Gannaways in Portswood to close as Sainsburys nears completion

Posted on February 9, 2012 by

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It’s being reported that Gannaways, an independent grocery shop on Portswood High Street, is to close in response to the imminent completion of the new Sainsbury’s supermarket in Portswood.

The owner told the Wessex Scene that “Our lease is up for renewal, but what with the new Sainsbury’s and a proposed second supermarket where the car-park is along Westridge, we thought that it was not worth the competition. We are really sad by this, and thank all our loyal customers for their support. We are aiming to focus on our shop in Bitterne, but this closure is a real blow to us“.

The closure compounds fears that the new large supermarket built on the site of the old bus depot will have significant impacts on Portswood High Street, with the Halal shop opposite Portswood also reported to be planning to close in response to the feared pressure by the new development.

Whilst the new Sainsbury’s is projected to provide many new jobs for the area, critics say that the closure of local, independent shops will severely impact on the economic resilience and the character of the area.

A local campaigner told The Blowhole how “money spent in independent shops circulates much more in the local economy than that spent in chain shops, which gets hoovered up into the company to its shareholders and bosses much faster.  As a result, money spent in independent shops can effectively provide more income for local businesses as it passes hands around the economy so many times.  Whilst chains can bring more jobs, those areas become heavily dependent on fewer sources of income, and less of their earnings end up flowing around local businesses, continuing the cycle.  If the chain shuts then so many more people are out of work than if there was a plethora of shops too”.

Critics have also noted how the supermarket was built not per its original planning application, not meeting the Council’s stipulation for a smaller shop and more sheltered housing and a GP surgery, with problems with the NHS and grant funds scuppering the stipulated plans mid-build.  Councillors now are mooting enforcing the original application, but this late in the game they be limited in what they can do.

Many independent businesses are suffering in the recession versus larger companies, with The Talking Heads recently closing (although now reopening under new management) and rumours of difficulties at other pubs brewing.  But it’s not just the little guys suffering – big chains like Peacocs are failing too.

The Blowhole will monitor the situation for further developments.

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Posted in: News, Southampton