Letter: Supermarkets: have the country towns reached saturation point?

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was delighted to read in the article on the citizens versus the supermarkets of Stroud that the citizens may be winning. I would, however, on the basis of local experience here in Devon, urge vigilance.

The citizens of Pinhoe, a small village on the eastern outskirts of Exeter, were initially successful in preventing Sainsbury building on the only remaining area of green land between Pinhoe and Exeter, fighting applications in 1986, 1987 and 1989. A further application in 1992, however, having been initially refused, went to appeal. The Minister of the Environment upheld the appeal.

The 'district shopping centre' is now reaching completion. We will shortly have three Sainsburys in Exeter; two out-of-town hypermarkets, a Sainsbury and Gateway, within three miles of each other; and two petrol stations within 250 yards of each other. The sense of peace and tranquillity created by that small but important area of green fields has been lost for all time.

Citizens of Stroud, stay vigilant; be prepared to fight for several years.

Yours faithfully,

JUNE HARWOOD

Pinhoe, Exeter

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