A CAMPAIGN to stop a doctors’ surgery being turned into a supermarket is gathering momentum.
A petition launched three weeks ago in protest against plans for the Elms Medical Centre in Hoole has already attracted more than 1,700 signatures.
Organisers Cllrs Mark Williams and Bob Thompson say there is now enough support to present the document to Cheshire West and Chester Council.
They say petitions need at least 1,500 signatures to carry clout, with the pair fearing a new supermarket would take trade from stores on Faulkner Street.
Tesco, which already has seven stores and four One Stop shops in the Chester area, has confirmed it is interested in the site but stressed no deal had been done.
“I can only hope the councillors will listen to the strength of feeling from the Hoole community,” Cllr Williams said. “The people of Hoole do not want another supermarket moving in as they love and appreciate their local shops as is evident but the sheer numbers signing the petition in response to the moves.
“It’s sad this doctors’ surgery is closing to move into town away from the residents its serves and sadder still a supermarket is the only thing that wants to move into that space. No consideration seems to have been given to what community benefit there is to any change of use to the Elms building.”
The NHS plans to relocate the medical centre, on Hoole Road, and three others to a new ‘super clinic’ at the former Delamere Street bus station site in the city centre. An application has been lodged to change the use of the building from a doctors’ surgery to retail, under planning law.
Cllr Williams added: “This building was originally publicly owned and as a surgery funded by NHS. It’s a mistake to sell it off to a supermarket. Faulkner Street is a vibrant shopping area with local independent retailers that people want to protect.
This is not ‘nimbyism’ and is certainly not about the supermarket in question. It’s the principle people are objecting to.
“Huge thanks to all the people that have signed the petition and to all the Hoole shops that helped out as it would not have worked without you.”
A spokesman for Tesco said: “We think a small Tesco store would complement the retail offer in Hoole. We’d be happy to review any options for a store in the local community.”
See full story in the Chester Leader