A GREENGROCER is the final hold out delaying Tesco’s plans to build a new supermarket in Bournemouth.
“It will be me on my own working in a hard hat!” said Malcolm Townsend, after the developers told him they would “commence enabling works and initial phases of the development” regardless.
His lease at the parade of shops in Kinson’s Millhams Lane does not run out until November 2013 and he is currently refusing to sell.
Developer Hampton Hill Richmond has been buying out leases on behalf of Tesco and councillors have welcomed imminent plans for a store and 243-space car park.
But shoppers now face the possibility of at least two years without the old shops who have sold up – but no supermarket either.
Mr Townsend said: “What they have actually offered me would not cover the two years profit. I’m not in the least tempted to take it at the moment.
“And it’s not all about money. I actually really enjoy being here. My wife works here, my sister works here. I feel obliged to them as well.”
What if people said he was holding up a major development that would benefit the area?
Mr Townsend said: “Virtually everyone has said to me ‘we don’t like Tesco and all these business that come along and take our shops away’.
“To some degree it will regenerate the area, but it’s very much geared towards Tesco.
“The five shop units in the development are not really designed for traders.”
He noted the shopping parade used to have a chip shop and bakery, and still has a butchers.
The award-winning Royal Oak Pub nearby also faces demolition.
Andrew McLelland, director of Hampton Hill Richmond, said: “This development is totally about regenerating Kinson, as set out in the council’s Local Plan.
“Mr Townsend has a lease until 2013 and we fully intend to respect that if he wishes to remain until the end.
“All the other retailers, including the chip shop and public house, have accepted reasonable offers to enable this major regeneration project to go ahead.
“No enabling works will take place, apart from some wildlife surveys and fencing work, so there should be no disruption to his business.
“The new retail units proposed will have prominent frontage on to Wimborne Road and the new roundabout.”