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Busy day for Lidl at Nailsea


Lidl had lots of customers when it opened for business on Thursday, September 11, at Nailsea Baptist church centre.

The budget supermarket was seeking approval from Nailsea people for its proposed new store off Stockway South.

With detailed plans, free food samples and petitions to sign it proved a very busy day.

On of the highlights of the morning was when the display board toppled over narrowing missing Nailsea Town Council planning and environment chairman James Tonkin.

Luckily he escaped unscathed.

Lidl construction manager Jay Jones said: “It has been busy all day apart from a couple of quiet spots but mostly it was manic with a lot of people very positive and saying ‘do it’ to us.”

Lidl SW property director James Mitchell said: "We were hugely busy - with responses generally in favour."

Nailsea mum Karen Ridge, 56, who works for a Flax Bourton company writing wills said: “I think it has caused a big buzz – everyone is talking about Lidl.”

Karen is secretary of AFC Nailsea and captain of the Misses skittle team based at the Ring O’Bells.

She added: “I won’t go out of the town for grocery shopping so it will be good to have a Lidl here.

“What we don’t want to see in another takeaway.”

Mrs Ridge suggested that covered parking provision for motorbikes and cycles should be added to the plans.

While many were in favour of the store coming to Nailsea they didn’t want to lose car parking spaces or want another coffee shop on the site of the old petrol station.

Retired doctor Robin Lambert, aged 67, said: “I am extremely doubtful that another store is necessary in Nailsea and despite reassurances I am convinced there is going to be a reduction in the car parking spaces.

“I am concerned that the car park shared by Tower House medical centre and the proposed new Lidl will have a 90 minute stay restriction.

Mr Tonkin said: “I am not against Lidl coming to Nailsea but not on this site.

“I can’t see how they can mitigate the loss of 80 car parking spaces.

“Currently there are192 spaces – take out 80 for the construction of the building and what is left will be taken by parking for staff, customers, health centre people and visitors to the new sheltered housing which has only allotted 10 spaces.

Mr Tonkin said he feared the outline application for 450 houses at Youngwood Lane is only the tip of the iceberg and it could be another 2,000 houses.

He added: “If that is the case we will need more car parking spaces not less.”

Mr Jones said a similar exercise by Lidl at Taunton didn’t attract the crowds but another at Plymouth was standing room only. The number of people who signed the 'yes' and 'no' thanks petitions on the day is not known yet but 148 names are on the online pro-petition.

  • WHAT'S IN STORE: Pictured is part of the busy informal consultation at Nailsea Baptist church centre where plans and free food samples were the order of the day. Scroll down to read the first Lidl story...

To add your name click HERE or to voice an objection you may use the contact box by clicking HERE and will forward to the district and town councils.

Two similar Lidl petitions this year were Portchester near Portsmouth which has a population of 17,000 and attracted 4,316 'yes' votes plus Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, with a pop of 16,000 with 711 'yes' votes.

Mark Robinson who is founder and investment director at Ellandi the owners of Crown Glass Shopping Centre tweeted: “I also have some thoughts on how to resolve the perceived car park issues around Lidl."

His solution would be better ‘landscaping’...

Nailsea School parents in big debate about cost of uniforms

Green and pleasant valley under threat

Many parents have this week joined the social media debate about the controversial cost of school uniforms for Nailsea students.

Mum Karen Weeks launched a campaign for the right to buy a Nailsea School embroidered black v-neck jumpers from any stockists.

Currently the jumpers which some claim are not top quality can only be bought from School Togs and costs approximately £20. 

Mrs Weeks wants parents to be able to shop around for cheaper options. looked at the cost of comparative jumpers and found without the logo prices from BHS to John Lewis range from £9-16 for secondary aged boys and some unisex jumpers.

Top London store Harrods sell school uniform jumpers for £29.50 while Clevedon School also has an official local stockist which sells jumpers at £12.95 without the emblem but its compulsory blazers with badge are priced at £34.50.

Although only 34 people so far have joined the Facebook group called Nailsea School Uniform - can we choose where to buy them please? FB page recorded 353 hits in one day when it provided a link and the opportunity to comment.

However, the problem isn’t confined to Nailsea.

On the parenting forum Netmums site it says: "Some schools insist you buy from a specialist school shop that stocks stuff with the school logo on.

“This is very controversial as it is always much more expensive than high street stuff.

“Most mums recommend buying just the logo sweatshirts, cardigans and whatever the school insists must be logoed from the school shop and buying plain polo shirts, shirts and the rest of the uniform from generic stockists.

