Action group in supermarket sweep

Daily Echo: STORE CONCERN: Sainsburys’ David Lazenby, transport consultant Kevin Chaney and Peter Ewence discuss proposals for Bishop’s Waltham. STORE CONCERN: Sainsburys’ David Lazenby, transport consultant Kevin Chaney and Peter Ewence discuss proposals for Bishop’s Waltham.

CANDIDATES in Meon Valley are uniting in a campaign against a new supermarket.

Politicians in the constituency are opposing Sainsbury’s plans for Bishop’s Waltham.

Amid frantic electioneering in the run up to the general and local elections, almost all candidates have given them the thumbs down.

Bishop’s Waltham Action Group (BWAG) wrote to six parliamentary candidates, as well as the four candidates standing for the City Council, to gauge their positions.

Conservative George Hollingbery said: “I believe that we will fail in our duty if we do not make our best efforts to protect what Bishop’s Waltham already has, a vibrant and thriving small town centre greatly valued by a great many people.”

Liberal Democrat Liz Leffman listed seven specific reasons for her continuing opposition to Sainsbury’s proposals, including both the size and the siting of the proposed store.

Labour’s Howard Linsley said that he too was “very concerned about the possibility of a large superstore in Bishop’s Waltham and the effect that it would have.”

Steve Harris, for UKIP, said: “I am a supermarket-type guy, generally. In this case, however, I am not. It would be a bit of overkill here.”

Independent Graeme Quar said: “Sainsbury’s has not made its case. Sainsbury’s hopes to swagger into town and build a new superstore without proper regard to the location and community.”

Pat Harris, English Democrat, said he was happy to join protesters to “lie down in front of the ‘dozers” to stop the superstore being built.

Among those standing for seats on Winchester City Council, the Lib Dem Ben Stoneham confirmed that he had consistently opposed the Sainsbury’s proposal since it was first raised.

Labour’s Steve Haines made it a family matter by saying: “I object to the proposal and my wife strongly objects to the proposal.”

Meanwhile, the Independent candidate Gideon Lake has promised, if elected, to “vigorously represent the views of our community within the Bishop’s Waltham ward.”.

The only dissenting voice is David Mclean, standing for the Conservatives, who said he does “not believe that the proposed new Sainsbury store will result in the destruction of the centre of Bishop’s Waltham” and that the store would bring many jobs to the town.

Tony Kippenberger, BWAG chairman, said: “We wrote to all the candidates because we thought it important that the voters of Bishop’s Waltham should know the candidates’ position.”

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