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

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jonathan Glancey's article 'The supermarkets that are eating up Stroud' (18 August) is long on rhetoric but short on reasoned argument.

Safeway is the retailer associated with the Redler's factory site, one of the sites mentioned in the article. At the public inquiry the managing director of Redler's explained that if his site was sold for development into a food store then Redler's and its workforce would stay in Stroud. The capital realised from the sale would enable them to build a new factory and pay the 'higher property rentals within Stroud district'.

If the appeal went against the site then Redler's would relocate to an area where incentives were available, certainly away from Stroud. The immediate consequence of the 'people's victory' that Mr Glancey supports would be a real loss to Stroud of industrial jobs and reinvestment.

Mr Glancey states that the people of Stroud are against more food store development. I do not know who undertook the survey mentioned in the article or how he came to this conclusion. A statistical survey undertaken by an independent market research organisation for us in Stroud in July 1992 showed that 82 per cent of people questioned who had a view 'would like to see a new food store in Dudbridge'.

The Stroud News and Journal later in the year also asked its readers what they wanted; 81 per cent of those who responded favoured more stores. These results suggest that Mr Glancey has mistakenly or deliberately listened only to a vociferous minority and not the vast majority of Stroud residents. That people welcome improved food stores is borne out by the way they continue to visit our stores around the country, welcoming the range, choice, quality and value for money they offer.

Yours faithfully,

PETER SITCH

Property and Development

Department, Safeway

Hayes, Middlesex

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