Cornish town forces Asda to ditch green signs

Local pressure persuades Asda to take a brand new approach in Cornish town

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The mighty force of Asda has bowed to the power of local opinion in the town of Hayle in Cornwall. The supermarket plans to open a store in the coastal community, and after locals expressed their horror at the 'garish' green logo due to be placed on the side of the building, they agreed to swap it for a stainless steel one instead. It's the first time the supermarket will go for silver, and goes to show how a powerful community can sometimes hold sway over a retailer.

The Metro reported that Asda submitted its designs and immediately alarmed locals. The council contacted the supermarket to complain - expecting a fight - but Asda backed down immediately, suggesting the silver sign as an alternative.

The Cornishman newspaper reported that the supermarket also offered to put up signs in Cornish - after a Celtic League member contacted the CEO of Walmart pointing out the status of the Cornish as a national minority group. He told the paper: "If dual language signage is good for Wales, it's good for Cornwall."

Local success
It's not the first time a supermarket has bowed to pressure from locals. In some instances they have done more than work with the supermarket on reducing the impact of the store - they've seen off the new store altogether.

One of the most high-profile campaigns was in the village of Herne in Kent in 2012, where Tesco planned to take over a former pub and build a Tesco Express. The locals were concerned about the impact on the village shop and organised a protest campaign. Days after 700 people marched through the village, the supermarket said they would not be pursuing their plans in Herne.

More recently, in September last year, Tesco announced that following local opposition it would not submit a forming planning application for a store in Sherborne. Tesco said at the time: "While the Sherborne protest was not the deciding factor, we did listen to it. When we say we consult communities, we mean it. We do it because successful stores serve their communities well and to do that, we need to understand the community well."

And in December last year, it was Hadleigh in Suffolk leading the charge. Locals had been campaigning against the arrival of a supermarket for 26 years, and In December the council rejected the planning application. There's nothing stopping Tesco submitting another plan, but for now the campaigners have emerged on top.

Are protests wise?
However, in Tesco's response to the Sherborne protests, it added: "Protests, often passionate and colourful, make better news than consensus but they are never the whole story. Some of the people who rely on local supermarkets the most – the elderly, those on fixed incomes or tight budgets – are those who are heard the least. A supermarket also employs local people and I cannot overstate how much difference a job makes to the people who get one."

But what do you think? Would you oppose a supermarket opening locally? Or would you take the same approach as Hayle and try to find a way to make the local supermarket better suit the area instead?

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