Renewed fears over future of independent traders in Eastney

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FRESH fears have been raised over the impact the new Tesco store at Fratton Park could have on independent traders in nearby Eastney.

Retailers in Eastney Road are worried the new superstore will suck vital business away from the street.

Stephen Dean is the owner of Bransbury Park Butchers, which has been based in the road since 1935.

He said: ‘Without a shadow of a doubt we’re concerned.

‘You would be foolish not to be worried about the impact. You can’t take anything for granted.

‘The street right now is doing well. But if one or two shops were to close because of a drop in trade, we could become a ghost town.’

Kate Hudson, a shop assistant at Cakes by Frances, added that Portsmouth already had plenty of superstores and said there was no need for another one.

‘These businesses are our livelihoods,’ she said.

‘So we’re really worried about how Tesco could impact these.’

More than 4,000 people signed a petition opposed to the development.

However, in spite of this, Portsmouth City Council gave the green light for the shop to be built in August last year.

Mr Dean, who has been running the shop for 30 years, has now repeated calls for customers to remain loyal to the independent retailers.

‘We are very lucky that we have a loyal set of customers,’ he said.

‘Most have said they won’t go to Tesco. Some have been shopping here for 30 years. I just hope they continue to stay with us.’