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A lovely cuppa in Axbridge

The Almshouse Tea Shop in Axbridge is one of the Strawberry Line’s delights - and it’s not just somewhere that brews a decent cuppa. The shop sells a range of gifts and crafts including paintings by acclaimed landscape artist Martyn Wrench, jewellery and hand-made wood framed mirrors. There are new opening hours in January - see advert for details - or visit www. thealmshouseteashop.

Hitched at Cycle Store

Cheddar Cycle Store is located at the Cheddar end of the cycle path. The store also services and repairs bikes as well having a well stocked showroom of bikes and a selection of accessories. Ideal for those who wish to get hitched to their bike! For more details call in at Cheddar Cycle Store, 1E Valley Line Industrial Park Cheddar, Somerset BS27 3EE. Telephone 01934 741 300. Visit

Friends for pets

Friends For Pets is a pet care company in Cheddar providing high quality and reliable dog boarding, doggy day care, dog walking, pet sitting, house sitting and small pet boarding for the people of Bath, Bristol, Wells and the The Strawberry Line

District. We sell a lovely calendar (£6

each) with all of the profit

donated to The Langford Trust.

For more details call Holly on 07584 050544 or email us at office@

Fab-u--lous flowers!

The Winscombe Florist helped out the Strawberry Line Times with this fabulous bouquet for our fashion shoot. The shop is at the Sidcot end of the village by Jones Convenience Store. Catering for weddings, funer- als and all manner of occasions call in at The Florist Shop, 6 Ashley Close, Winscombe, North Somerset BS25 1DB. Visit: thefloristshopwin- Tel: 01934 842004

Beautyabove in Winscombe

Acutabove are pleased to announce the opening of their new beauty department in Winscombe. Beautyabove headed by Le-Anne Shepheard offers a full menu of treatments using the Aveda product range including manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials, hot paraffin treatments, deep tissue massage and reflexology to name but a few. Le-Anne, has recently moved to the area from Milton Keynes after more than seventeen years experience in the beauty industry working at a top UK health spa and is certificated with an awarded body (IHBC)(IIHHT) and qualified with the new award City & Guilds (PTTLLS) teaching certificate. With a new team of experienced hair stylists, Acutabove looks forward to greeting guests and have teamed up to offer some great deals on party packages for the festive season. For more information on our packages or to book, please telephone Axbridge 01934 733666 or Winscombe 844999.

We require models for cutting and styling in the new year - please ask for details. 4

Strawberry Line Times December 2012-January 2013

Supermarket wars: big retailers move in on the Strawberry Line

They came, they saw, and they plan to sell baked beans. Harry Mottram watched how two retailing giants have eyed Cheddar with plans to build supermarkets in the village. the community and not on the village football pitch.

Yatton’s got one. Winscombe and Churchill have them while Wells and Clevedon have supermarkets to spare. But Cheddar could soon rival these centres with three large supermarkets. There’s been rumours of a major retailer moving into the village for years. But nobody took the rumours seriously as it’s population is small. Surely supermarkets need more people to sustain trade? Perhaps it was the case once but the business model has changed as major retailers look at smaller communities in their bid for future customers.

Several months ago Cheddar Football Club pinned plans on their notice board of a joint development with a house builder which would transform the site. The club wanted to move from its Bowden’s Park location and realise an ambitious future with a new ground, training areas, all weather pitch, new clubhouse and more facilities. The joint plan with the house builder came to nothing but soon afterwards a new plan emerged. Step forward: Tesco. Working with a sports development company the club made progress towards its ambitious target with a company that clearly has deep pockets. The idea was and is simple: with supermarket cash the club would move to a new site and the old pitch would be a store.

It seemed a perfect idea until the residents of the village got to hear about it. People who had never been to the ground to watch their local team suddenly became very protective of the club. It was nothing to do with football they said - but everything to do with traffic, local shops and what has become known as the Tesco-isation of England. In particular it was the narrow road leading over the bridge on the A371 that most people said made the plan unworkable.

