Letters to the editor

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‘Big stores have power to destroy’

SylvieB Address supplied

I HAVE read the letters to date with interest.

These express views on a range of subjects and I think it might be helpful to separate out some of these.

1) Finding the money to develop a new cattle market site. Most opinions seem to be based on the premise of a single buyer for the old site, as if this were the only option. Not true – there are others, for example has anyone (like the town council) tried to get together a consortium, to include sponsorship for facilities from those who go in got that sort of thing, like Barclays?

2) Developing the old cattle market site. Less disagreement here than on most other issues – Thame does not want development based solely on a commercial opportunity for a single company, even if they are prepared to sponsor a few other things as the quid pro quo.

3) What non-shopping facilities should go on that site.

There seems to be a disappointingly low level of debate on this issue compared with the other three Perhaps the focus of discussion could move on a bit now?

4) Does Thame need a superstore?

I’ve read more muddle and downright tosh on this than on any other subject (for example Mr Compton’s particularly silly assertions – how did we all feed ourselves for the last several hundred years, if he’s right ...).

Some gave no argument at all, so what was the point of publishing their opinions?

However, some contributions do deserve serious consideration.

For example, a recent correspondent was bang on when she argued that folk who travel outside Thame to shop do so for cheapness. Her choice was ASDA.

As one of the nastier American-owned enterprises, it wouldn’t be mine, but the message here is clear – strapped for cash folk ain’t deserting Thame for a big Sainsbury’s. Other locals have discovered that discount stores like Aldi and Lidl offer good value and a better class of product than they’d expected.

These firms have a different approach to retailing which doesn’t rely on huge floor areas. In some parts of the country they jointly have quietly displaced Sainsbury’s in the league tables.

An overall review seems to suggest that Thame and district would value a range of shops that between them cater for all depths of pocket and all levels of food appreciation. Concerns have been voiced that a giant superstore would kill that. They’d be right and not only local shops die – Wallmart, owner of Asda, has destroyed whole communities in the States.

I’ve been living in Chinnor and shopping in Thame these 40 years.

Response is just scripted rubbish

James Nagle,


I PROVIDE you here with a response to the email I sent to Sainsbury’s regarding the new store.

As you can see it is all scripted rubbish about how we need it, why do we etc. We already have a Sainsburys, Co-op, Waitrose and M&S.

Could we not start a collection to raise enough to buy the land and build a community centre on it, and have the market on it on a Tuesday to free up the top car parks.

We have a few rich people living in Thame, I would put money towards it and have a town scheme, and see if we could get lotto grant for it.

Sainsbury’s response read:

I write further to my email below, to provide you with a full response to your email dated December 5.

A study of local shopping habits suggests that approximately 40 per cent of Thame residents leave the town to do their main food shopping in towns such as Aylesbury, Wheatley and Princes Risborough. This evidence suggests that a new larger foodstore is needed in Thame to provide more choice and competition to allow people to shop more locally.

A new main food store on the Cattle Market site in Thame town centre would help to encourage many of these people to stay and use Thame town centre for their main food shopping.

This will generate increased pedestrian footfall in the town centre, thereby benefiting other shops and services. It would also provide environmental and cost benefits for residents through reduced car trips to other towns.

Sainsbury’s’ proposals would help to keep Thame a market town, enabling the Cattle Market’s move to the Showground, helping secure its future in Thame. Locating to the Showground would also help to secure the future of Oxfordshire County and Thame Show.

We are aware that the 2012 Show has been cancelled, the Cattle Market relocation would provide more financial stability for the Show’s future through the shared use of new, permanent facilities.

Sainsbury’s recognises that at present, many parents use the Cattle Market to drop off and pick up pupils during the school day.

This will still be the case with our proposals and we would be happy for parents to continue to use the car park for this purpose.

Indeed, the section of car park adjacent to the School field has been specifically designed to aid this drop off and pick up activity.

The plans also include formalised footpaths to assist people crossing the site between Lea Park and North Street, which is not the case at the moment.

We recognise that traffic and parking can be a concern, however it is in Sainsbury’s interests to ensure that the local road network operates effectively.

