Letter: Really convenient stores

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The Independent Online
Nicholas Bird should spare a thought for those in villages (Letters, 21 April). We have in our area a proliferation of "out of" and "edge of town" supermarkets which are killing off our village shops. They destroy competition in many ways: by ferocious cost-cutting of loss leaders; through their car parks that do not attract rates (unlike the swingeing local business rate paid by shopkeepers which takes road space into account); and through school voucher schemes.

Our village can offer excellent venison, cheap, free-range eggs, organic wholemeal bread, pastries and quiches with a real homemade taste, pork trotters and bones for stock, free of charge - none of which I can get from the supermarket. But our shops are still struggling.

Yet local shopping is fun. I find it pleasant, sociable, time-saving and economical, because I'm not lured into making impulse buys. Our convenience store, chemist and off-licence may survive the pressures but for those shoppers without access to a car, the loss of the fresh produce shops would be a real hardship.

Francesca Weal

Welwyn, Hertfordshire