About 10 or more years ago, when my eldest daughter was very young, Sainsburys opened a new superstore on Winterstoke Road in Ashton. I remember being very excited by the prospect and looked forward to my first visit. Our existing Sainsburys was small and didn't offer the range of lines the new store promised.
This week I learned of Tesco's plans to open a superstore on the old Ashton Gate football site and my reaction could not have been more different. Instead of looking forward to its arrival I intend to do all I can to oppose it. I've started by emailing my Labour councillors, the local Green councillor, my MP, my MEP and the prospective Green MEP.
So what's changed? Climate change and the regeneration of North Street.
Supermarkets have a enormous impact on the environment - food miles, energy consumption, waste generation, car usage etc. They are vast impersonal retail outlets in comparison with local shops which are friendly and helpful and more likely to source local produce. There is, in my mind, no comparison and I've been delighted by the gradual transformation of North Street into a vibrant shopping centre with a wide variety of shops, including a long awaited fishmonger.
Now before you ask, I'll come clean and confess that I do of course shop in supermarkets, both online and in person. Nor do I have any immediate plans to stop doing so. I have nevertheless been consciously and deliberately trying to reduce my dependence on them - by shopping local. It's better for me, for the community and for the environment.
Suddenly all this is threatened by the proposed arrival of Tesco at Ashton Gate. I'm afraid that the competition will prove too much for some of our local shops and that they will be forced to close. I suspect that, once they're through the doors, shoppers will be tempted to pick up all the items on their list under the same roof. I'm worried that there will be an increase in the level of traffic. I fear the relentless progress of the multinational retailers.
Besides which, with a Sainsburys, a newly expanded Asda, an Aldi, a Lidl and two Tesco Expresses, why on earth do we need another Tesco?
So thank you, but no thank you, Sir Terry.