Stroud does not need more supermarkets, campaigners say

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More than 500 people have signed a petition calling on a Gloucestershire council to reject plans for three new supermarkets.

Stroud District Council is looking at two applications, one from Asda, the second an unnamed company. Morrisons has yet to submit plans.

Campaigners say there are already three big stores in town and that another three are not needed.

The council said all applications would be treated separately on their merit.

'Sufficient choice'

Joanne Hampton, from group Stroud Against Supermarket Saturation, said in the Stroud valley area there were already three supermarkets - and a smaller Co-op - serving a population of some 49,000 people.

"We've got sufficient choice and lots of shops in Stonehouse and Stroud which offer vastly different things to what the supermarkets are offering," she said.

Professor Barry Davies, a retail expert from the University of Gloucestershire, said many people believe there is a fixed demand for items supermarkets supply and that more supermarkets mean sharing trade even more thinly.

"The evidence doesn't always support that always," he said.

"Because of the geography of Stroud and how you travel around there are people who live fairly close to the town centre who feel like they don't have much choice.

"I think there is probably scope for more supermarkets in Stroud and they may not damage the other retailers as much as some correspondents feel."

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