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Letters / Time to speak up is now

I feel I have to add my voice to those protesting about proposed new supermarkets. Considering we already have two large supermarkets in Lerwick and looking at the likely effects on existing small businesses, this is virtually impossible to justify.

Proposed Co-op stores could destroy local shops, retail sector warns

One of the Co-op stores planned is carefully situated just outside Scalloway and a stones throw from the junction to Trondra.

This store will sound the death knell for the Scalloway shops and of course will see the last of the local butchers shops close its doors. The small shop in Burra will also be severely affected, and may have to close.

The Sandwick shop and post office will certainly be severely affected financially, and we may well see the end of the splendid Sandwick bakery. Mackenzie’s shop will also have to take a hit.

Further south there will certainly be financial loss at the shops in Levenwick, Bigton, Toab, and the well supplied Mainlands shop.

None of the effects listed above will be of the slightest concern to the Co-op management in Manchester or subsidiaries elsewhere. Their shareholders will naturally look forward happily to a secure future.

The Shetland population can look forward to a less certain future, reliant for their supplies on the big supermarket chains, and though their food choice may be more varied, there will be precious few outlets to choose from.

Planners are not allowed to take competition into consideration; this is grossly unfair as this is not a level playing field.

It never will be!

The Co-op spokesperson tells us that there will be 30 new jobs. That may be so, but certainly some of those staff will be salvaged from the ruins of less powerful and fondly remembered businesses.

Another thing we need to consider is “self checkout” growth.  As the less tech savvy such as myself die out and the younger more savvy wizards take over, the self checkout will gradually take over.

This suits the supermarket nicely, much less staff and more profits. Providing employment to local people will never be high on a supermarket’s priority list. Nor is it even a minor consideration for the Edinburgh developers.

Any battle to stop these new Co-op branches has to be won first time round. There is no appeal allowed if the battle is lost.

That isn’t the case with the developer, they have a right to appeal. That’s the way the dice is loaded.

Speak now!

John Laurenson
Sandwick

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Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021