Reader Letter: Councils getting it wrong; “It is vital that residents let their councils know what they think”

Sheringham Tesco store.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sheringham Tesco store.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

I learned recently that in the financial year, from their 'Bags of Help' scheme alone, Tesco Sheringham raised £48,000 for local good causes. Seven organisations got £4,000, seven got £2,000 and six got £1,000. In addition, customers at the store raised almost £7,000, to be shared between the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK.

The store was also involved in supporting local schools, clubs and other organisations with various activities, as well as (very willingly) taking part in local carnival events.

Add to this, giving work experience to young people from About with Friends and Sheringham Woodfields School and providing lunch at the Morley Club for those alone on Christmas Day, and one might be forgiven for concluding the Tesco has been good for Sheringham.

What do you think?

Cynics might respond by saying corporate social responsibility is just a way for commercial organisations to look better in the eyes of their customers. If this is the case, surely from the store manager down to the shelf fillers, the staff at Sheringham Tesco don't need to be so enthusiastic.

The manner in which they participate with such zeal and look like they are enjoying themselves, for me at least, comes over as a genuine belief in supporting the local community.

Wind back a few years to September 2005 and North Norfolk District Council voted 20-0 to refuse Tesco permission to build a store.

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Forward to August 2009, and we find Sheringham Town Council voting 10-3 against the latest planning application. Surely though, both councils were only reflecting the views of Sheringham residents?

Apparently not – unless a complete change of public opinion occurred in the next twelve months!

A Sheringham parish poll in August 2010 (with a 44.3pc turnout) showed that 82pc of those voting wanted a supermarket, though it has to said by only 15 votes the choice made was for a Tesco Store over Waitrose.

Some have suggested however, that those who declined to exercise their franchise were more likely to have chosen Tesco, and had they done so, the majority would have been greater.

So, how did the town and district council get it so wrong? The answer is they didn't really know the views of their residents. This is why it is vital that the residents of Sheringham let their councils know what they think! Those in authority, nationally and locally, will continue to get it wrong, unless you let them know what you think.

Hopefully, folk took the chance at the Sheringham Town Meeting last Monday, to let Sheringham Town Council know what they thought.

I know the council were trying all they could to ensure that residents' views were known.

After all, it is the residents of Sheringham who really need to determine how the town plans for the future. Younger voters especially need to get involved, for it is more their future than my generation's!

I need to state the above thoughts are my own personal views (as an older resident of Sheringham), but hopefully they are not too out of step with the council's.


Chestnut Grove