29 January 2014
West End Report

Ellie Harrison says the Scottish Parliament public petitions committee have agreed to keep talking about the issue of high street diversity – but want the Say No to Tesco group to provide more details about the impact of supermarket convenience stores.

Harrison and the rest of the Say No organisers were in Edinburgh on Tuesday (Jan 28) as part of their campaign concerning the spread of supermarket convenience stores and the support of local shops.

She said: “We had quite a grilling but were very passionate in our argument. The petitions committee say they will take the discussion forward but have asked for more evidence of how convenience stores affect small businesses. They have asked us to submit a report and they will look at the matter again next month after consulting with other organisations too. So there’s no chance for a breather in our campaign! But generally we feel pretty positive.”

Say No’s original campaign was set up last summer in response to plans for a Tesco Express – now open – at the base of the new Montague Apartments near Kelvinbridge. But the group realised there is no opportunity to object directly to the store – as the planning process doesn’t allow for distinction between small traders and large organisations – and widened their campaign to address issues of high street diversity.

Following a presentation to Glasgow city council, the matter was debated at the Regeneration and Economy Policy Development Committee last November. Say No then shifted the emphasis of their campaign to focus on planning and development at national level, saying they hoped this might eventually lead to restrictions on the number of supermarket outlets on high streets.

Having collected 2093 online and paper signatures within just a few weeks, the group were then invited to discuss the issues at the Public Petitions Committee.

The committee have agreed to seek further written evidence from Say No and also write to the Scottish Government, the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland and a range of local authorities, including Glasgow city council and Falkirk council.

*According to the Scottish Parliament – The purpose of the Public Petitions Committee is to consider petitions addressed to the Parliament. The Committee will decide in a case of dispute whether a petition is admissible, what action should be taken upon an admissible public petition and it will keep under review the operation of the petitions system. A petition may be brought by an individual person (other than a member), a body corporate or an unincorporated association of members.

Ginny Clark