Campaigners in Greater Manchester are celebrating after Asda abandoned plans to build an edge-of-town supermarket in Marple.
Residents in the town formed the Marple in Action protest group when Asda applied for planning permission to build a 25,000sq ft supermarket on the site of a sixth-form college.
Stockport council’s planning committee rejected the application in March, but campaigners feared Asda would appeal the decision. However, it has now withdrawn from its contract with the college board.
Mike McPhee, who runs a newsagent in the town and was a leading Marple in Action campaigner, said the decision was a “victory for common sense and people power”.
“The tremendous weight of public opposition in Marple to the plan - and the professional and determined campaign mounted against it - completely took Asda by surprise. It had totally under-estimated the Marple community’s resolve to scupper this ill-conceived scheme,” he added.
“Marple In Action is absolutely delighted that Asda have finally bowed to the wishes of the people of Marple. Following our protest action, Asda and the college are now legally severing their contract by mutual consent.
“If we can do it, other people can do it as well.”
During the 18-month battle against Asda, Marple in Action collected more than 8,000 signatures on a petition, held protest marches, lobbied local councillors, encouraged almost 800 residents to write individual letters of objection to the council and recruited the local MP on to their team.
Throughout the campaign it manned an information stand on the high street to keep local shoppers informed on developments and carried out an information campaign in the region’s print, online TV and radio media.
Mike said the proposals would have been disastrous for the town.
“Shops in the town centre selling the same products as the supermarket would be the first to be hit and could close down. Once a proportion of retail businesses have closed down, there comes a tipping point where visitor numbers to the town centre fall, so threatening the small number of remaining businesses,” he said.