The Ambler

Amble's Community Newspaper: News & events from Amble in Northumberland – The Kindliest Port.

Disappointment as Tesco drops Amble store

Tesco have dropped plans for the Amble supermarket

Tesco have dropped plans for the Amble supermarket

Tesco have cancelled long-standing plans to build a supermarket in Amble. In a statement, Tesco’s new boss Dave Lewis announced plans to close 43 “unprofitable” stores and to cancel the construction of 49 “very large” stores.

The Amble supermarket was also included in the cancellation announcement, despite not being designated one of the larger outlets.

Ann Burke, chair of Amble Business Club told The Ambler: “It’s very disappointing that Tesco are pulling out. It’s sad for the town because we’re now back to nowhere but expensive shops for food. The employment would have been good for the town.”

Director of Amble Development Trust Julia Aston said: “We are extremely disappointed, especially after all this time. Sadly the announcement had been expected given the poor trading figures, but we had been reassured – even up to quite recently, that their intention was still to invest in the town. Our biggest disappointment is that the jobs will now not be created – which is what the town desperately needs.”

Amble Town Council also expressed their disappointment at the news, vowing to continue to encourage developments which will encourage employment opportunities.

Sir Alan Beith MP and Julie Porksen reading the Tesco announcement

Sir Alan Beith MP and Julie Porksen discussing the Tesco announcement

Sir Alan Beith MP visited Amble on the day after the cancellation. He told The Ambler: “The announcement leaves a big gap for the economy of the town. It is very disappointing. It’s true the location was controvertial, but it would have contributed a lot to the town centre and brought many jobs. Northumberland County Council are going to have to start thinking and talking with Tesco, who are offering to be as helpful as possible.”

Liberal Democrat candidate for Berwick Upon Tweed Julie Pörksen who accompanied Sir Alan on his visit said: There are three main issues: what will happen for the site, what other serious employer can be attracted to Amble and what impact will it have on parking? Parking and employment are the main issues people talk to me about in Amble.”

When plans for the store were first announced in December 2010, Tesco intended to create 150 jobs for local people. The plans for the “eco store” were described as a massive boost to the local economy. Over the last four years, several delays and a redesign were announced, and in September the derelict buildings on the site were demolished.

Tesco blamed the cancellation decision on their recent economic troubles. The last two years have seen sales falling and profit warnings issued. An accounting scandal in 2014 also resulted in several senior executives leaving the company.

view-from-Braid.1w

The 30,000 sq ft eco store was to have employed 150 people

This is what Tesco CEO Dave Lewis had to say:

“It is with a heavy heart that I announced that we are unable to proceed with 49 planned new store developments across the UK, including our planned store in Amble.

 Our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be and my absolute imperative has to be to protect the future of our business for the c. 300,000 colleagues we employ in communities all over the UK.“

I know that this news will be a real disappointment to many people in the local community and we’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received for our plans. I am very aware of the importance of the site to the area and I am determined that we will work closely with Northumberland County Council to find the right solution for the local community.”

The site for the 30,000 sq ft Tesco store was not universally popular with local residents.

The Braid Hill site occupies the land north of the Gut. The location was not universally popular with Amble residents.

The plans for the 30,000 sq ft supermarket caused controversy in Amble, with many people unhappy at the prospect of the Braid Hill site being used for retail and housing. An access road would have connected the development, running alongside the burn known as the Gut, to the A1068.

In 2009, outline planning permission was also granted on the Braid Hill land for 46 new houses and flats, including 35 per cent affordable housing for local people. Tesco did not submit plans for housing in their Braid Hill development.

The majority of the Braid was designated Village Green status in 2009, after local residents set up a campaign to protect the recreational area from development.

 

Related articles:

Tesco propose 150 jobs in Amble

Tesco plans delayed again

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6 Comments

  1. As a frequent visitor to Amble, I’m dumbfounded by the statement of the Amble Business Club that after the cancellation of the Tesco project the town is “now back to nowhere but expensive shops for food”. You already have a Co-op and a small Tesco (which presumably charges the same for its food as the proposed large one).

