Tuesday, 12 August 2008

"The beginning of the end"

That's how one retailer in the Indoor Market described how he felt today when I went down to canvass views on the new Tesco store. I've known some of these guys for 20 years or more, during which time the Indoor Market has been allowed to deteriorate to become a shadow of its former glory. At the moment, with household budgets under pressure, we're all suffering from a significant fall in consumer spending. The news about Tesco is the last thing we need.

It seems that the Tesco store will be much bigger than you might think. The application for an alcohol license is for three shop units, numbers 52 to 54. Not only is Rymans now closed, but so is the unit directly behind it. The third shop in is a large remainder bookshop, but this is not on a lease: it's on a short-term licence. So this has also been made available to Tesco. These three shops together would be the size of a small supermarket, not an Express convenience store.

Tesco would effectively take over the whole of the ground floor on the left hand side of the Tubwell Row entrance. That's a hell of a food shop!


mail said...

But where is the political will to defend local communities and local businesses?

I agree with Mike, this could well be a false economy as posted by Anonymous.

I try to shop locally as much as I can because that is a) the only way to maintain choice and b) as Mike Barker says this will be a short term gain until there is no real opposition/choice left.

Chris Close

Tom Papworth said...

"Shopkeeper alarmed by competition!"

Not much of a headline, Mike.

If the storekeepers in the indoor market want to stay in business, all they need to do is keep attracting customers by making a better offer than Tesco.

It's pretty simple: can they compete on price, quality and/or choice? If they can, they'll be fine. If they can't, then the consumers will be grateful to Tesco for offering them what their former providers could not - a gratitude they will demonstrate every time they walk through those sliding doors and spend their hard-earned money.

Chris Close said...

Who the f**k do you think you are Tom, you live in a protected part of the country where all of the subsidies go?

We live in the North East where we get diggldy squit form labour and now lib dems.

You prate about Tescos with no understanding of how we live.

We will be examining your credentials.

Chris Close said...

Of course this prat's comments show that differential party politics are dead.

This comment could have been straight from Wincey Wallis.

They are all the same.


Mike Barker said...

Of course you have a point, Tom, but it's difficult to compete without a level playing field.

Tesco will spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to produce a state of the art food store and even more on marketing, advertising and price promotions in an attempt to dominate town centre food retailing.

In contrast, the Labour Council has neglected the Indoor Market for many years, only re-discovering it a couple of years ago when the the town rose up in its support and against Tesco. Even now, though, there has been no investment.
Yesterday's rain revealed six leaks in the roof, the floor tiles at the entrances are broken or missing, the extractor fans don't work, the floor is grimy, the whole place needs painting, there is no car parking, not even a short-term pick-up point, the buses don't stop outside any more, marketing support is a fraction of what Tesco will spend and finally, as independent traders the stall-holders do not have Tesco's immense buying power which enables Tesco to squeeze supplier and farmer margins to the bone.

Look at high streets across the country: supermarket financial muscle has robbed us of our independent food shops and turned our town centres into clones of each other, with the same shops in every town.

In France, legislation protects local independent retailers. Compare the joys of food shopping there to the experience most town centres in this country offer. I don't believe that's what people want, but supermarket power rules, I'm afraid.

Tom Papworth said...


Examine away. I'm not sure my credentials will tell you much, though, except that I would do away with any "protected parts where all the subsidies go" and stop spending taxpayers money on political favours.

Perhaps you'd be better off focussing on price-gouging your customers.

Tom Papworth said...


I know that Tesco will spend a lot of money, but in the end it is still going to boil down to which shopping offer is the most attractive to customers. Despite what Mr. Close fumed, hard-pressed families are the same all over the country: what they want is a wide variety of high quality produce at a low price. If shopping at Tesco is going to save them time and money then that is all to the good.

On the other hand, the indoor market will have plenty of offer - Borough Market still thrives because it offers something different and enjoyable. But I don't see why the taxpayers should be forced to pay to repair the roof of somewhere they may not be choosing to shop. Ultimately every shopkeeper (including Tesco) has to sell produce at a profit to pay for the roof over their head, and the same should be true of the stallholders.

As for France, the president is finally trying to abolish the absurd legislation that requires any new business setting up in an area to get the consent of other businesses in the area. It's an absurd anti-competitive practice that is bad for consumers.

I suspect, however, that we're not going to agree on this. But thank you for engaging in a civilised debate about it.

Chris Close said...

