Recently something’s been really wrong in my town. I used to have a local supermarket, it gave me reasonable food at good prices because it bought in bulk. It had a loyalty card I could use in all the other similar supermarkets and generally it looked after food hygiene and recycling as much as it could. It wasn’t perfect, but it was convenient.
Then last year the local community decided they wanted to get rid of the supermarket. The idea was that it was a force for evil, ruining the High Street. That wasn’t true but people wanted someone to blame and the supermarket was convenient.
Initially the plan had support, we would get the exact same shopping in the high street, it would cost us less than it used to at the supermarket. The extra rents would be enough to give our local GP at least £350 a week. They promised the supermarket could be closed without liabilities and that local businesses would flock back to the town centre creating lots of jobs. The whole thing was to be the revival of a glorious old market town.
Problem was at the time no one realised this whole project was funded by the local architect and a car parking business.
Despite protestations from a few wise people, the vote just about carried on a minority turn out. Not much happened for a year but eventually the council found itself leading the new plan to become the old fashioned market town that was promised.
It hasn’t worked that way. To start with it seems like the £350 to the GP was overblown, and anyway that was the least of our worries once the supermarket lawyers wanted £90000 to cancel its contract. Almost no retailers have applied to fill the shops on the high street, they seem to think the whole thing isn’t viable and the supermarket has got so annoyed with how it’s been handled that they’ve stopped investing. Jobs are actually now at risk since the supermarket will probably pull out anyway and I now have a 20 mile round trip for the weekly shop.
Still some people are happy. The property developer got a load of cash for mapping out the perfect high street that we all paid for. The car park company got agreement to add meters to what to what was previously free parking in town. So they’re ok. As are the lawyers.
The worst thing? Rather than admitting they messed up and making up with the supermarket, the local council are blundering on regardless, continuing to promise it’ll be ok.
It’s like Dad’s Army.