CAMPAIGNERS pleading for the Midcounties Co-Operative to withdraw its protest against a new ASDA opening up in Cinderford took to the streets on Saturday to voice their anger.
Many say the supermarket has a monopoly on most weekly shops in the town, forcing many people to make the 30 mile round trip to Gloucester to pick up supplies.
Long standing plans to build a new supermarket in Cinderford to rival the Co-Op have been blocked, angering many families.
Amanda Phillips Watkins, from the We Want Asda in Cinderford, has vowed to continue weekly protests until a public inquiry is hear in Bristol later this year.
“It is important we continue fighting for Asda, we won't give up,” she said.
“We need the freedom of choice and another supermarket in Cinderford would save many people from having to drive into Gloucester.
“Yes we can go to Lidl, but I’ve got a family and I can’t get all the stuff there that I need.
“I certainly can't afford to do a week’s shopping at the Co-Op.
“Gloucester is a 30 mile round trip and if the weather is bad it can take a long time.
“It is an awful road, but I have to leave at 7.30am to avoid the worst traffic. When we had that bad weather the Co-Op ran out of bread by 11am. The town is growing and there will be another 200 people here from the new homes soon.
“The hearing will be heard at Bristol now so hopefully it will now be passed and it can get sorted out. If not it will go to a full review in London and that could take a lot longer.”
A further demonstration will be held on March 22 at The Triangle, starting at 11am.
Protestors plan to burn mock-up Co-Op loyalty cards to show their disgust.
Like many others, Amanda is worried if the next appeal fails, it could be the final straw for any future plans.
“A lot of people are trying to make their own stand by not shopping at the Co-Op,” she added.
“Most people want any kind of superstore here. If we lose Asda we will lose everything as no other supermarket would want the expense of having to go through the planning process.
“The site is derelict warehouses. Businesses there have had to move out and it is now an eyesore
“We will keep pushing as much as we can. The people of the Forest want it here.”
Former immigration minister and Forest MP Mark Harper has waded into the row, writing to the Co-Op chief executive asking for an explanation as to why the plans have been blocked.
Co-op bosses have presented a second legal challenge to Asda’s plans, but the Government has said that it will not ‘call it in’ for scrutiny. It will now be up to a judge to decide the fate of the challenge.