“Find out if your school has secondhand sales or swap shops... you can never have too much uniform."

Mrs Weeks said government guidelines advise ‘exclusive single supplier contracts should be avoided unless regular tendering competitions are run where more than one supplier can compete for the contract and where best value for parents is secured’.

The mum-of-three said: “I feel the problem here is one of us not being able to have a choice which jumpers we buy, where we source them, and what price we pay.

“There are many parents who are happy to pay £20 for one school jumper from one outlet but there are also many parents who are unhappy about this.

“This is why I started the group on Facebook - to get the views of all parents.

“I have had messages from a lot of parents about this, some in support and some against any possible change.

“Some have complained about the quality of the jumpers which given the price is not of a standard they would expect saying collars come undone, cuffs unravelling and they fade in the wash.

“You cannot tumble dry the garments or use fabric conditioner which doesn’t fit with the household laundry.

“For many on low incomes £20 is quite a chunk out of the weekly family budget.

“I am very much in favour of supporting local businesses, but only if finances allow.

“I have absolutely no problem with Nailsea School head teacher Mr Wade or School Togs.”

Mum of four Jo Pinkney was all for supporting individual shops in Nailsea.

She said: “I feel strongly that Tesco has always been good at pushing out small businesses and we then moan that they haven't stayed open and there is little choice.

“I know how expensive it can be buying uniform but in the scheme of things think how much you pay for your children other clothes and I feel that it's good value for money.”

But another parent Kim Millard Milliner said: “I bought a new jumper for £20 last week and it's falling apart already and it's not through rough wearing.”

Caroline Partridge said: “I am a huge advocate of local businesses but all businesses big and small and local or not have to face competition.

“School Togs has none where Nailsea schools are concerned and it is unrealistic for any business to have no competition unless they pay to patent a brand.”

And Suzanne Griffiths Osborne said: “I have to say all the jumpers I have purchased for my children have fallen apart.

“I say let’s go down the sweatshirt route like Backwell School.”

But Jessica Davies said: “It's no different to ordering uniform through the school at Hannah More Infant and Grove Junior or only being able to order rugby kit from a club.

“A group of students at Nailsea School chose jumpers over blazers which would have cost more.

“If we all start buying jumpers from different suppliers the students will inevitably look different which will defeat the purpose of kids looking the same no matter what their circumstances.

“My son is in Year 11 and his jumpers take a bit of abuse and we've only ever changed one with School Togs.

“I can imagine the majority of people not happy paying School Togs prices still buy branded sportswear and clothes because of the look and also because kids just want to fit in and look the same as their friends.”

However, Mair Morris said: “It’s disgraceful - uniform should be as cheap as possible kids grow too quickly.”

Vikki Jones didn’t agree and thought buying a jumper from another shop and sewing on a badge wouldn't save more than a couple of pounds and defeat the object by losing the ‘uniformed’ look.


She said: “I'm glad they only have one choice of jumper - no arguing no comparing - if the students were allowed to wear what they liked every day imagine how much more than a £20 jumper it would cost.

“I wish people would stop making life difficult for schools so they can concentrate on teaching our children.”

Head teacher Chris Wade said: “To promote the ‘house’ system at Nailsea School and to upgrade the school branding a change was made to the logo in September 2013 to include the house colours.

“As part of the change the new logo was approved by governors to go on to a new black jumper; a new design of tie was also approved to match the new branding. 

“Nailsea School wants to support both the local business School Togs as our supplier and also parents of our students.

“In order to help parents we asked that Year 7 students in 2014 be in the new jumper and tie, with all other students moving to the new jumper and tie in September 2015.

“I am pleased to report that many students across all year groups have made the change this year, with staff commenting that they look very smart. 

“As I understand it a Facebook page has been set up to promote the view of one or two parents in suggesting more choice in where to buy school jumpers.

“In a school of more than 1,000 students I do not believe it is appropriate to change policy on the basis of this limited objection.

“Further to this, I would add that schools that offer more choice have generally reverted back to one supplier due to the wide range in appearance of their students.

“Finally it is important to state that parents of students at Nailsea School are free to purchase shoes, trousers and shirts from any retailer, provided they meet the requirements of the uniform code.”

And the final word goes to Mark Gibbard, of School Togs, who said: “We have had more than 20 years experience in the retail sector and are highly respected by the education community.

“School Togs has a reputation of offering a dedicated service, tailored to the individual needs of their customers.

“We work closely with schools to meet their needs and supply quality school wear that offers real value for money.

