Protest mounts at Somersham Tesco plan

FRESH anger has been levelled at Tesco after a two-metre high fence dubbed the ‘Berlin Wall’ by Somersham villagers was put up around the site of a controversial new store.

The grey fence appeared around the former Black Bull pub in High Street over the weekend prompting further criticism of the supermarket giant, who plan to turn the pub into an Express convenience store.

Officers at Huntingdonshire District Council are investigating whether planning permission is needed for the fence. A planning application is due to be submitted by Tesco this month for minor works to the store, including a new shop entrance, signs, plant equipment and an ATM.

Letters were pushed through residents’ doors two weeks ago announcing the proposed store, which is expected to create 20 part-time and full-time jobs in the village.

Around 150 people gathered outside the pub on Saturday, February 19 calling for Tesco to drop their plans, and more than 230 people have joined a Facebook protest page.

On Monday night a meeting at the Rose and Crown pub organised by protestor Alison Santos attracted 60 people. Villagers are now planning to take their concerns to the Somersham parish council meeting on March 14.

Mrs Santos, a veterinary nurse said: “There are a lot of people who want to go to that parish council meeting. We only get a 15 minute open forum. We only want two or three people to speak on behalf of everyone else, though 100 people could turn up.

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“I have said to people I will be strolling down along Parkhall Road before the meeting, and if anyone wants to join me I will be at The Cross from 6.45pm.”

Protestors are also planning to use a parish noticeboard which was moved from the wall of the pub on to the fence to voice their concerns.

“We are not going to use it for graffiti, just orderly notes and suggestions,” said Mrs Santos.

She added protestors were more determined than ever to make their voices heard.

“You think its a nine day wonder and that people might start thinking ‘I can’t be bothered with this, but 60 people turned out for the meeting on Monday. I was really surprised.

“People who have been in the village for years, have never seen anything like this.”