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Over the past thirty years there has been a dramatic and unchecked growth in the power of the supermarkets. The big supermarket chains now wield a huge influence over our lives – economically, socially, environmentally and culturally. They say they provide what consumers want – quick access to a wide choice of goods at low prices, but this frequently seems to run counter to the public interest, actually causing damage to local communities, local economies and the environment.
Despite planning controls, the big four supermarkets (Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons) continue to battle for increased market share with ever more ambitious expansion plans. Independent retailers cannot compete and market towns and neighbourhoods across the country face the destruction of their high streets and the loss of small local retailers as the big supermarkets build their big edge of town sheds or take over convenience stores. As more and more people decide to take action against the corporate takeover of their communities by the big supermarkets (more than 200 active local groups, that we know of) we’ve revised and updated our popular guide to stopping supermarket developments.
The guide gives an overview of what happens when a big supermarket threatens to move into your town – the impact they are likely to have on the local economy and the community and the tools and inspiration that you can use to oppose them. It also has a directory of campaign groups, which is not definitive, but gives details of a selection of past, present, successful and not so successful local campaigns. All the contacts listed are happy to share experiences and discuss strategies/tactics with other local groups campaigning against supermarkets. There is also an extensive resource list.
Although the supermarkets appear big and powerful with friends in all the right places, armed with some knowledge of planning and campaigning tactics it is possible to take them on, and win! From Hammersmith to Norwich local communities have succeeded against the might of the big supermarkets: campaigning groups have a great deal of knowledge and skills to share with each other.
Published in 2006.