GRAHAM TORRINGTON: A meeting’s being held in Bristol this morning to discuss the future of the Tesco’s store on Cheltenham Road, after Friday’s violence closed the shop. Other shopkeepers and residents in the area are assessing the damage. Cath Archer runs the Bristolian Cafe on Picton Street, and joins me right now. So Cath, paint the picture for me where you are right now.
CATH ARCHER: Oh good morning. Well basically, I don’t know if it’s accidental damage or intentional, but a beer bottle was thrown at the front of the cafe and smashed the door glass, unfortunately.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: When was this? When was this?
CATH ARCHER: Well I don’t know. I wasn’t there obviously, at the time, but I gather that the police kettled everybody away from the Stokes Croft area onto the side streets, and I can gather that they went down Picton Street, and that’s when the damage happened, I think. Somebody, whether it was accidentally thrown or was not actually aimed at the cafe but just happened to hit it, I don’t know.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Now you’re just around the corner obviously from the Tesco store.
CATH ARCHER: That’s right. Yes.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: What are your fears right now?
CATH ARCHER: What are my fears?
GRAHAM ARCHER: Sorry. I don’t actually .. I don’t have any fears. I’m worried about further damage being done to the front of the premises. because it’s been .. luckily some friends boarded it up for me, seeing as they were handy with some bits of wood and tools, and they came and .. the doors .. I was worried that the glass would fall in, so obviously they’ve had to board it up on both sides, and it does make the cafe just makes it look like it’s run down. So maybe somebody might come along and think we’ll just do some more damage.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Do you want to make it clear you’re open for business?
CATH ARCHER: Oh yes I am open for business. I was open all over the weekend. I opened the next day. It’s not going to stop me. Nothing’s going to stop me opening.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Insurance. Have you got insurance?
CATH ARCHER: I don’t know what the position is. I obviously have public liability insurance, but that won’t be covered, so I think it would be the landlord’s insurance that would have to pay out for it. I’m going to report it as a crime obviously to the police today, and see what happens then.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: We’re hearing about this meeting that’s going to be taking place today, about the future. What do you want to happen?
CATH ARCHER: Well I’ve never been in agreement with Tescos opening a store there. I use the larger Tescos where it’s in an appropriate place, and they are cheap on a lot of things. But nobody .. the majority of people I speak to are against Tescos on Stokes Croft, for various reasons. There’s a lot of independent shops in the area, and businesses. There’s three Tescos within ten minutes walking distance. Why do we need a fourth? So I’m against it personally.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: But if you’re against Tescos, and you don’t use it, you don’t need to smash the windows, do you?
CATH ARCHER: Well no, I can’t condone violence in any shape or form, and I don’t.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Surely if somebody was against your business there, you wouldn’t want your shop smashed up, would you?
CATH ARCHER: Well absolutely not, no. I’m not condoning what happened that night at all. Peaceful protest, yes, but it spilled over into violence, and that’s not on.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: What’s the atmosphere been like over the weekend?
CATH ARCHER: It’s quite settled really. There was a lot of people quite amazed actually at what happened on Stokes Croft. Amazement and ..
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Amazement at what?
CATH ARCHER: Amazement at the strength of it, how many people were on the streets, the police …
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Do you think lots of people felt that it got a bit out of hand?
CATH ARCHER: Oh absolutely. Yes. I think that people were shocked that it spilled over into violent confrontation between protestors and the police. As I say I wasn’t there. I didn’t see any of it first hand, so ..
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: So you’re hopeful. What do you hope to come out of this meeting today?
CATH ARCHER: Well I would hope that Tesco actually take note, and listen, and move on. As I say, there was a lot of opposition to the store right from the very beginning.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Well do you think that Tesco should open ever again?
CATH ARCHER: Not on that site, no, frankly.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: Why not?
CATH ARCHER: Because there are so many independent shops really close by, and there’s three Tescos within ten minutes walking distance.
GRAHAM TORRINGTON: OK Cath, thanks very much for coming on the show today.