People can vote with their feet

By South Hams Newspapers Ltd in

MJ HURLEY, of Cholwells Court, Woolston, Kingsbridge, writes:

The discussion and ­arguments regarding The Quay public house rumble on.

It may well be that the ­planners under current law can find no valid reason to refuse the application from Subway and Spar.

However, the people of Kingsbridge are potentially far more powerful than any local government planning officer or council – they have the power of what I call ‘commercial democracy’.

People may not be able to stop a national company ­arriving, but they can have a big say in whether it stays. If the local community does not like Subway and prefers local, private traders, then do not shop at Subway. Persuade your family and friends to boycott its ‘inferior’ products, and if a majority follow this advice, commercially it will be ­impossible for it to survive locally.

However, we have had this power for ever, and yet we do not organise and use it – hence, despite protests, we have many national retailers in Kings­bridge and by and large, despite the initial protests, we support them.

However, we should be careful what we wish for: will we in five years’ time be organising a campaign to force the landlord of the empty, neglected and decaying Quay building to undertake essential repairs?

Instead of indicating whom we don’t want in Kingsbridge, perhaps we could state

whom we would welcome and ­support, otherwise the entry to Kingsbridge will continue to be neglected.

Kingsbridge is not a theme park – retailers, whether national or local, have to be financially viable, so it is our commercial democracy that in the end ­determines whether they ­survive and prosper, or fall.

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