Retailers and residents of Marple, near Stockport, have achieved a “tremendous victory” in preventing Asda from opening a site on the outskirts of town.
Two years ago, Asda announced that it planned to open a £13m store on the site of a sixth-form college outside of the town centre, which local retailers felt would have killed off their businesses. Asda claimed the site would have created 250 jobs, however the supermarket’s plans were dashed by a Stockport council planning committee which refused to give the go-ahead on the grounds it went against their policy of focusing on town centres.
Mike McPhee, local retailer and co-founder of Marple in Action, which led the protest against Asda, said it was a “tremendous victory for the town”. He added: “It was a no contest really. We’re not against supermarkets or Asda, we just felt the out-of-town location was the wrong site for it and it would have brought people away from the town centre, which would have destroyed our businesses.”
He was also impressed by the support provided by the townspeople of Marple, which saw the council receive 782 letters and a 8,270-signature petition objecting against Asda’s plans.
Although an Asda spokesman said it would take some time to look in detail at the reasons for the council’s decision before considering its next steps, Mike does not believe there will be an appeal. “They have six months to appeal the decision, but I don’t think they will,” he said. “They were told by the public and councillors that they’re not wanted so I can’t imagine that they will try again. But if they do, we’ll fight them to the very end.”