Uckfield businesses fighting plans for a dry cleaning and shoe repair kiosk in Tesco car park have been overwhelmed by the support of townspeople.
Residents have joined the businesses in writing letters of objection to the joint Tesco and Timpson proposal.
People have described the plan as “stupid”, “ridiculous”, and “a joke”.
Some say Tesco should look after own existing business before adding others.
Samantha Richards Fielding said it would “make more sense to sort out the deli counter and make sure the shelves are stocked.”
Zoe Crowhurst said: “Stupid idea! We already have two dry cleaners, two key cutting places and three jewellers. Not needed, Tesco need to concentrate on the main store, not adding unwanted facilities. Support local.”
Colin Packham said: “Unbelievable – Uckfield already has these shops. Tesco need to focus on how they can keep up with demand for their store products as most shelves are empty.”
Others, like Charlotte EvemySavage say the money would be best spent on reducing congestion of traffic at the roundabout turning in and out of Tesco.
And Sandra Green said: “We don’t need this. Parking at seasonal times of the year is a joke in Tesco’s car park.”
Christine Martin said: “Really not necessary, we have these businesses and they serve us well. What we need is to keep the space in the car park.”
There was even a suggestion that Tesco be told people would boycott their stores if this happens. Gaye Murray said this would mean they would lose more money they would gain.
Glen Dixon of Bell Walk Dry Cleaners says the development threatens the livelihoods of independent businesses and their staff. He was grateful for the support of townspeople.
He told Uckfield News: “We can’t object to this planning application purely on the basis of competition but it could have a detrimental effect on employment in the town.
“Also the planning statement says this wouldn’t be a destination business and would only be used by Tesco customers but I know from my experience here that people do drive into Uckfield to deliver and collect their dry cleaning.
“The kiosk would create an increase in traffic, and an increase in congestion within the Tesco car park which, as we all know, can get very busy.”
Mr Dixon said he could understand why a kiosk would be useful at an out of town supermarket but it didn’t make sense to have one in a town where there were two existing dry cleaners and two existing shoe repairers within a two to three minute walk of Tesco.
Mr Dixon added that the development wasn’t consistent with the “preferred strategy” for Uckfield contained in the Draft Local Plan which was “to consolidate its existing multiple and service offer, and build on the attraction and success of its independent and specialist offer by improving the quality and choice of shops, cafes, and restaurants.”
He asks that people email Wealden Council with their objections to the planning application at email@example.com quoting the application number WD/2019/0789/F.
He added: “If you want to help us it’s essential that as many people as possible make their feelings known to the council. Staff at the existing businesses could well lose their jobs if the trade we have goes to Tesco.”
• Sir John Timpson, boss of Timpson – which would run the kiosk outside Tesco – is chair of a Government-appointed panel looking for ways of invigorating town centres. Some of his views can be read here: Timpson says a locally-driven approach needed to rejuvenate high streets.