Tesco’s £4,000 cash apology to Fenland

General View of Chatteris Tesco that is now going to be delayed opening. ANL-140922-155054009
General View of Chatteris Tesco that is now going to be delayed opening. ANL-140922-155054009
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The £22 million store was due to open this month with the prospect of 250 new jobs, but the supermarket giant announced just weeks ago that it would be postponed until next summer due to falling profits.

The decision angered local residents, and Fenland MP Steve Barclay raised the issue when he met Tesco bosses in Parliament.

He argued there should be compensation to the community for the inconvenience and disappointment caused.

He said: “I really believe Tesco owe the town and surrounding villages an apology for the decision not to open the store.

“I understand the company has suffered difficult trading times, but the people of Chatteris were looking forward to the new supermarket and the hundreds of jobs it was going to create.

“I suggested to Tesco they needed to do something to compensate the community and submitted a list of good causes I wanted to see them supporting.”

As a result of the meeting, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager Adam Williams confirmed the company will support two of the good causes nominated by Mr Barclay.

The first to benefit is Chatteris Christmas Lights with Tesco agreeing to give £2,500 to the town’s Christmas Lights Appeal.

Chris Savill, lights committee chairman, said: “I am very pleased to say that not only has it made my day but it is a very welcome Christmas present to Chatteris Christmas Lights.

“Our thanks must go to Mr Barclay for thinking of our local community.

“It means a great deal to all of the volunteers/residents of Chatteris to know that he is working behind the scenes to better the area.”

The second beneficiary is Cruse Bereavement Care, which provides support for bereaved people across the Fens. It is being given £1,500 towards the cost of training more volunteers.

The charity was forced to suspend its one-to-one service in this area earlier in the year because of a lack of trained volunteers – an issue raised in Mr Barclay’s on-going “Treat Me Local” health campaign.

As a result of Mr Barclay highlighting the lack of bereavement support in Fenland, Cruse announced in September it would be resuming services in Fenland with plans to run a training course for volunteers early next year.

Normally volunteers have to pay for the course themselves but Helen Pope, Cruse’s area co-ordinator, said the Tesco money will provide up to six free places on the course.

“It is absolutely fantastic news. Recruiting volunteers is not always easy especially as they have to pay for the training course themselves and that can be a deterrent.

“This £1,500 will go a long way to supporting people to complete the course.”