19 AUG 2011

Greg meets with Morrisons' Chief Executive

Commenting on his meeting with Morrisons' Chief Executive Dalton Philips at the company's Bradford Headquarters on Thursday 18 August, MP for Tunbridge Wells, Greg Clark, said:

"It was a frank and forthright meeting. I told Dalton Philips that people in Tunbridge Wells are outraged that Morrisons have kept this prime site boarded-up over the last 5 years, blighting the town, rather than allow a competitor to revive it.

"As a company, Morrisons makes much of its commitment to "being a good neighbour and an active part of the community". But the acid test of whether these values are more than warm just words is when the clear interest of the community does not coincide with the narrow commercial advantage to the company. By keeping its competitors out and the store abandoned, Morrisons revealed that it would put its own commercial tactics ahead of the wellbeing of a community.

"If they are to salvage their reputation locally and convince people that they are a 'good neighbour' and 'an active part of the community', I believe that there are two responsible courses open to Morrisons:

1. To give a binding commitment to re-open an attractive store themselves within months.

2. To allow Waitrose to move in and re-open the store.

"Patience has run out with the company and there is a great suspicion of being strung along, so a decision needs to be made quickly.

"I felt that Mr Philips and his colleagues listened carefully to all the points that I made and I offered to facilitate any meeting they needed with the Borough Council, but they now need to put the community first."

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