The traffic assessment, submitted with the planning application, confirms that the local road network would be able to comfortably accommodate an increase in traffic. This is based on surveys of the local roads and analysis of other stores. A store of this size would typically receive three Sainsbury’s deliveries each day in articulated HGVs.

In addition, a further four deliveries from bread and milk suppliers would be made directly to the store in rigid HGVs.

Newspapers would be delivered separately in small vans. Delivery hours will be discussed throughout the planning process.

To provide a new main food store in the town centre, Sainsbury’s is conscious that a sensitive solution to the service yard is required. It is therefore proposed to fully enclose the service yard for the new store.

The walls and roof would be constructed using noise-insulating material to reduce any noise to acceptable background levels.

I am sorry you do not feel able to support our plans, but I hope this information is helpful.

Jodie Wales

For and on behalf of Sainsbury’s

Shock at stance of Thamensian

Savn Imsayin, Thame

I WAS surprised and worried after reading Thamensian’s piece last week.

Surprised because I had gained the impression that he was all for Thame, through and through.

Now we read that he defects to Asda or Aylesbury to do his ‘big shop’ and always has done because two of the supermarkets are too small and Waitrose too expensive.

With thousands of lines at Waitrose matched to Tesco prices, a little selectivity means Waitrose shopping need not be expensive, certainly not enough to warrant wasting time and money driving elsewhere. I am reminded of those who complain about fuel prices at the local garage and drive 10-15 miles each way to fill up where it’s a penny or two cheaper.

My worry started when I read that he goes to Asda or Aylesbury for this ‘big shop’, indeed he has to get his weekly basics, now my concern is for all of us who do our weekly shop in Thame.

What basics are we missing out on that cannot be obtained in the town or are too expensive?

Are we all heading for a slow demise for lack of these essential basics? Perhaps he will tell us what these particular basics are and maybe a word with the Managers of the Co-op and Sainsbury’s would encourage them to stack these lines he cannot get locally, so that those of us who do shop locally may be spared.

Ah! but wait, now I see why he is all for a Cattle Market Sainsbury’s.

They will of course, stock these basics along with a few more lines, maybe and much larger displays of what is already obtainable at their High Street shop, still at the same prices.

Me, I’m off to my local ‘open all hours’ for my basics where choice is not a problem and chat and banter are always on offer.

Councillors must air their opinion

D Watson,


THAME is not short of supermarkets, it already has three, plus a small M&S.

A free bus takes shoppers on a weekly trip to Aylesbury Tesco.

We should ignore inducements by Sainsbury’s.

Thame is still a pleasant market town, so far, with long standing and local shops and business which will suffer.

What do our councillors feel about this?

Sainsbury’s is a selfish proposal

R Jones,


I AM vehemently opposed to the proposal to erect a Sainsbury’s superstore in Thame Market Place.

This, I am convinced, would be contrary to the true desires and interests of the great majority of Thames residents.

It is selfish and ill-considered by commercial profit seekers to dominate and should it succeed, will irreversibly alter the character of this charming place.

Build new health centre in Thame

M Shipperley,


WITH regards the debate over Sainsbury’s’ takeover of Thame market, I myself fully agree, the amazing thing to me is the absence of the council’s views that could advance the town’s problem – and that is the overcrowding of Thame Surgery if the town council, along with Sainsbury’s, build an extra building for another part of Thame Surgery to help the East Street Health Centre.

Just a thought.

Don’t miss this big opportunity

R Clayson,


HAVING been in business for 20 years in Thame before retiring, I can say there has always been one thing lacking and Sainsbury’s moving to the cattle market and having an empty store in the high street could fill the void.

Rather than give up their High Street store, why not convert it to a Sainsbury’s clothing shop covering male/female and children as we have never had a reasonable across the board clothing shop in the town.

And once Woolworths closed, we also lost our last reasonably priced children’s shop.

I feel sure a lot of teenagers/parents go shopping for clothes in the larger towns around Thame and sadly, while they are there, shop for other things too that could be bought in Thame.

Let’s not let Thame miss another opportunity to boost its High Street trade.