Ipswich: Looking for facts? Every little helps

IPSWICH Labour Party really ought to be a bit more careful about getting its facts right before councillors get absorbed with campaigning zeal in an attempt to see of the threat of a new “Tesco” in Woodbridge Road.

Last week a good posse of Labour councillors and party activists gathered at the Golden Key brandishing placards declaring: “Tes-no” and “Boycott Tesco”.

That might sound a great populist campaign, but it is based on no facts whatsoever. Tesco has said it has no interest in the site – planning permission for the conversion has been applied for by the pub’s current owners Greene King.

Of course that is not to say that if Greene King obtained permission to convert it into a supermarket that Tesco would not step in, but it does seem that the Labour Party have – on this occasion – not bothered to check any facts if there’s a decent rumour running around!

It all reminds me a bit of the hysteria we had a year ago about the Colchester Road fire station site. There was a rumour that Tesco was buying the site for a new store and everyone was up in arms. Tesco denied the rumour �– but that didn’t stop the campaign against them.

Eventually it was strong enough to persuade the borough to change its planning policy to prevent a supermarket being developed on the site.

At that point it emerged that it was not Tesco that had wanted to move in there. It was Marks and Spencer who wanted to put up a “Simply Food” store there.

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Suddenly we heard from people in the Colchester Road/Sidegate Lane area who decided that actually they’d rather like a Marks on their doorstep. Now I’m not saying for a minute that the people of Woodbridge Road would like a Marks or any other supermarket (apart from Tesco) but before you’re going into real campaigning mode isn’t it good to get your facts right first?

Remember the expression: be careful about what you wish for...