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Gloucestershire Business News

Tesco makes a £1m move on Cotswold town centre

A move for a Cotswold town to gain its third Tesco outlet has been greeted with mixed reaction in the town.

Coming soon to Dransfield's Five Valleys Shopping Centre, adjacent to the town's bus station, Stroud will be gaining a Tesco Express convenience store when it opens early next year adjacent to the town's main bus hub, at the complex's ground level. 

Sited below the centre's multi-storey car park, the unit has been signed to a 15-year lease, with Tesco taking up its town-centre presence at the town's former Halfords outlet.

As such, it will be five minutes' walk from Stroud's Tesco Superstore, on Stratford Road, while it will also join the supermarket giant's retail offer of an additional Tesco Express, on the other end of Stratford Road in Paganhill - making three representations for the brand within the town.

Tesco also has pins in the Five Valleys map with Express outlets in Nailsworth town centre and Charford's Tanglewood Way, and the brand's omnipresence has triggered online criticism of the move, with many residents suggesting it is a brand overkill. Claims have also been made that the former Halfords may have benefitted from an independent retail offer.

But despite scepticism from some residents , Stroud's Chamber of Trade and Commerce said there are positives to be drawn from the news.

Tony Davey, the group's chair told "Tesco don't just take a punt, their acumen in choosing the right site is well known."

Criticism often aimed at the town's retail direction, he said, surrounds claims of 'gentrification' and Tesco's arrival will sidestep this by offering more momentum for the town's regeneration aims.

He said: "We aim to bring more residents into the town centre, with accommodation initiatives above shops, and that's part of making the town safer in the evenings. These people will want a convenience store they can pop out to. I have seen claims that the Paganhill Tesco Express is just two minutes' walk away for convenience out-of-hours shopping, but I'd like to see a timed video showing someone proving it."

He added: "Ultimately, this is good news and we feel we should embrace it."

Tesco's move to the 5,249sq ft unit will also see the provision of free parking for up to 16 cars and the supermarket has indicated 20 jobs will be created, which makes a net increase of 11 on the employment offered by Halfords. Fitting out will begin on November 11, with an indication that trading will begin "early next year".

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