Asda needs its Hard Hat at Beeston Forum

Representative of Asda seemed under-prepared when they addressed the Beeston Community Forum on Thursday (5 February 2015).

Artists impression of the new Asda Store on Old Lane, Beeston
Artists impression of the new Asda Store on Old Lane, Beeston

Representatives from Asda and their PR company, the appropriately named Hard Hat, had come to inform residents that work was underway on the new store on Old Lane which is due to open on 13 July this year. However, members of the Forum are still upset about ‘broken promises’ made by Asda and its representatives when they first applied for planning permission for the new store.

Asda originally stated that opening hours at the new store would be 7am to 10pm. Beeston Forum withdrew its objection to the store on the promise that these hours would not be extended. Having gained planning permission on this basis, Asda submitted further applications to extend the opening and deliver hours and add a petrol filling station.

Although their request for 24 hour opening was refused, store hours have been increased to 6am-midnight, Monday to Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sundays. Delivery hours will be 6am-11pm Monday to Saturday and 7am to 10pm on Sundays.

One resident said “We can’t do anything about the petrol filling station now, but will Asda please reconsider these operating hours?”

Other residents threatened to boycott the store and it was pointed out that Asda boss Andy Clarke had recently been appointed an ambassador for ‘responsible business’ by the Business In The Community organisation. It was suggested that Mr Clarke should attend the Forum and explain his company’s actions.

Cllr Adam Ogilvie said he was “flabbergasted” that the Asda representatives were unaware of the strength of feeling. He said had met Asda on several occasions and told them that the planned changes were opposed by local people.

Laura Harrison from Hard Hat and Andrew Gowler, Asda’s regional manager said they “could only apologise” for the poor communication and promised to take the Forum’s issues back to Asda for a formal response.

They did clarify that the existing store will close from 31 May and that the route of delivery lorries would be via the Tommy Wass junction and not from Town Street. Asked if they were putting in a pedestrian crossing as part of the works on Old Lane they said they weren’t aware of a crossing in Asda’s plans.

Closing the discussion, Chair Christine Thornton said she “hoped for a better working relationship with Asda in the future.”

6 Replies to “Asda needs its Hard Hat at Beeston Forum”

  1. Felt a bit embarrassed for the ASDA trio . They didn’t have a clue about anything that was brought up but the reality is that no matter what people say now , we the residents can do absolutely nothing about it .

  2. Unfortunately, this is what the big supermarkets do, up and down the country. Asda and Tesco have an especially bad reputation. They play hard and fast with the rules, lean on the authorities, walk all over the wishes of local communities, break promises, and slowly but surely get exactly what they want. I’d bet on them on successfully getting 24 hour opening in the end.

    I shared this cheery message of doom at the big planning appeal meeting a couple of years back, but there is (especially at the level of local government, it seems – but to be fair, everywhere) such a lack of imagination for a different approach to food, retail, etc. So although Tesco got blocked, Asda got their foot in the door – and now this.

    We desperately need to re-balance our economy in favour of smaller independent businesses – who don’t hoover money out of our communities in the same way, and inevitably work more closely with local communities. I don’t idealise independent business, and bigger businesses arguably do have a role to play – but at the moment, we’re seriously off balance, and therefore beholden to big business.

  3. I wasn’t at the meeting, but the outcome doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Those in attendance will more than likely have been the sacrificial lambs, rather than those who actually make the decisions and who need to be held to account.

    Adam Ogilvie was exactly right, hopefully he will be taking the views of his residents (and electorate) forward to the council planning department to try and overturn some of these changes.

    Changes which were clearly part of the grand scheme of things all along.

  4. I’m with the woman who said it’s not too late for Asda to respect the community and change it’s opening hours back to 7am-10pm.

    There are many things we could do, raise a petition, picket the Old Lane store, march to Asda House (their national HQ is only 2 miles away).

    Their CEO is quoted as saying “Being a part of local communities and acting with integrity are in the very fabric of Asda.” Let’s make him prove it!

    1. Agree Jeremy, but fear that Asda will do whatever is most profitable irrespective of the views of local residents.
      The planning process and consultation was supposed to be about addressing these local issues and protecting residents.
      Whether it is true or not, the perception is that Asda entered into this as a PR exercise making promises that they had no intention of keeping.
      All leaves a very bad taste…

    2. Funny you are complaining about the Asda opening hours jeremy
      A certain proposed mosque you are involved with has very similar opening hours planned.
      Yet you seem ok to inflict this on the local community and i can guarantee the people using this will have less respect for the local area than Asda ever will.
      maybe you could start a petition or maybe march to head quarters which is even nearer than 2 miles away.

Comments are closed.