Media whore or representing the people? You decide!
The council has a duty of care to provide a service for its residents and as your leader was quick to point at full council, Arriva is a commercial organisation which means there to make a profit. And yes John I do understand what commercial means!
In fact, it was the Cabinet report that noted that five areas in the town would be affected by the commercial decision by Arriva to change the routes and it was recommended in the cabinet report that the council should consider subsidising routes to service these affected areas. All we are simply doing is to try and make sure that these proposals are put to Cabinet sooner rather later or alternative proposals.
But it is a bit naive to even suggest that Arriva (commercial organisation) is going to put services into these areas out of the goodness of their hearts. The decision by Arriva was based on patronage figures that the council have not seen. We have to take their word for it that these routes were not commercially viable? Perhaps they may turn out to be not so commercially unviable as first thought.
As for sending a dubious message to the Post Office and Arriva, it is not them you are serving, it is Darlington residents, for whom you need to provide a service, not worry about being thought of as a soft touch by organisations. It is a shame that you did not worry as much about your reputation with the people of Darlington because you might react quicker to problems like these, as our neighbouring authority Hartlepool has.
It is a bit funny to find a Labour Councillor giving advice on how to inspire long-run confidence amongst the public given the current state of affairs with the country and the lack of confidence within the Labour Party in its leader. It you dont mind, i might just continue to do what i was elected to do and represent the people!

11 August, 2008 19:56

Anonymous said...
Quite right Gill. Go get 'em girl.

Are we going to get 150 nicker Councillor Wallis to pay on leckie?

11 August, 2008 21:09

BNP Volunteer said...
The Cartwrights are quite correct. I like them. They are councillors for all the right reasons - what they can do for their constituents.

Transport, like rented houses should be controlled by the council. As a service everyone will be a winner - those who live in council houses will get a better service than off private landlords who are only doing it for their own profits. I have heard that some people with private houses in areas where landlords are turning the 'hood into a rented zone for dossers are adopting an "if you can't beat them join them" attitude and not bothering to work themselves. After all if you set your alarm every morning because you aspire to live in a better area but find that you are surrounded by dossers then why bother to work?

Any profits made from the council busses and houses should be used to make council tax cheaper.

12 August, 2008 00:56

John Lewis said...
Whose hands in whose pockets?

I dont know how you dare!

This Labour controlled council and its leader get more freebies and perks than many top company directors on top of over generous allowances also paid by the tax payer, did you see who got the free Elton John tikets over on the "liar", there are allegations of certain peoples bins getting emptied on strike days the list probably goes on and on as no one except JW and his elite know what depts this corruption runs.

But to come on here Nick with "Whose hands in whose pockets?" is a statment that deserves front page headlines in the Echo, have you so quickly forgot the John Lewis list?

Theres only one lot with their hands in the taxpayers pockets and thats NU-Labour and your cronies at DBC...Hypocrite.

12 August, 2008 07:23

Mike Barker said...
Good for you, Gill. This Labour Council no longer cares about the ordinary people in the town. They're only interested in building monuments to themselves, beit roads, university buildings or shopping centres. They've lost touch.
The town's a shameful mess: Street Scene is a joke which even their own backbenchers admit isn't doing the job properly.
You shamed them into "finding" the cash to re-instate free bus travel before 9.30am, this after putting up with the sneering comments from Cabinet members when you dared to question their policy of removing free travel.
They sat on their hands while our post offices were shut down. Now they brush aside legitimate protests from all across the town about bus services being withdrawn.
This lot are arrogant and out-of-touch. The shame is we're stuck with their mismanagement until 2011.

12 August, 2008 07:47

Darlington Councillor said...
Hmmm, lots of heat here, but not a lot of light.

Gill says "We have to take their word for it that these routes were not commercially viable? Perhaps they may turn out to be not so commercially unviable as first thought".

Well, firstly Gill, I wouldn't want you negotiating for me in a complex stand-off. And I'm not sure what you're saying in the latter part of the quote, but it's precisely our point that pressure should be applied to Arriva before shelling out lots of lolly to support the company's already swollen bottom line.

Rolling over to have your tummy tickled by a large multinational is not representing the best interests of your residents. When you're in opposition, you can of course promise the earth, but it's rather different when you have to actually balance the books. I have to say that this is the kind of wacky financial irresponsibility I associate with the LibDems rather than the Tories.

Which brings me onto Mike. I'm sorry to learn that the LibDems don't support the Council's work with the College and Alan Milburn to bring university status to Darlington - or maybe Martin Swainston will come on later to "correct" your comments as he did with the bin issue at Council?

