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News and Comment February 2012

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26 February (Part 2) - It ASDA be a stitch-up

Last July I was asked to start a campaign on Bonkers against the proposed new ASDA store in Belvedere. I don’t do that sort of thing I said, it will be up to Bexley council to do what is right and lawful and until they stray from that course it doesn’t concern me - although in a way it does, I live only 15 minutes walk from the proposed site.

B&Q Poor selection of shops Road congestionThe plan is to divide the enormous B&Q store in Belvedere into two and give a deprived area of town a decent food store. It seemed an attractive proposition although road access to the East, South and West is far from ideal. Bexley’s policy of narrowing roads, in this case the B2013, has not been helpful. Personally I felt a little bit negative about the arrival of ASDA but only because of the road situation and I never found anyone else who thought it was other than very welcome.

Obviously I did not mix with the right people because the shops close to B&Q began to sport anti-ASDA posters and the owner of Belvedere News, Amit Patel, organised a petition which attracted 409 signatures. The cynic in me thought that was likely to approximate to the family members of the affected shops. Their councillor, Kerry Allon, was brought on side and he wrote to the News Shopper. He didn’t get a lot of support; this is typical of comments posted to the Shopper’s website.

Councillor Kerry AllonI cannot believe how small minded the councillor for the area is being. As a Belvedere resident close to the proposed development, I can only see Asda moving to the area as a good thing, let’s take a look at the calibre of shops where this development is proposed: Chinese take away, fried chicken take away, off licence, Caribbean food shop, barbers, doctors, dentist, dry cleaners, news agents, vets, bookies, sandwich bar, hairdressers, Tescos - who charge the earth and go slower than a snail’s pace, kebab take away, another Chinese take away, Indian take away - think that about sums it up so who exactly other than the Tesco local will be affected by the new ASDA store? I for one won’t be objecting to the new store and can’t wait for it to go ahead they have my full support. We need investment in this part of Belvedere, not people putting the kibosh on it. Does Cllr. Kerry Allon even live in the area??

For the record, councillor Kerry Allon lives in far away Welling and the only Belvedere shop owner with whom I am on first name terms is all for bringing more people to the area.

As has recently been reported, Bexley council’s planning officers recommended the ASDA plan, but the Planning Committee threw it out after a “sob story” from the principal objector. Now it transpires that its main opponent, Amit Patel, was advised by another major supermarket. He, councillor Allon and Bexley council have contrived to keep Belvedere in a state of neglect. Only last month its MP, Teresa Pearce, was bemoaning the fact that vast tracts of her constituency do not even boast a bank. And now when a large store group wants to provide some of the poorest residents in the borough with cheaper food, the fat cats at Bexley council unite to make sure they remain poor and 300 more of them remain unemployed. Who is councillor Allon representing here? Not the bulk of his voters that is for sure.

Photos taken 12th August 2011.


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