TRADERS have united against a new supermarket in Wetherby this week, declaring: “It’ll be the death of the town.”
Sainsbury’s have struck a deal to buy the Ramada Jarvis Hotel site subject to winning planning approval for redevelopment – a move described by shopkeepers as “potentially disastrous”.
The move has already been roundly condemned by Wetherby’s local councillors and the town’s Business
Association - and now shopkeepers have had their own say.
Among them, Andrew Veale, boss of Andrew’s Butchers on North Street, said of any new supermarket: “It would kill Wetherby,”
“I can’t see anything good coming from it at all. I’m dead against it. It beggars belief that anybody would let it be built.
“Wetherby’s got a lot of specialist shops and they just wouldn’t be able to compete with another supermarket.
“It would be the death of the town.”
Mr Veale’s views were echoed across Wetherby as independent traders voiced their concerns about a large-scale superstore at the gateway to town.
Mike Johnson, of Johnson’s Fruit and Vegetable store in the Market Place, said: “This would be another nail in Wetherby’s coffin,”
“I hope everybody opposes it.
“It would kill off all the competition. People would have no reason to come into the town centre at all.
“Sainsbury’s would have easy access, good parking, everything under one roof – Wetherby would become a ghost town, especially in winter time.
“What would you rather do on a miserable, wet day - wander around town or get everything from a warm, convenient store? Once people get into the habit of doing that they won’t bother with the town centre at all.”
Martyn Lawler, owner of Lawler’s Fishmonger’s in Wetherby said he was also opposed to the plans, saying “I feel that this would be bad news for Wetherby and would knock out the complete character of the town,”
“A Sainsbury’s of this size would finish off this town and would ruin small shops and independent business here.
“It would suck the life out of Wetherby and so I will oppose any plans by Sainsbury’s to take over the Ramada Jarvis site.”
Another trader, Leslie Dudley, shop supervisor at Castlegate toys, added: “I really think it will have a big affect on the smaller shops here and not in a good way.”
“Sainsbury’s is a bigger store than us and would undoubtedly be able to sell toys cheaper so the news is a major disappointment for us.
“The extra traffic will not help either, as traffic in Wetherby is bad enough here. I will be opposing these plans.”
Sainsbury’s have pledged to keep local residents informed “every step of the way” as they press ahead with plans for what would be a second store in Wetherby.
YOUR views - read what shoppers think of Sainsbury’s planned store by turning to page five.
LETTERS - Wetherby News readers tell us what they think of the plans, page six.
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