Wednesday, December 09, 2009

If we don’t get a Sainsbury’s will Nairn voters punish the SNP?

If the Nairnshire is correct (they understand that the delay in a decision may imply refusal) and the nightmare scenario comes true and Nairn were to abandoned totally to the Co-op, will voters punish the Scottish Government ruling party at the General election? We have always thought of Nairn as quite an SNP stronghold although the County was at one time represented by two Conservative councillors on the old Highland Region Council. Times have changed however, and many, many Nairn votes have stacked up behind Fergus Ewing over the years since the return of the Scottish Parliament.

Our shopping situation in town is dire and can be quite an emotive subject, we are literally forced to travel for a choice of food, in fact a trip to Forres or Inverness can sometimes work out cheaper with the savings in the shopping basket. So it is a real issue that affects all of us, especially those Nairnites that travel to work in supermarkets elsewhere, they have the skills that could be transferred instantly to a new Sainsbury’s store. The Reporter’s assessment lies on the desk of Minister Stuart Stevenson and many are perplexed at the delay in his decision. Is he looking for a water-tight way of rejecting, perhaps, a decision against the supermarket or simply looking for a suitable day to bury bad news?

The Gurn predicts that if this supermarket is rejected the majority of Nairnites will consider it the scandal of the millennium and will react angrily. In the shape of the ruling party in Scotland, the SNP, they would have a target firmly in their sights for the General Election that will come, at the latest, by May of 2010. Of course the issue is quite complex and the Reporter, if she came down against the development, would perhaps have quite a few reasons for telling us why but displeasure would manifest itself against the bearer of bad news.

A moment too to examine the role of the Co-op, who had the cheek to put up a line of suits at the inquiry to do their best to deny Nairnites the choice that competition coming to Nairn would provide, they are dragging their feet about redeveloping the town centre site until the Sainsbury’s decision. Does this make any sense? We can see how Forres survives with three supermarkets and how Huntly, a town half the size of Nairn, has an ASDA and a Tescos. Surely the Co-op’s stance is absurd because even if Sainsbury’s are refused a new supermarket will one day come to Nairn. Why should they be allowed to dictate that they will only build if they have no competition? Are we to become retail vassals of the ‘caring, sharing, Co-op’?

The will of the people cannot be refused for ever. Sainsbury’s or another company could reapply perhaps and that site or another, once the new Highland Development plan goes through, would see the metal framework of a competitor going up sooner rather than later.

Fingers crossed that we will get a Sainbury’s however, and that a positive decision is announced before the end of 2009. Another take on the situation is available on Nairn's latest Internet facilty.


Nairn said...

The whole Nairn supermarket issue is surely awash with politics not just those aligned to the SNP or any other political party for that matter.
At a local level we start with the famous Local Plan, which didn’t allow for a new supermarket for another decade or so
At a supermarket level we have the most complex of politics, the top supermarkets all want top poll position for UK sales and even have the equivalent of loss leader stores just to keep the competition out, or at least in check. Lidl in Forres for example has staff on short time working and is reputed to skip a huge amount of out of date produce due to the lack of shoppers going through it’s doors.
All of the big supermarkets know that Nairnites shop out of town at their stores. I’m sure this is a pattern they would like to encourage rather than have to invest in a new store in Nairn (For as long as no one else does), hence there will be political pressure from them for the Sainsbury’s store to be refused, and they carry a big political clout.
The beleaguered Co-op stepped into the fray when it purchased the UK Somerfield business in order to stay up there with the big retail boys. It was a large acquisition that wasn’t exactly smooth and arguably was at a bad economic time. Two near adjacent Co-op Nairn stores make no retail sense, but for the moment they may be viable. A new Sainsbury’s would ensure that they would have to close and sell one. The larger old Somerfield store is ringed with a political minefield as successive owners have tried to negotiate the redevelopment of the site and the surrounding centre of the town.
The politics of Nairn High Street is also brought to bear. Many shop owners are against the Sainsbury’s development fearful for their own businesses under the threat of a large out of town shopping centre surrounding the proposed new store. This has happened in many other towns so their fears are not imagined.
Will voters blame the SNP if Sainsbury’s is turned down? Maybe, but there is an awful lot of politics to take into consideration!

Nairn of Nairn Spin

nairnlass said...

with Haddows closed and Victoria Wine closing this weekend the coop will have a captive audience for alcohol sales as well.

What's to say that these will be the last closures! none of us have a crystal ball.
the Council should wake up and smell the coffee to coin a phrase. If they give the go ahead for 500+ new homes to be built we need another supermarket to help provide for the extra residents. remember what happenned a couple of xmas' ago when somerfield ran out of the staples. The town needs shops not just to sell things but to employ local people too.

Anonymous said...

Tesco in Forres are applying for permission to open what must be pretty close to 24hours.

Might it be considered that's it their way of covering their bases , should Sainsbury's get the go ahead - giving them a unique selling point over the proposed new Nairn store.