Campaigning to curb supermarket power


In December 2010 Tincknells and Sainsbury's jointly appealed the decision taken by Mendip District Council's planning committee in June 2010 to refuse planning permission for a store following a second application. The committee decided that the Waitrose site at Whiting Way was a better location for a supermarket and approved the application.

On 25th May Mendip District Council rejected Morrisons and Sainsbury's applications and also overturned a previous decision to grant Morrisons outline planning permission for a store and homes on the Parkwood Estate.

Sainsbury's and Morrisons appealed against Mendip District Council's refusal of their planning applications to build stores in the city. An inquiry was held in November 2011 but the inquiry took longer than the 10 days originally allocated and concluded on 20th January 2012.

In March the planing inspector gave the go-ahead for the new Morrisons supermarket. But the inspectorate refused Sainsbury's appeal to build on Glastonbury Road. Please see an article at BBC News, 9th March 2012.

Tesco already has a 35,000 sq. ft store in Wells and obtained Planning Permission to extend it by a further 15,000 sq.ft,  but has chosen not to implement that permission. Residents in Wells believe this is because Tesco is trying to secure land for an even bigger store close to the City centre.

Campaigners believe the Council wants to sell its City centre car park and bus station to Tesco and wants everyone else with contiguous land to come on board. To this end, Mendip Council has signed and renewed for a further six months, a legally binding 'lock-out agreement' between itself, developers Centros-Miller and Tesco Stores.

Residents believe such a Tesco monopoly would not only cause ruination in the old High St., but since the development would occupy the only city centre site left for tourism and tourist parking it would undermine that aspect of the local economy as well. In fact, it will not be possible to meet the accepted standard  of one car parking space for every 25 sq. metres of new retail floor space by a very wide margin - probably short by some 250 spaces.

Over 500 people attended the first public meeting organised by the Save Wells group on the 21st August 2007.

United Kingdom
51° 12' 27.8784" N, 2° 39' 1.6272" W
Somerset GB

Campaign Updates

10 April 2015
Plans for a block of retirement flats on land previously earmarked for Tesco's expansion are being put forward
5 January 2015
Tesco abandons extension plans
12 May 2011
Mendip Council to reconsider three supermarket applications

Mendip Council are to reconsider the three recent planning applications for new supermarkets in Wells because threats of legal action from Sainsbury's and Waitrose have resulted in Mendip calling for all the applications to be reviewed – including one that gave permission for a retail outlet and housing on the former Clares factory site.

4 April 2011
Sainsbury's plans refused again
4 April 2011
Morrisons plans approved

Planning officers had recommended refusal for both the Morrisons and nearby Sainsburys applications, on the grounds that they would be taking trade from the city, and that the local population was insufficient to present any real need for additional supermarkets.

7 February 2011
Sainsbury's submits plans for third time
7 September 2009
Sainsbury's application refused

Mendip District Council refused an application from Sainsbury's for a new store off Strawberry Way.