“As a small family business we pride ourselves in supporting our local community, and our customers tell us that ‘it’s great you’re here’.

“I think it is very sad that a selective few are intent on driving out the small business and in doing this, allow the large corporate companies to dominate the retail market.

“We are very proud to support Nailsea School, and all our other schools.”

Nailsea School has a strong tradition of high dress standards.

Back In September 2011 the Mizzymead comprehensive bought in a trousers-only policy which stopped girls from wearing skirts which were getting shorter and shorter.

And in October 2010 it banned the Miss Sexy fashion label trousers for being too tight.

Previous head teacher David New issued a statement at the time which said: “Parents sign the home school agreement in which they promise to ensure their children follow the rules.

“Nailsea School will never apologise for having high standards in terms of achievement, behaviour or appearance.”

STOP PRESS: Mum Karen Weeks has heard from the governors at Nailsea School about her campaign for free choice on where to buy school uniform jumpers.

She posted on Facebook: “I have received an answer from the governors of Nailsea School. They discussed the matter on Tuesday, September 23.

This is an excerpt from their reply ‘...the governors agreed unanimously with the current school policy for the particular items of school jumper and tie to be supplied through School Togs in order to maintain consistency across all students in these two key items.These are the only items of the normal school uniform required to be purchased in this way and the school supplies guidance on where to purchase approved shirts, trousers and shoes from a variety of suppliers at a variety of cost...’

Mrs Weeks is considering the next move to change school policy to give parents choice.

She added: “I understand that they want consistency across all students but we are not asking for a change in uniform - just the choice to buy the identical jumpers from other sources.

“That is why I really don't understand the insistence on having School Togs as the only supplier, especially when there are many parents who are not happy with the quality and price.”

Campaigner Karen Weeks said: “I feel the problem here is one of us not being able to have a choice which jumpers we buy, where we source them, and what price we pay.

Nailsea carer Sally Winsor said:"I fully support the views of Gill Brown regarding the suggested development of the Land Yeo Valley.

"It's a pity a few more affordable homes weren't built on The Elms, but as Gill points out, that's not where the money lies for the builders.

"What about rethinking the land use on Blackfriars Industrial estate? So many of the units there are empty, and have been for many years.

"We are all encouraged to recycle these days - perhaps property developers should be encouraged to do the same, instead of just eying up the nearest green field regardless of its impact on the local community.

"I would also like to comment on the proposed Lidl development.

"What a ridiculous suggestion, to build another supermarket on a well used car park.

"If Lidl have stores in Clevedon and Portishead, then we don't need another in Nailsea.

"If the precinct management are so desperate to revitalise the town centre why not redevelop the old Dr's surgery that Weston College have just boarded up and abandoned?

"Throw in the library space and recreate something more suitable which won't have have the effect of bringing more people to town without anywhere for them to park!

Changing face of Nailsea town centre

In November 2012 it was announced Lidl was coming to Nailsea as part of a massive £10 million investment for the town centre.

But nothing happened although we were promised a planning application within 12-18 months.

Then just before Christmas Lidl south west property director James Mitchell accompanied by new Crown Glass Shopping Centre manager Charlotte Jarrett started talking to Nailsea Town Council about its plans. 

Although in August Lidl UK press office were still in denial about where.

PR person Nicole Benford sent an email to which said: "Thank you for your email and interest in Lidl.

"I can confirm that we are still interested in the Nailsea area, however there are no plans for any specific sites at this current time."

But finally this week the discount supermarket came clean and has confirmed it is poised to put in a planning application and is inviting Nailsea people to an informal public consultation and free food sampling on Thursday, September 11.

It is believed that the initial plans which were revealed at meeting of Nailsea Chamber of Trade & Commerce nearly two years ago by the landlords of Crown Glass Shopping Centre have been 'tweaked' but there are two main concerns for Nailsea residents:

  • loss of 40 car parking spaces especially for Tower House Medical Centre; and

  • affect on the three main supermarkets already trading in the town.

Nailsea has never been able to support more than three supermarkets so the development could threaten the survival of one of the existing stores - Iceland, Tesco and Waitrose - plus the viability of the Budgen store at Wraxall Service Station and/or greengrocers Burchill at Crown Glass Shopping Centre.

However, these are not planning considerations and in trade it is always survival of the fittest.

The original plans were for a small single-storey retail unit on the old petrol filling site which would face Stockway South and create new jobs for the town although not as many as first promised.

