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Lib Dems write to chief executive of J Sainsbury PLC about Gloucester store's future

September 14, 2020 8:42 PM

Jeremy Hilton and Sainsbury's campaign

The Liberal Democrats have written to the chief executive of Sainsbury's PLC about the proposed closure of its Northgate Street supermarket.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Lib Dems, wrote to Simon Roberts about the future of the store, which has been trading successfully for nearly 50 years.

Councillor Hilton and Lib Dem colleague Dr Rebecca Trimnell have launched an online petition, Save Our Sainsbury's, to show the strength of feeling locally about the supermarket.

You can sign it here

In the letter to Mr Roberts, Councillor Hilton writes:

Dear Mr Roberts,

I was shocked to learn this week that your company is to close its supermarket at Northgate Street, Gloucester after nearly 50 years of successful trading. Many people that I represent, who live in Kingsholm are very unhappy about the store's closure as they use it regularly.

My Lib Dem colleague, Dr Rebecca Trimnell, who is campaigning for the residents of the city centre has raised an online petition to save the supermarket. The returns are good.

I remember the store when it first opened as I had a Saturday job there as a teenager. I still shop in the store more than three times a week. Not only do residents of Kingsholm and city centre use it, but those working in the centre or other residents in Gloucester who are shopping in the city centre also pickup provisions before they go home.

I imagine the store isn't the strongest trading store, but it must still be profitable as the investment in the building will have been paid off long ago. I have noticed you have been running down the variety of stock, which may have hit trade a bit, but it's Covid-19 pandemic that has had a major impact.

However, trade is recoverable as we get through this pandemic. The city council is just about to invest in the refurbishment of Kings Square, which along with the regeneration around the bus and railway stations will bring in more people to the city centre. This will lead to an increase in footfall.

It would be so sad not to have a Sainsbury's in the city centre while Tesco, Iceland and M&S will have a presence, but none of them can offer the same service and stock range that you can continue to do from Northgate Street.

Both Dr Rebecca Trimnell and I would appreciate meeting a senior representative of your company to discuss how we could keep the store open to mutual benefit.

Finally, the city council will discuss a motion in my name about saving the store on the 24th of September.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Hilton