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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Portas backs Old Town Albert Parade Campaign

July 30, 2013 9:56 AM

Retail Guru Mary Portas has backed the 'Keep Albert Parade Special' Campaign by writing to the Sainsbury's Chief Executive.

Mary shares the concerns of local retailers, shoppers and MP Stephen Lloyd that the unique and iconic independent shops along Albert Parade will be ruined if a supermarket like Sainsbury's moves in to replace the Drive Pub. The street hosts a range of family run stores, many of which go back many years, like J Heath and Son which is now owned by the 3rd generation of the Heath Family, and Shepperds Green Grocers which has been in the family for 80 years.

Mary has previously visited Eastbourne as part of the Portas Pilots campaign which saw the MP, local traders and the Council set up Eastbourne's Town Team. On that visit she was full of praise for Eastbourne, later tweeting: "Your energy and commitment is simply inspiring. Great MP too which helps. X." She has long campaigned to stop the homogenisation of high streets and to keep local town centres distinctive.

Mary said in her letter to the Sainsbury's CEO: "[Albert Parade] is a delightful and well used parade which brings character and vitality to the area. To place a Sainsbury's Local right by this threatens the continued existence of the very special provision of small shops. The loss of these shops will result in this unique street losing the essence of its character and becoming yet another bland faceless high street, the likes of which I have been campaigning against for many years."

"While Sainsbury's is very popular in Eastbourne, and have excellent stores in Hampden Park and Seaside, there is a large amount of resentment against this particular proposal, and I'm sure you will have heard from many local residents. I would strongly urge you to re think this proposal."

Stephen Lloyd MP added: "I am delighted that Mary Portas has once again backed Eastbourne and all our excellent independent traders. She has a justifiably exceptional reputation as a retail guru so I am hopeful that the Sainsbury's Chief Executive, Justin King, will take her appeal on our behalf very seriously. We have a lovely little set of shops in Albert Parade and it would be terrible to see them pushed out by a supermarket conglomerate. I look forward to hearing how they respond to Mary's letter."