Any initiative that leads to new housing and jobs creation has to be applauded. It deserves front page headlines, but may I ask how this scheme actually helps this town, or any other for that matter? Notwithstanding that during the construction phase all those bricklayers and allied tradesmen are working and taking money home for their families.

Imagine, for a moment, that within a 10 mile radius of Ripley all the inhabitants are receiving £100 million in combined income. They spend it either within the town on daily living expenses, or outside the town on mortgages, holidays, credit cards or other things. Another supermarket, in addition to the nine we already have within ten miles of Ripley, will not add to our combined income, but dilute the takings of all the existing stores. And lower turnover in those businesses will lead to a reduced workforce. Probably more reduced than will be taken up by the 300 ‘created’ new jobs. Our poor high streets and local business will have yet another battle to fight as they try to make a living from the remaining people who recognise that family businesses and local companies actually recycle our spending locally. They desperately need our support to survive. The large supermarkets buy very little locally produced stock and, apart from wages to staff, take from our small towns all the money we give them. Our enjoyment of their lower prices come at a cost that our town will one day be unable to pay.

Are we simply rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?

M. E. Harper

Heath Road