More than 1,000 local people had objected to the plans, despite the fact that consultation period ran over the Christmas and New Year holidays. The main theme shared by most of the objections was that this thriving shopping centre, which has a good mix of local businesses and national chains, would be turned into a ghost town by a "one-stop" superstore.
Friends of the Earth supporters in the area were among the individual objectors. They carried out a detailed analysis of the planning documents and audits filed in support of the application, cutting the workload by sharing their draft responses and notes via the South Tees Friends of the Earth Yahoo Email Group.
Friends of the Earth Supporter Nigel Carden discovered that the District Council (Redcar and Cleveland) had recently commissioned a Strategic Retail, Leisure and Office Study, which undermined Tesco's central argument that the area needed and could support another large retail development. Nigel drew on this evidence to argue that Guisborough's attractive and busy shopping centre would be threatened by a major supermarket development on a site beyond most people's walking range from the existing shops. He also attacked the proposals on other grounds, including poor sustainability, loss of biodiversity, aesthetic factors and possible damage to archaeological remains.