‘We go on fighting until every shelf is empty...’

Supporters gathered for the Valentine's rally in Kirkcaldy town square. Pics: George McLuskie
Supporters gathered for the Valentine's rally in Kirkcaldy town square. Pics: George McLuskie

Campaigners vow to continue the battle to keep Tesco in Kirkcaldy

Campaigners had hoped to draw huge numbers to a Valentine’s Day rally to help save Kirkcaldy’s Tesco store.

However, on a drizzly Saturday morning a crowd comprising dozens rather than hundreds turned up in the town square to ask Tesco boss Dave Lewis to ‘have a heart’.

It was hardly the emphatic response organisers were hoping for but the conviction expressed in speeches by community representatives standing on the steps of Kirkcaldy Town Hall could not be doubted.

Councillor David Ross, Leader of Fife Council said: “We can’t kid ourselves that Tesco has a big heart and is going to the right thing morally for the town.

“But I believe there’s a strong commercial case for turning that store around and putting it into profitability.

“Tesco needs to know that we are prepared to fight for that shop and we will go on fighting until every shelf is empty and beyond.”

Tesco announced it would close the Hunter Street store on April 4 as part of a major cull across the UK, claiming it could find “no route to profitability”.

Cllr Ross revealed that Threadneedle Street, landlords at The Postings, had recently offered Tesco a year’s free rent andFife Council too had been open to negotiating new terms for the car park but the supermarket giant had rejected these offers.

Yesterday (Wednesday) a Tesco spokesman confirmed this, saying: “We are very grateful to those who have worked extremely hard to produce a package of proposals that could lower costs for our store.

“We have analysed the package of proposals carefully. With deep regret, even with the proposed reductions in our costs the store would continue to make a significant loss.

“It is with great sadness that we have to move forward with our plans to close the store.”

Cllr Ross, who along with Gordon Brown MP will present a last-minute case to Tesco in London on Monday, said: “There is a turnover of well over £20 million at that store.

“If Tesco can’t make a profit from £20 million there’s something very wrong with the management.”

Cllr Ross was joined at the rally by MSP David Torrance, Councillor Tom Adams and Councillor Kenny Selbie, all of whom urged the community to continue to support the campaign.

Brown lands last-ditch London talks with Tesco

Gordon Brown will make a final last- minute bid to save Kirkcaldy’s Tesco and the Post Office when he meets Chief Executive Dave Lewis at Tesco’s headquarters in London on Monday.

Accompanied by Councillors David Ross and Neil Crooks, he will be submitting new information about future prospects for the development of Kirkcaldy town centre which “should make them reconsider their plans for closure”.

Mr Brown said he regretted statements that Tesco had already made stating they had rejected a deal sent by Fife Council and was also aware Tesco were already distributing leaflets about the change of use and advising people of alternative shopping arrangements.

“I know Tesco have to plan ahead and also they want to end the uncertainty that currently hangs over staff and shoppers in Kirkcaldy,” said Mr Brown.

“Tesco has been in Kirkcaldy making profits for decades and the least we can expect is that they give the proposals we are making the chance of a fair hearing.

“The people of Kirkcaldy have shown their determination through a protest at the weekend and through writing hundreds of letters to Mr Lewis, which I hope he takes into consideration.”

The meeting, which has being dismissed by Tesco as a mere “courtesy” according to local workers, comes as it was revealed a Kirkcaldy-raised businessman is to become chairman of Tesco.

John Allan (66), currently the chairman of Barratt Developments, will replace Sir Richard Broadbent from March 1.

He said: “I’m very pleased to be taking on this role at such a critical moment for the business and look forward to working with the new executive team and the board.”