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Supermarket threat

PUBLISHED: 15:35 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:38 25 August 2010

UPSET: James Coffill.

UPSET: James Coffill.

TRADERS and shoppers fear that a third large supermarket in their town centre will kill off small businesses.

TRADERS and shoppers fear that a third large supermarket in their town centre will kill off small businesses.

Bexleyheath is to see a Tesco Extra built on the former Woolwich bank headquarters, overlooking the corner of Watling Street and Erith Road.

The food giant wants residents to suggest how the remainder of the large site might be used. Traders have slammed the development.

James Coffill, manager of the fruit and vegetable stall opposite Adsa, Bexleyheath Broadway, said: "Up and down here more and more shops closing because of the pressure from big stores.

"They sell everything people need under one roof. People would drive there, park in their car park, and there would be no foot fall for us."

Pam Mickillon, 23, from Erith, said: "I guess it would mean more jobs but there is already a big Asda and a Sainsbury's.

"I don't think there should be more supermarkets in the world. I'm worried they will damage the small shops."

But the building's new owners, St James's Investments, say the mixed-use site will rejuvenate east Bexleyheath and it is currently holding a consultation to gather residents' ideas.

Tesco's corporate affairs manager, James Wiggam, said: "Bexleyheath currently suffers from a 27 per cent shopping leakage to surrounding retail centres.

"A new retail store is needed to act as an anchor to attract shoppers back to the area."

No plans have yet been drawn up for the former Woolwich bank headquarters, but Mr Wiggam suspects the site will eventually include housing and possible community facilities.

Neville Colins, store manager of Primark in Bexleyheath Broadway, agreed that Bexleyheath needs to claw back more shoppers.

He said: "I think it would probably bring more people to town. It's only going to help.

"We have Lakeside on one side and Bluewater on the other side - we need people to come into town and see what's on offer."

A first set of residents' workshops on the site's future will be held tomorrow at the Marriott Hotel, Broadway, Bexleyheath, from 2to 4pm, and 7pm to 9pm, then on Saturday from 10am to noon.

You can also email your ideas, concerns and opinions to bexleytesco@londoncommunications.co.uk.

To register for a workshop call 0800 977 8791.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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