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Department store chiefs threaten to pull out of Romsey if new Tesco approved
BOSSES at a famous department store have threatened to quit a Hampshire town if a new Tesco opens.
Retailer Bradbeers fears trade would be hit in Romsey.
And the store says it will abandon its own multi-million pound expansion plan which would have created 30 jobs if the supermarket gets the go ahead.
Managing director Greg Davies said: “The long-term effects for Bradbeers, particularly if Tesco expand in later years, will put the store’s future in doubt.”
Last year Bradbeers moved its furniture department to Hedge End retail park and Mr Davies says that the rest of the shop may follow suit.
In a letter of objection to Test Valley Borough Council planners, Mr Davies says: “As a company we have to take the correct actions ... and if trade deteriorates enough over many years we would seriously consider moving the entire department store to Hedge End to be alongside our furniture store.”
He also claims that the arrival of Tesco at Fairground Field, part of the Broadlands estate, could deter Bradbeers and other businesses from investing in the town and prevent others from starting up.
Accompanying the letter to the council is an image of a proposed redevelopment of the former Stares butcher shop in the Cornmarket adjoining Bradbeers.
Previously Bradbeers, which employs 95 staff at Romsey, had submitted a planning application for a one-storey extension of the shop but work on the refurbishment of the former Stares premises is currently on hold.
Bradbeers is now considering a bigger plan which would add 13,000 sq ft to their existing shop.
This would involve the demolition of the old butchers and the Oxfam bookshop (also owned by Bradbeers) and its replacement with a split level extension – two storeys facing onto the Cornmarket, rising to three storeys.
“This significant proposed investment in the town centre will create 30 permanent jobs and have a construction budget of several million pounds. I can predict confidently that a development on this scale will not take place if the competing outof- town Tesco is allowed to proceed,” states Mr Davies.
Mr Davies told the Daily Echo: “We want to lay our cards on the table for the council. So all the councillors who vote on this know the full impact of what they are deciding upon.”
He said it was his “gut feeling” that although Bradbeers and Tesco were not direct competitors the new superstore’s nonfood lines would affect trade in Romsey and reduce footfall to the town centre.