A huge amount of work is being undertaken by the College and partners on the bid, and it's a great shame to see it dismissively trashed by one of the town's PPCs.

As for losing touch - well, you can try and play the old tunes, Mike, but I don't think that they're working any more. Things have moved on since 2007 - after all, it's the Tories who are now saying that the Council's consultation works perfectly well, and so we should scrap Talking Together sessions!

To repeat the charge I make against Gill and Mike C, it would be mismanagement of the first order to chuck a sizeable wedge of cash at a profitable business like Arriva without trying every other avenue first.

12 August, 2008 08:26

Cllr Swainston said...
Cllr Wallis,

Your attempts to decry everybody and anything not nu Labour is starting to wear a little thin, anybody taking the time to read your attempts to slag off the opposition only has to read behind your cheap headline chasing to see the truth.

I find it a little ironic that you continue to spit out the spin and manipulation when clearly people have seen through it. Mike needs no defending, he speaks the truth and you choose misrepresent it. I mean the Eastern Transport fiasco had nothing to do with you did it? The Pedestrian heart overspend had nothing to do with you did it? The attempts to close down Hurworth School, Tesco and failing the Post Offices etc, etc. Mike's point about you attempting to monument building is spot on. A University for Darlington is welcomed by all parties in the Borough (as you well know), yet you continue to attempt to mislead people.

Keep on blogging Cllr Wallis, the laughs people get at your expenses is priceless!

12 August, 2008 09:22

Mike Barker said...
Nick: it was YOU who Martin was "correcting". I never once said that food waste should be collected fortnightly: that was your spin to take attention away from your unambitious recycling policy.
As for getting Teesside University to build one its colleges here: that's laudable, but these projects can't detract from the fact that when it comes to providing some of the basic services that local people want: clean streets, well-maintained roads, well-maintained green spaces, a bus station, buses to get them to the few remaining post offices your Government hasn't shut down etc etc, your party has failed the people of Darlington.

12 August, 2008 09:23

ian h said...
There currently seems a huge disparity between the stated policies of creating sustainable communities and what is actually happening on the ground.
How can you have a sustainable community without an appropriate level of public transport?

Theres no point banging on about the desire to reduce car use when whilst at the same time overseeing the loss of the only viable alternative for most.

The loss of so many post offices, so essential to many of our most vulnerable members of the community only makes matters worse.

We are seeing evermore centralisation of services within the town itself, whilst making access to those services increasingly difficult. Many of the services themselves are indeed outside the remit of DBC, but providing access to them is not.

12 August, 2008 09:46

Anonymous said...
The negotiating should have been done when the proposals were put before Cabinet. "Cabinet noting the changes" amounts to the same, agreeing with the changes.
"Reactive" is this Labour run Councils middle name, you seem unable to address any issues proactively.
I agree with Mike, you all have lost touch with the people you represent. Basic services are not being provided at the moment and that makes people very unhappy.
Martin is right, keep on blogging, your defence of a group sliding down the slippery pole is priceless.
Maybe you will get a shot at being in opposition soon....

12 August, 2008 11:24

Darlington Councillor said...
LibDems. Dontcha'luvem?! More positions than the Karma Sutra, more twisting than a circus contortionist.

So the plans for Darlington to become a university town are simultaneously 'monument building' by an out-of-touch Labour Council and a sensible policy which has cross-party support??

Similarly (for those of you who weren't there) Mike Barker was right to criticise me for not standing up to the tabloid press mentality when I rejected fortnightly collections for food and household waste, but that in no way implied Mike himself supported fortnightly collections??

That wasn't the impression you gave at Council, Mike. Still, thank God we've got Martin, your little shadow, here to tell us what you really said.

Anyway, back to reality, Ian's quite right that the rhetoric of 'sustainable communities' has to matched by reality. That applies not only to every element of the Council's work, but also what our partners do too. So it isn't just for the Council to pick up the pieces when Arriva withdraw from an important service - we should be pressing Arriva too to review their decision.

So whilst omniscience is of course a wonderful attribute in a politician, Gill, sometimes you have to see how new bus networks work themselves out in practice before deciding intervention and fresh subsidies are necessary. It may be that that does end up being the case - as the Cabinet report indicated - but surely we are right to try to work with Arriva to see whether routes can be re-worked first?

