Tesco has pulled its plans for a controversial new store on Ealing Green – despite it not being on the list of those dropped under Dave Lewis' new strategy.
But that still hasn't stopped the new chief executive coming in for a dressing down by an angry campaigner over Tesco's “toxic culture”, claiming the property team were “disdainful”, and that the supermarket “flouts the law” when it comes to deliveries.
Local residents had campaigned hard to prevent the grocer from opening a new Express store on their doorstep, including a petition with more than 1,600 signatures, a letter writing campaign and protests.
A letter sent by one of the campaigners and seen by City A.M. thanked Lewis for the decision, and went on to note that “with an over-extended balance sheet, there must be much more discipline in your property acquisition”.
“The spotlight will be on Steve Rigby, group property director, and Andrew Yaxley, your managing director for London, to manage the culture change along with disciplined acquisition,” the letter said, claiming that “some of your property people and their external advisers are disdainful of communities and local councils”.
Campaigner Andy Long wrote: “Although the rhetoric is around community and consultation, the reality, as we found, is tactical exploitation of the planning system and repeated false statements on Tesco’s plans. These employees, or colleagues in Tesco terminology, let down other colleagues who do care, who do want to do the right thing and who despair about the toxic culture which has been allowed to develop over the years.
“In London and other cities, in the neighbourhoods that you are targeting, why is it not possible to find sites where there is dedicated off-street loading, or at least sites where Tesco can operate without flouting the law?
“For example, campaigners in Belsize Park are facing yet another Tesco Express in the area where deliveries will, as with your other nearby stores, incur regular parking fines for eternity. No citizen of this country could flout the law in this way. “
Long described the proposed Ealing Green store as “an ill-conceived proposal”, before concluding that “many people will be joyous that, finally, the right decision has been made”.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “As a business we are being more selective with the sites we choose for new stores, and as a result we have decided not to proceed with our planned new store on St. Mary’s Road in Ealing.
“We would like to thank those who supported the store and apologise it will not be moving forward. We will continue to serve customers in the area from our nearby stores in Ealing and through our online grocery shopping service.”