Supermarket ‘too posh for town’

April 15, 2011 | by | 0 Comments

Campaigners are opposing plans to build a Waitrose in their town – because it is too POSH for them.

Supermarket 'too posh for town'

Residents in Faringdon, Oxon., say ”class war” has broken out over which supermarket giant should set up shop.

Both Tesco and Waitrose want to open branches, with each chain proposing rival sites to house the town’s first large supermarket.

Leanne Hutt, 27, who has collected over 150 names on a pro-Tesco petition, said: ”It is class war, very much so.

”To be completely honest, it is the snobs that want Waitrose, and people that cannot afford to carry on driving out of town or live on benefits that want Tesco.”

Council chiefs want just one superstore and turned down Tesco’s proposals for a 2,140 sq m out-of-town superstore last October.

The same committee will now decide whether to allow Waitrose to convert a disused site close to the town centre site into a similarly-sized store.

An annual survey by The Grocer magazine last year said Waitrose cost an average £466.61 more in bills over a year compared to Tesco.

The town’s primary food shop Budgens, which opposes both developments, has been criticised by many as already too expensive for Faringdon’s poorer residents.

Faringdon local Carolyn Williams told planners: ”Faringdon is very mixed, with a large amount of social housing and people on low incomes who are not confident enough to write to you in defence of Tesco as opposed to Waitrose.”

She added there are a similar number of private homes ”with more literate and vociferous people who are able and happy to write to you with the opposite view.

”The former need to shop in Faringdon, the latter tend to go out of town or shop on the Internet.”

Resident Andrea Messenger said: ”It’s all very idealist to create Cotswold ‘posh’ image for Faringdon, but Faringdon’s poor cannot be overlooked.”

But Philip St George-Yorke said: ”The quality of produce and type of shoppers that use Waitrose will help revitalise the whole town centre.

”Waitrose caters now for a full range of shoppers with many of their basic products matching other national supermarkets on both the price and quality.”

The Vale of White Horse District Council’s own economic development team is backing Waitrose, describing it as a ”much needed improvement”.

Tesco is already appealing over October’s decision and says it will take legal action if Waitrose gets the go-ahead when councillors vote on May 24.

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