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1,000 sign a petition for First Tower store to stay

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ST Helier residents who are fighting to keep their local shop open have gathered more then 1,000 signatures on a petition which has been presented to the Island’s competition regulator.

Ted Vibert and Tim Barrass with a petition to the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities. Picture: ROB CURRIE (20628534)

The petition, organised by Tim Barrass, and backed by the First Tower Community Association, calls on the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities to allow SandpiperCI to keep running the Checkers Xpress store on St Aubin’s Inner Road.

Mr Barrass said: ‘We worked very hard going door to door getting 1,000 signatures and were greatly helped by the licensee of the Earl Grey, who allowed us to place petitions in his bar, as well as Checkers, who did the same.’

The store’s closure was a condition of Sandpiper being given the go-ahead by CICRA to add Costcutter shops to its portfolio. It required the retail group to either sell the freehold of the First Tower premises or lease it to another business, enabling it to remain a general store.

However, after residents banded together, SandpiperCI, which also wants to keep the store open, asked CICRA to reconsider. Until a final decision on the store’s future’s is made, it will remain open.

The competition authority issued a statement, saying it has asked Sandpiper for evidence that it has made ‘every effort’ to meet its requirement.

Director Louise Read said: ‘We are currently investigating whether Sandpiper has complied with the conditions of the merger. We issued a decision instructing that the store at First Tower should not be closed while our investigation takes place.

‘We appreciate that consumers may be impacted by the closure of this shop. What is best for consumers is forefront to our consideration.’

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
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