Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Glossopdale Supermarket sweep part 2: Sainsbury's

At the beginning of April, local newspapers carried reports of a plan to bring another Supermarket to Glossop. This time, it was Sainsbury's. Tom Rowley's initial article in the Glossop Advertiser was more about the whole of the Howard Town Mill development, of which Sainsbury's would be a part. The article was followed a week later with a more detailed reports in both the Glossop Advertiser and our old friends the Glossop Chronic.

The companies involved are Glossop Land and Evans and Reid (E&R). Glossop Land share a director (Mike Ryan) with the company who are developing the mill site - B & R Developments. Evans and Reid are particularly interesting - take one look at their site and look at the geographical spread of their companies - Cardiff, Newcastle, Wolverhampton and ... Glossop! Don't get me wrong, I love Glossop, but the fact they are based in 3 large cities and one small town should lead to all Glossopians to wonder what's going on. But if you do some digging, it's not too hard to make some connections.

One of these companies, E&R Polymers, was the name of the company formed following the merger of St Albans Rubber and ... Volcrepe! Yes, that well known Glossop Company (who had contracts with the Ministry of Defence, just like Ferro Alloys), whose former works is now also up for sale to developers. So we've come full circle.

Whilst Tom Rowley in the Advertiser skirts around the issue, hinting that Sainsbury's is a possibility for Glossop, in the Chronic, David Jones says Sainsburys WILL move into the Mill (his capitals). And further, that "tree lined streets, dressed stone pavements and a new look station forecourt" are all part of this deal. So has this consortium paid for this work, and all the disruption that has cost small traders dearly? This must surely be the 'sweetener' for the deal, but one that leaves a bitter taste in Glossop.

In the more recent Advertiser article, Mike Ryan told us that his companies had "worked closely with High Peak Borough Council over 5 years to deliver Howard Town Mill" - does this mean that HPBC know all about Sainsbury's, and that it's pre-approved. Is this another 'softening up' exercise? If you think back again to how the 'regeneration' of Hattersley/Mottram is being paid for - the as yet un-named Tesco plugging a large financial hole - it looks as if something similar has been happening here. In the 2004-2005 financial year, the entire E&R group of companies had a turnover of £22 million and profit of merely £350,000 (read the PDF here). It all seems a bit too grand a project for such a seemingly minor company!

Like last week's news about Lidl was part of a trend to announce plans before a planning application has been lodged. This runs in complete contrast to the way that TMBC have handled the (still clandestine) intentions of Tesco for Mottram. In our final article about the Supermarket Sweep that is Glossop, we'll look at another 'softening up' exercise that has dipped under the radar somewhat.

But we'll finish with another quote from Mike Ryan:

"it cannot be underestimated how important the securing of Sainsbury's is to the potential successful redevelopment of these sites and to Glossop as a whole and the important and exciting benefits and opportunities this will bring to the town"

We're sure the traders along High Street West feel very excited about their future annihilation because that is what it will amount to. Not to mention transforming Glossop beyond recognition (for the worse) and ensuring the traffic situation is even worse than before.

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