run out of goods by night.
    This is coming from someone who used to have to walk 3 miles to the nearest shop but now lives only half a mile to one and has to drive over a mile and a half to the nearest shop that sells any goods other than sweets and magazines and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
    Human’s are very good at building for what they think is necessary but forget about the impact that it has on the land and animals. I see you like Landscape photo’s? Could you imagine a Tesco being built in the centre of Glencoe? If it is not capped and controlled that is what could and would eventually happen.
    I have just come back from the small town in Ireland where I had lived and it has been ruined by the building of a retail park (Tesco being one major shop) and roads on land that used to be part of it’s charm. It has no benefit to the existing locals as they had sufficient facilities in the centre of town which they still use. It has been built to entice outsiders (mainly Dubliners) to live there. If the facilities aren’t used they will shut down and left an eyesore.
    Would you want Scone saturated with people and swallowed up by Perth like Lochee was by Dundee? Scone may then turn like Lochee did with only empty shops and Junkies hanging out there.This happened in less that 40 years.
    People think all these new shopping areas are great until the novelty wears off and the areas are left derelict for generations. Camperdown retail park in Lochee, Dundee being a major case.
    There is an ongoing cull of deer on the A9 because there are too many of them. NO, it is not that there are too many deer at all. We have cut down their forests and taken away their land to build houses and Supermarkets until they have nothing left. Where are they supposed to go? The nearest Tesco?
    It is human greed , nothing but and it drives me mad.

    Just my tuppance……:)

  2. MrsW August 29, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    Ah – but we already know for a fact it’s not a Tesco cos Tesco… wait for the irony… are objecting! They have an instore petition in the Scone Tesco Extra. Anything that bites the bum of Tesco IS fine by me, if only for their appalling nut allergy warnings.

    Yeah I’m selfish. At the moment I have to shop in all four major supermarkets in Perth to source food that will not kill my son. I can’t buy it all in one and I’m pussie sick of shopping for food. I don’t have access to a car during the day, really, I hate shopping. If I can get more locally then I am all for it and believe me, walking three miles and carrying home food for a family of FIVE aint gonna happen.

    The proposed site for the new supermarket is already developed to an extent as I believe it is to be on the site of the park and ride that nobody uses cos they all drive through Scone to get to Perth… for the supermarkets.

    I too have witnessed the effect of strip developments on the edges of towns in the USA and Canada, it’s heartbreaking to walk round the centre of Savannah GA, Brantford ON, Valdosta GA (though they are regenerating) and witness the emptiness. The buildings in the centre of all these towns are utterly divine, truly, they are wonderful even though empty. But all retail activity has decanted to the strips just off the major highways. They name their retail parks by the exit number on the interstate, you don’t have to even see the town beyond the golden arches. Not unless you want to.

    I don’t think you can compare Scone with this type of developement nightmare (I know – you didn’t – but I do – kinda). People move to Scone for many reasons, not in the least because they believe it is “exclusive” in some way. They also have some strange idea that the primary school is good (it most definitely is NOT all that). We are known in Perth as “Little England” as people head north with their obscene equity and drive the price of homes way beyond the means of people like me who have lived here for several generations. That fucks me off immensely so it makes me cackle with glee to imagine a supermarket and car-park plonked in the middle of their “exclusive” housing scheme. It really does.

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