12 August, 2008 15:25

Ian White, said...
Just to chip my sixth peneth in on Post Offices,

My Dad who lives on Carmel Rd always used Milbank PO as it was close and just near enough for a walk due to his ill health he also collects his neighbours pension/benefit as he is to ill to walk needing heart surgery. This surgery also does not allow him (the neighbour) by the DVLA to drive for fear of a heart attack.
The next nearest PO would of been Cleveland Tce...Yes you guessed it closed then it would of been Brinkburn ANYONE SEE A PATERN EMERGING closed also. Cockerton and Blackwell are to hard to get parked (also involve now driving) so anyone care to guess where he now has to comes to get his pension and that of his neighbour??

Yep Hurworth, can anyone tell me the logic in that? At least I will get to see my dad more often now when he comes through here to get his pension.

12 August, 2008 15:25

Cllr Swainston said...
One thing you can guarantee Ian about your Dad's misfortune it won’t be Cllr Wallis or his beloved Labour party to blame!

Admitting any mistake is totally beyond them, but having swipes at the opposition and trying to mislead people is a staple of Cllr Wallis.

Perhaps Nicholas you can use your membership of Labour' National Policy Forum (a group that sets national policy for the less well informed) to solve some of Darlington’s woe's! But let me guess when the National Policy Forum which you belong to gets national policy on Post Offices, 10% tax rates etc wrong that’s nothing to do with you either.

Put your own house in order then perhaps people might take you and your party seriously again.

Just popping off into Mike’s shadow now, the lights making me blink and the hot airs starting to dry my skin

12 August, 2008 16:53

Anonymous said...

Both the Grassroots alliance and the Socialist Alliance will be strongly contesting all seats at the next elections, whenever, or indeed wherever they may be.

The need for non-sectarian Socialist unity remains central to the struggle for true Socialism,as does redistribution of wealth, to the most needy.
I despair, when I read on this blog of people being labelled "scum" by the Lib Dems.
The Labour Party has lost its grassroot voters and WILL most certainly pay a heavy price. Only when true Socialism prevails again will we have a worthy society. A society who values all people and doesn't denigrate them as "scum",A society that champions the cause of the disabled, the less well off and all colours and creeds.I cannot comprehend that a PPC can get away with these comments

A true socialist..

12 August, 2008 18:16

Anonymous said...
Alan Macnab wrote...

Well stated Ian H.

The elderly especially rely on the buses to get them where they want to go. What on earth were the bus companies thinking about curtailing these popular services, where was the consultation and what influence did the Council have in this?

It's all well and good talking to the bus company now, but that should have happened when they were putting forward proposals and the Council could have told them they were making a mistake. Instead we have got an unholy mess and large sections of the Borough are now inconvenienced.

There is an equally pressing need here as well. The need to cut congestion. The only way to get people out of their cars is to provide a bus service which takes them where they want to go to, when they want to travel, with the minimum of disruption i.e. quickly and at a price which makes it a disincentive to use the car.

There clearly is a demand for the bus services which no longer exist so they should be reinstated.

12 August, 2008 20:00

Anonymous said...
The obvious answer it to get a competitor of Arriva to run All subsidised services.

12 August, 2008 20:24

Chris Close said...
All I can say is that I tried to tell all of you about this when my project was being attacked by people like Wincey when we were only defending the disabled.

Asquith has gone.

Brown should be sacked.

Wincey is a fraudster for taking public money and not representing the needs of his constituents.

Williams is simply beyond the pale and if he did have his bins emptied then he should be drummed out of the Labour party.

Chris Close

13 August, 2008 01:45

Chris Close said...
I understand that the Labour party are afraid of me?

Why? because I speak the truth?

I do know where the bodies are buried in Darlington and soon so will you.

As for Wincey, you should resign.

You will not be an MP or an MEP because I will not allow it. I have the goods on you and your 'colleagues'.

13 August, 2008 01:48

Darlington Councillor said...
Chris, in all sincerity, no-one I know in the Labour Party in Darlington fears you - there is only a general feeling of disgust at the way you have slandered hard working decent people in Darlington who only want to be good public servants or promote their communities.

For some time now your posts here and elsewhere have resembled a cry for help. We've been waiting for years now to learn from you where 'the bodies are buried', so forgive me if I don't hold my breath.

Just for a moment think about how phrases like "you won't be an MP or an MEP because I won't allow it" sounds. My friend, these are matters decided by the wider voting public, and not a single fantasist.

I try to be liberal in allowing comments from all quarters on this blog, but I'll repeat Chris - I will delete offensive and hurtful allegations, which you seem to delight in making.