    The Club also says “The employment would have been good for the town”. You have a main street with independent bakers, butchers and other shops which provide a diversity that less lucky small towns would envy. What will happen to them and their employees if their trade is lost to a large Tesco?

    Thank your lucky stars you’ve had a near miss.

    • I couldn’t agree more Graham. Amble has very diverse shopping in Queen St which would have suffered badly had this Tesco development gone ahead. Like you, I’m amazed that the Business Club was in favour of this death wish development and wonder if its members have ever visited Ashington’s main street to see the results of a supermarket squeezing smaller retailers out of business? Morpeth town centre is going much the same way and Alnwick too has suffered.

      The proposed supermarket development was in the wrong place but of course the Local Authority planners kowtowed and nodded it through despite objections from the people of Amble. It’s high time that planners understood that they work for us rather than big business and the aristocracy. What’s more, there is a perfectly good site on the town’s industrial estate with ready access which could have been used.

      And in any case, why would anyone want to have a company here that we have now learned has been fiddling its figures? But what I’d really like to know is whether the Duke of Northumberland gets to keep the loot for selling off a tranche of what most of us believed was common land for the Tesco access road?

  2. I also agree. I live in Amble and it’s not a disappointment for me. I am still over the moon that Tesco are not coming here. That there are no other options to buy ‘cheap food’ in Amble is a load of tosh. The independent shops in the town are often cheaper and at worst the same price as Tesco food, it’s also locally sourced, which it would not be from Tesco. I often hear people bad mouthing our local businesses and that the Chair pf the local business club is doing it is outrageous.

    If a large supermarket came here it would destroy the great local businesses. The Tories and Lib Dems have been doing plenty of that in government over the last few years anyway. If Tesco came to town, we would go the same way as Alnwick with the small shops closing just to be replaced by the same generic chain stores that infest most town centres.

    Perhaps the town council and the development trust ought to put a finger on the pulse of the community.

    • I also agree with Graham, Colin and Fred. I live in Warkworth, where most residents shop in Amble or Alnwick.
      I would be really pleased to see one or two more independent shops in Warkworth, like those in Amble. It’s good that we have a thriving post office and an enterprising cake / chocolate shop, but having more supermarkets in any of the surrounding towns does little to contribute to community life.
      The last thing I want is more corporate giants in any of the Northumberland towns and villages. We now see Alnwick being saddled with yet another supermarket – Aldi are joining Morrisons, Sainsburys and Lidl in the hunt for the ever-diminishing pound in your pocket. What perplexes me is that some in Alnwick seem pleased with the idea that just because 30-odd ‘new’ jobs are being created, we should somehow be pleased. More jobs would be good, but at what price? Would we welcome a germ warfare factory that offered jobs to 50 local people? There’s hope in the Amble Quays developments for some really good local initiatives. I’m delighted that Tesco have gone off with their tails down.

  3. I agree fully with the above comments made on this issue.
    I have long thought about making a comment however as I am not a resident of amble but a holiday cottage owner in Amble, who spends much time in Amble I have had second thoughts.
    Tescos large store would have only provided Amble with one asset, PARKING. Something Amble must find a solution to if it is to develop.
    If this is not a sensitive issue but what use does the area in front of the clock tower serve?
    It is not used to sit in by visitors, they will be by the harbour side development!
    It doesn’t have a market on it …… Ever
    Nor does it have a Christmas tree at Christmas, if ever an area was perfect for that and Christmas street Fayres that is.
    So…… Keep the sculpture excellent for Amble, but the lights in the posts are NEVER lit.
    Why are there no flags flying on the many poles? Is it not possible to get local businesses to “sponsor a flag and pole?
    So to my point, if you cannot use what is there you should be ashamed,
    THEN MAKE IT A CAR PARK!!!
    Must be room for 20 cars and you could keep the sculpture and seating area. Just what’s needed for access to the shops and harbour side. Especially at weekends.
    Let’s face it Tescos arnt coming to the rescue with a vast car park, so………
    Food for thought. I like all from Amble want to see Amble thrive and attract visitors, if they can’t park they will follow your one way system right out of town.

    Best wishes
    Alan Crich

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