This slot is often used to air an injustice… and that is certainly how Harjit Singh sees his situation.

His is a very successful business in Walsall. Anyone doubting this just has to consider that he saw off a company-owned Spar store that opened up a few years ago in competition with him. He offered the wholesaler owner a large sum for it at the time, but got turned down. Recently, he offered one-quarter the price and it was accepted.

So now he is planning to double the size of his store by tying in the two properties next door to make a 2,500sq ft Nisa Local. It should be open by next month.

Last August the Post Office approached. They had a post office in the vicinity that wasn’t working well and which they wanted to relocate. They gave him a presentation and he revealed his big plans. It was all going nicely. “But then they rang and said the Mid-Counties Co-op round the corner has got it.”

Harjit immediately got up a petition with 915 signatures in three weeks (his local MP helped with it) and he has written a lengthy, detailed letter of protest.

He points out that his store is the hub of the community. He has been in the parade of stores for 22 years, against a standalone Co-op branch of only two years. He was told that the selection process takes nine months with a six-month public consultation period, but this has seemingly been speeded up for the Co-op.

And he was also told that, even if he scored ‘full marks’, he wouldn’t stand a chance.