All will be revealed between 10am-5pm next week at The Centre, home of Nailsea Baptist Church, at 79 Silver Street - the old Church House.

Lidl say is it an established as a leading grocery retailer throughout Europe with more than 600 stores already in the UK including branches at Clevedon and Portishead.

It is urging residents to sign its online petition in support of its application to North Somerset Council.

To sign its petition click HERE - by Monday 127 people had signed and by Tuesday is was 134 - or go to the contacts page and send your views.

It says the proposed Lidl development would:

  • meet a clearly defined need for a discount foodstore in Nailsea;

  • increase customer choice and aid competition;

  • create 35 new jobs;

  • provide a high quality contemporary building;

  • use sustainable materials, construction techniques, building management systems and operation processes to promote energy efficient and environmentally friendly operations.

The first 'unveil' of the plans said Nailsea would lose 67 car parking spaces at Stockway South and half a dozen protected trees.

Another application to redevelop the old boarded-up Sycamore House care home is due to be submitted to planners although it has also missed its deadline.

Churchill Retirement Living Ltd managing director Andrew Burgess said: “ We are finalising the submission of our planning application for 30 retirement living apartments.

“We are aiming to submit the planning application by the middle of August.

public consultation and free food sampling day on Thursday, September 11

“We would hope to have a decision on the planning application by early December.

“ I am not able to give you an indication of selling prices at this stage in the process as we do not have planning permission and it is too early.”

To view the outline proposals click HERE.

Below is the original site plan and photos of Sycamore House now and how it could look in the future.

This is what people are saying:

Mum Vikki Jones said: "Ahhh I wanted Aldi."

Pete Main said: "Where?"

And Paul Cronin said: "The Lidl in Clevedon is very popular indeed. I hadn't realised Nailsea was missing out."

Mel Fletcher said: "Lidl in Clevedon is always busy you even have to queue in the mornings at 8am...can't wait for Aldi to open!"

Janet Lindley said: "Lidl in Clevedon and Portishead are always busy and like the post above I am looking forward to Aldi opening but it would be nice to shop in one of them in Nailsea.I hope it gets planning permission."

Tickenham gunsmith Ian Summerell said: "I'm not anti Lidl but is this a supermarket for Nailsea.

"They will removed a large number of parking spaces for more people that will want to shop in the centre.

"There is not enough parking spaces now.

"It's okay for the people who live in Nailsea and can walk to the shops but living out in Tickenham and other outlying villages some of us have to drive to Nailsea."

Conservationist Gill Brown, pictured right, has joined the debate about building on Land Yeo with a strongly worded letter addressed to local councillors.

She said: "So Nailsea Town Council wishes to protect the open space between Nailsea and Backwell. 

"I fully support their aim, but not the way in which they plan to achieve it. 

"They have proposed realigning the greenbelt, which would leave the beautiful, and much loved, Land Yeo valley north of the town open to development.

"In fact they have suggested that a swathe of the valley could be used for housing, employment and leisure, and that a road running from The Barn public house to Jacklands Fishing Lakes should be part of the development. In my view this is neither limited nor sustainable.

"My question to the council is this: Why are you so keen to protect one side of Nailsea, while at the same time promoting development on the other? 

"Do the council believe that the open space to the north of the town is of less value than the land between Nailsea and Backwell, and if so why? 

"Do they realise that Nailsea residents who have known and loved this area for many years feel badly let down by the people who are supposed be representing them?

"I know that councillors have a genuine concern that the town centre is dying, and that schools may close if there isn’t more housing and employment, but surely suggesting changes to the greenbelt is playing a dangerous game. 

"We need affordable housing, but developers will almost certainly push for larger more prestigious homes, which are where the profits lie. 

"I fear that if the land loses its protection the council will have virtually no control over what is eventually built there, and it will have little or no impact on the town’s current problems. 

"Given that the transport infrastructure is no better than it was in 2005, when a paper prepared for the town council said it was inadequate to support any major new development, it could make matters even worse. 

"Isn’t it about time Nailsea Town Council consulted residents to canvass their views about how to revitalise the town?

"Perhaps together we could find a solution that doesn’t involve squandering our natural heritage."

Do you agree? Scroll down to read the story Not In My Backyard and comments about proposed building of 450 near The Uplands and Morgan's Hill.

Send your views to or use the form on the contact page.

Gill has gone walkabouts around parts of the threatened land and has written a blog with photos. To read click HERE.

Nailsea High Street.jpg

Our town is a very nice town

THE online community newspaper for Nailsea people, their family and their friends

September 2014
Part One
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