Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sainsbury’s outside Llandeilo: Yes or No?

Carmarthenshire County Council is about to decide if Sainsbury’s can build a big new supermarket on the edge of Llandeilo. Here are 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea.
  1. The site is allocated for new employment, not for retailing.
  2. Supermarkets do not bring a net increase in jobs. New jobs are outweighed by job losses at existing retailers.
  3. Most jobs in supermarkets are low-paid.
  4. Supermarkets on the edge of town increase car use. This conflicts with the need to cut our use of fossil fuels due to climate change and depleting oil supplies.
  5. Supermarkets truck products into and out of distant central depots, adding to the problem of food miles.
  6. Supermarkets damage town centres because independent retailers lack the scale and power to compete against price promotions, and become less and less profitable, forcing them to downsize or close.
  7. The Sunday Times voted Llandeilo the coolest place to stay in the UK, because of its history, character and independent businesses. Tourism would be damaged by a depressed town centre.
  8. Ghost town centres are in no one’s interest. Ghost town centres damage the quality of life of residents and visitors alike.
  9. The site is low-lying but currently not hard-surfaced and so it helps to mop up rainfall.  Hard surfacing for a large store and car park would push water downstream towards Llandeilo and Ffairfach.
  10. Expected sales from Sainsbury’s would be £26.1 million at 2009 prices, at least £27.1 million now. Existing retailers would lose an equivalent amount, a devastating blow to the health of the fragile local economy.
  • Face the Difference: the Impact of Low Pay in National Supermarket Chains. Fair Pay Network, January 2012,
  • The Portas Review: an Independent Review into the Future of our High Streets. Department for Business Innovation and Skills, December 2011,
  • What’s Wrong with Supermarkets? Corporate Watch, April 2004,
  • 20 Cool Places to Stay, The Sunday Times, August 21st 2012

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


If you have not already sent in your letter of objection to the council this is your last chance as we have now had news that the Sainsbury's application will come before the planning committee on 2 February.  Letters to Ceri Davies, Planning Services, Civic Offices, Crescent Road, Llandeilo, SA19 6HW or by email to quoting application number E/25041.  Do it now!!!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Little things

Sometimes I wonder if all the random missives I send off to companies (to which I don't usually receive a response!) make any difference -- here's one case where it did:

My original email sent to Arriva Trains Wales after perusing the At Seat Catering menu on their web site:

> Have you considered offering Fairtrade coffee and tea on your trains?

I then received the following response:
> Please note that all our hot drinks on Our trains are Fairtrade and have been for over 3 years.

Okay, so I then replied:
> Very glad to hear that!  How about putting that information on your web site and menus and promoting it a bit so people know?

Got the following wordiness in reply:
> As a catering company operating on board trains our opportunities are limited however all our cups that contain Fairtrade products carry the FT logo - as I'm sure you are aware this is not an easy thing to achieve. Also as we are a Welsh company operating mainly in Wales we signed up to being part of the Welsh FT movement that culminated in Wales being declared the first FT country some 3 years ago. That said if you would like to offer some further advice please forward it.

So I suggested the following no-brainer:
> Following on from the below conversation I had with somebody from the company your catering is contracted out to, how about putting the Fairtrade logo on the page on your website where the catering menu is displayed next to the relevant items?

And magic presto, it got done:
> Thank you for your recent email about putting the logo on our web site.  Please see below.  Please feel free to forward any further comments or idea’s.  I have uploaded the Fairtrade logo to the At Seat Catering page for you with some supporting text. 

One only just wonders why they didn't think of it themselves...!