When we first came to Bruntsfield more than 10 years ago, there was a greengrocers, a small general store (Spar), a newsagents, a butchers, 2 delis and 2 fishmongers as well as Oddbins and Wine Raks. What we really liked was that you could get everything you needed without having to go to a soulless supermarket.
Then Tesco opened a store in the area. One by one, small individual shops have closed with the latest casualty being Peckhams – a large deli that sold unusual food and drink. Peckham’s opened my eyes to the range of different beer from Scotland that is now available as well as bringing in favourites, like Little Creatures, that we had tried on holidays abroad. They supported Scottish suppliers – Ramsay’s bacon, Summer Isles foods and Simple Simon pies.
To be honest, I suspect that Tesco was not the only reason for Peckham’s demise – recession, poor management and licensing law changes all played a part but there is no doubt that Tesco has taken business away from the local shops. Now, apparently Sainsbury is to take over the Peckham’s site - another nail in the coffin of small businesses.
We are lucky still to have Oddbins, a newsagent, a butchers and a fishmonger but how many will still be there in a couple of years? When will local authorities realize that the tesco-isation of our high streets is irretrievably damaging the character of our towns and cities.
Sadly, no political party seems to care – or, perhaps, they are all in the pockets of the multinational supermarkets. The Tories are supposedly the party of small businesses but we hear no complaints from them about how these businesses are being destroyed by the supermarkets. Margaret Thatcher’s father – a grocer in Grantham and a lifelong Tory – will be turning in his grave.