Tesco "spooked" by Lewes Road Community Garden's success

Posted On 28 Jun 2010 at 7:30 am

Tesco is reportedly worried about a possible boycott of its new store in Lewes Road following the success of the community garden.

In an email sent to one of the gardeners and posted on Facebook, Green ward councillor Pete West says the supermarket giant has approached councillors concerned at the strength of feeling.

This has renewed hopes the community may be able to buy the plot of land itself so that the garden, which has now been dismantled, can return.

Mr West’s email follows:

“However this isn’t the end. The community also discussed other options last Friday including buying the site. It may seem a long shot, but today we were approached by Tesco who are growing concerned by the amount of adverse publicity and angry letters they are receiving from members of the community about the development.

“Tesco were at pains to point out that they are not the developer, but are looking to rent the shop unit. We offered them some helpful advice about the strength of feelings being expressed by the local community, the special circumstances of the garden and how highly motivated and well organised they will likely find people in their opposition both to the development and to a Tesco store.

“We hope they will think about the price they are prepared to pay in terms of adverse publicity, which could become nationally focussed, if they remain involved. Our hope is that in response to the pledge by local people to boycott the store, Tesco will decide to back off, and that other chains will then likewise not wish to become involved. If so, the developer may then also be persuaded to offer the community to buy the site at reduced cost.”

A goodbye party is being held at the garden today, from 10am until 4.30pm, the deadline given by a judge at Brighton County Court for the gardeners to vacate the plot.

Developers Alburn Minos Ltd now plan to build two retail units and seven flats there.

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