As the row between the club and some villagers rumbled on last year another player threw their hat into the ring. Residents of Lower New Road in Cheddar received letters from Sainsbury’s concerning plans to build a supermarket at Steart Farm near their homes. The retailer had stolen a march on Tesco with a new site on the west side of

Anger boiled over amongst those who felt the situation was out of control with an open season for developers. The village is also subject to plans for a cable car scheme in the Gorge and a large reservoir that will swallow up farmland nearby.

Some residents formed the Keep Cheddar Special group amid a campaign of meetings, letter writing and petitioning. The parish council said they couldn’t take sides for fear of prejudicing their part in the planning process. When they got the chance to debate Sainsbury’s application the councillors voted 6-4 against. Will Sedgemoor agree to both supermarket plans, neither or just one? And will they demand something in return like a bypass for the village or a community centre?

To win a case with the PI is extremely difficult although it has happened. Parish and town councils in the area are pushing ahead with neighbourhood plans which they hope will help head off unwanted developments. Campaign groups need the support of their local councillors and local MPs - but most important they need very large petitions to prove

Tesco with a new site”

In Wells there’s been a long running planning battle between supermarket chains for the community’s business. The city already has a large Tesco - the subject of bitter controversy when it was constructed a few years ago. That store will expand over the next few months while we shouldn’t forget there’s already a Cooperative supermarket in the High Street and a Symonds’ Budgens at Bath Road. Three years ago Mendip District Council refused an application from Sainsbury’s for a new store off Strawberry Way but a year later Tincknells and Sainsbury’s jointly appealed the decision following a second application. Waitrose have got the nod for a site at Whiting Way for a supermarket to open by next summer while Morrisons have the green light for a store at the old Clare’s site. Because of the threat of legal action against the council (according to the Wells Journal) the council decided to review all the applications. Last summer they

maintained their opposition to more supermarkets. An inquiry followed and in the spring of this year the planning inspectorate gave the go-ahead for the new Morrisons but refused Sainsbury’s appeal.

Despite all the opposition from locals, from campaign groups, local councils and from the district council Wells is set to have three major supermarkets. If the locals are ignored and the elected representatives are over ruled - what chance does Cheddar have in preventing developments?

If the council and the community are as one in opposition the independent Planning Inspectorate (PI) has the final word.

they have real support - and that’s much harder. Tescopoly is a website that gives lots of advice on how to challenge planning decisions, to mount a campaign and to make an impact report as part a range of weapons in the battle with supermarkets.

One of the difficult truths that anti-supermarket campaigners don’t like to admit is that there is a substantial number of residents in favour of more stores. These people don’t campaign to open new shops - but the truth is supermarkets create new jobs and provide low cost food for students, young families and pensioners. In Cheddar and the surrounding area it is quite possible there’s a silent majority who would like a new supermarket.

The retail giants have done their homework. Wells is set to increase by 10,000 residents in the next few years and the area around Cheddar could see a similar number swell the population there. They will all need shops and services - and in Cheddar’s case new roads.

Sainsbury’s have put in their Cheddar store proposals to Sedgemoor and Tesco may follow. Keep Cheddar Special and other local groups say they will oppose them. If the experience of Wells is anything to go by then we are set for a war of attrition - and eventually more supermarkets. And if Cheddar goes - then surely it is only a matter of time before other communities such as Churchill, Winscombe, Yatton, Congresbury or Sandford become targets of the the retailing giants.

• For more news on the supermarket wars in the Strawberry Line District see our daily news section of and send us your views on supermarkets at

“The retailer had stolen a march on

Inset above, a Keep Cheddar Special campaigner stands outside the Bath Arms during Sainsbury’s public consultation. Above from left, a cottage Sainsbury’s wish to demolish to make way for a roundabout outside their planned Cheddar store; a Keep Cheddar Special meeting; an artist’s impression of the new Cheddar Tesco and what is currently on the site.

Strawberry Line Times December 2012-January 2013 5

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