13 August, 2008 16:27

Anonymous said...
Gill said
Forgot to say yesterday, thanks to all those people who left positive comments for Mike and I.

13 August, 2008 19:56

BNP Volunteer said...
I have to agree that Nick is sound with his view to allowing posts of various opinions.
I'm sure that he won't agree with many of my opinions and the opposite is also true. Love him or hate him Nick runs a popular blog which is probably all the more popular because of the manifold opinions.

However Nick does contradict his libertarian credentials when it comes to elections. In a previous thread he said he opposed proportional representation in elections because it might let the BNP in. So what, it will also let in UKIP, Respect, Green and god knows who else. Thats what elections are for - to reflect the will of the people.

PR will be good for democracy. More people will take an interest in politics because they will feel that their vote will actually carry currency.

Nick also needs to drop his arrogant front. He has become one of the most disliked people in Darlington because for some reason he has decided to adopt an arrogant air who would rather pit wits against somebody than co-operate. It doesn't have to be like this. With a few changes Councillor Wallis could become universally loved.

13 August, 2008 20:10

Chris Close said...
I think you will find Councillor Wallis that the general public are more minded to my view of you and your colleagues than they are to your opinion of yourselves.

You are seen as grasping and greedy; milking the public whilst failing in the services your Council provides/manages.

They say Darlington is the home of the train; well now that train is no longer the 'Rocket' but the gravy train.

And for all of your attempts to slander my mental health as you indeed did slander the Two top tories in the Town and your absurd suggestion that I have slandered anyone,the only one of us who had to apologise for Slander is you.

As your colleagues are only too well aware, Evidence based reports compiled by outside people have exposed DBC's mismanagement of care and soon this will come into a more public forum.

Your problem as a party is that you consistently refuse to recognise how hated you are by the general public and you will get your comeuppance sooner rather than later if your current leader had the guts to face the country.

Chris Close

13 August, 2008 20:42

Anonymous said...
Do not goad Chris Close. He is a genuine and hard working advocate for disabled people within Darlington.
Clients who have accessed his service are more assertive, more confident and happier people. He is extremely hard working. I have had my disagreements with him in the past but I will always respect him.
So should you. He is a very, very good friend to the disabled in Darlington.


13 August, 2008 22:47

Chris Close said...
And this from someome decent who unreservedly apologised for slandering me because of the lies you council fed him..........

And CVS did the same

14 August, 2008 01:15

Chris Close said...
1998 Victoria House Barton Street - Report by Larry Hollando - recommends closure

2003 Victoria House Barton Street - independent report commissioned by DBC recommends closure

2003 - 4 unexplained deaths - Victoria House Barton Street - Asquith replaces the dead.

2007 - Darlington College stops placements at Victoria House Barton Street - Health and Safety reasons - nothing had improved.

You want evidence, I have it in spades.

Shall we deal next with Rydal Road or would you like to apologise?

14 August, 2008 01:38

Chris said...
"For some time now your posts here and elsewhere have resembled a cry for help. We've been waiting for years now to learn from you where 'the bodies are buried', so forgive me if I don't hold my breath."

You are clearly a delusional fool.

Whilst bound by client confidentiality, they want to expose you for the bullying thugs you are!

I have given you all of the chances you need to change and you have rejected them.

Well Wincey, what bits are you saying of what I have said are slanderous/libellous?

Come on lets have a proper debate.............

Bet you dont.

Bet you go back to the mad argument.

I have no further resource to fight the council.........you have the public purse.

Here is a challenge.

Let me choose my legal expenses being paid by the Council;presenting all my evidence and then if they say my evidence is not sustainable, I will apologise to you.

If I win, DBC pay me for the hardship you have wrongly caused me in the last four years.


14 August, 2008 01:46

Chris Close said...

Jean posted this on Wincey's blog after he tried to demonise me.

"Chris is right.
He has hit the bullseye once again
Clients with Custard and gravy blocking every visual part of their glasses, unable to see. and a very very very senior Council Employee furious about the conditions.
urine soaked clothes, the norm.
Watch this space.

16 August, 2008 20:16

Chris Close said...
Thanks for that Jean.

My surprise was that nothing has really changed since 1998.

A 16 year old college student we had on placement this year told me that after being placed in this place for 3 days, she could not stand the squalor any more and left.

How therefore a very inexperienced young student can identify how bad this place is when SSD officers cannot is down to one thing.........Money.

Wallis in attacking me should be ashamed of himself.

As should all who have colluded with this latter day version of Belsen.

Answer Jean with platitudes, Nick - why dont you?