BBC Radio WM’s Phil Upton Breakfast Show for Monday, 5th March 2012 featured the ongoing saga of Brownhills and Tesco, asking the question as to why the retail giant can’t seem to be bothered to undertake the redevelopment it promised for the town. As highlighted in the Express & Star last week and later here on the Brownhills Blog, Tesco seem to have got cold feet over building a new store in Brownhills.
The coverage on the show was generally quite good – although Phil clearly can’t be reading his notes, as he seemed unable to recall the name Ravens Court correctly for a while. There was a fair appraisal of the current situation with Ravens Court; a brief interview with Doreen from the Acropolis Cafe – sadly caught in lease limbo. There was quite a long interview with an apologist for the retail industr, a pretty incisive piece by a planning expert, and finally, a whole bunch of shuffling by a representative of Tesco itself.
I’ve recorded the relevant bits of the show and assembled them into one chunk – it really is worth a listen all the way through. The complete clip is about 23 minutes long.
The interview with the drone from Tesco stands quite well on it’s own, it’s a second under 4 minutes long:
It seems the official view is that it’s all down to Tesco not having time and resources to fit it in, and if the traders find themselves in an unfortunate position, it’s up to Walsall Council to look after them. The spokesman refused to be drawn on when there would be any construction, proceeding to tell us plans were ambitious and would definitely happen, he just couldn’t say when. It’s OK, though, as they’re ‘Refreshing’ the old store and investing plenty in the region, so don’t stop giving them your money, whatever you do.
This was a well executed program that confirmed my fears; Tesco clearly couldn’t give a toss about Brownhills and the state it’s been left in to accommodate their clearly now-shelved plan. They don’t care that the traders in the precinct have been left in limbo, and are indifferent to the fact that so many Council promises for our regeneration rested on their whim. They just want your custom, and don’t seem to think we’re intelligent enough to see through their bullshit.
I do wonder where local councillors and representatives of Walsall Council were in this program. Surely they were invited to comment? Adrian Andrew, regeneration chief for Walsall certainly spent lots of time doing free PR for the Tesco vision of our town, and it would be nice if he could take five minutes out of his busy day to explain to the folk of Brownhills why his bold promises have turned into a hill of beans.
Brownhills had all its eggs in one basket; soon, it’ll be a basket case. Remember, though, every little helps…