I will be appearing on the Politics Show on BBC1 this Sunday along with a representative from the Green Party to discuss the new Tesco store in Beeston, which was given planning permission last night. I chaired the meeting and voted in favour of the scheme. It seems to me that having a store so close to the High Street, with free parking, may well attract more shoppers into the town. Afetr all, people park at Sainsbury's and visit other shops as well. By ensuring that Tesco's provide free parking for all shoppers for a minimum of 2 hours, which they will sign a legally binding agreement to do, and by removing a shop from the High Road to open up access to the car park, which they have done, I think that the store can be a benefit to the town.
It is however only part of the work. We desperately need to renovate the Square and get new facilities built there. We don't have enough large shop units in Beston to attract the range of retailers that we need, and as a result many companies who would like to have come to us have stayed away. We need to bring them in.
As well as major traders we also need to ensure that there are still spaces for local traders and speciality shops. We don't want to lose the chacater of Beeston so that it becomes just another identikit town.
Issues like this illustrate the genuinely difficult decisions that local politicians have to make week in and week out.