Lee-on-the-Solent traders fight to stop Tesco moving to town

CONCERN Lee-on-the-Solent traders Neil Griffin, left, Peter Patterson and Steve Porter, right.     Picture: Steve Reid (111730-264)
CONCERN Lee-on-the-Solent traders Neil Griffin, left, Peter Patterson and Steve Porter, right. Picture: Steve Reid (111730-264)

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INDEPENDENT businesses have launched a fight to stop a supermarket giant from moving into their town.

Members of the Lee Business Association are concerned about the impact of a major store coming to Lee-on-the-Solent, which they feel would threaten its ‘unique’ nature.

Tesco is rumoured to want the shop at the new Pier House development in Marine Parade East.

Now the business association is carrying out a public survey to gauge reaction to the idea which has already attracted hundreds of responses.

Peter Patterson, from the association, which represents 38 local businesses, said: ‘We were originally led to believe it would be a national coffee shop going in there which would have fitted in much better. But we’ve heard quite strong whispers it could be a national supermarket that wants it.

‘It’s all been so secretive, we feel it stinks and feelings are running quite high around here.

‘We want to keep Lee unique.

‘We’ve got to make a stand – it’s got to stop.

‘We haven’t ruled out holding a demonstration about this.

‘I’ve been gobsmacked by the amount of support we’re already getting.’

With an Asda in Fareham and a new Tesco planned for the redevelopment in Rowner as well as its building of another supermarket in Fareham, Mr Patterson doesn’t think there is a need for a further store in the area.

Dr Hedley Greentree, the applicant for the Pier House development, refused to confirm whether Tesco was bidding for the shop space.

He added: ‘There is somebody lined up but it’s confidential at the moment. I’m not going to say who it is.’

No-one was available from Tesco to comment.

The survey forms can be found in The Cottage Loaf, The Book Shop, All Seasons, Neil Griffiths Butchers, Sweet Lee, and Lee Convenience until the end of May.