The I Love LB group is a young and vibrant, not-for-profit organisation made up totally from volunteer local townspeople and business owners who want to make the twin towns of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade vibrant, exciting, relevant and a great experience for everyone. We are dedicated to Leighton Buzzard and Linslade, their history, their community and continued well being both now, and in the future.

Our organisation aims to foster loyalty to local shops and businesses and ensure that what is on offer meets the needs of all our local residents.

The purpose of the I Love LB group is to promote for the public benefit, urban regeneration in and around the market town of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade by any or all of the following means:

  • The maintenance, improvement or provision of public amenities
  • The preservation of buildings or sites of historical or architectural importance
  • The protection or conservation of the environment
  • The promotion of the economic activity of the town centre
  • The organisation of community events to sustain and encourage social interaction between all members of society in the town
  • The promotion of the town as a destination for business, leisure and community activities


Regarding Christmas Weekend 2009: On behalf of all the town council members, may I say a big thank you to all of you who made the Christmas weekend happen and express our grateful
thanks, particularly to the many 'behind the scenes' helpers whose efforts helped to make it such a success.

The event was even bigger and better than last year, and once again, the High Street came to life with a wonderful, friendly family atmosphere

that was enjoyed by all. Whatever the cost, it was priceless and worth every penny!

So once again, a big thank you to all concerned - council staff, I Love LB, stall holders and all the councilor members who attended and helped.

Regarding Christmas Weekend 2009: We came from Luton for the friday night fireworks and it was well worth it.

Regarding Christmas Weekend 2009: I would just like to raise my glass to all at I Love LB. What a great effort, what a great weekend. Well done all of you, a lot of hard work I'm sure but, a lot of enjoyment for a lot of people. Looking forward to next year.

Regarding Christmas Weekend 2009: The town on Friday evening had a splendid atmosphere, and even the hiccups with the switching-on ceremony seemed to be met with good humour. The fireworks were very impressive indeed, and in a good setting.

Regarding Christmas Weekend 2009: Great weekend, kids absolutely loved it, we absolutely loved it. Looking forward to next year. Thanks very much.

Regarding Christmas Weekend 2009: Fantastic atmosphere in the town last weekend. Wish it could be Christmas everyday. Well done to Vince and the team for a wonderful weekend. Great to see the shops open and full of people. The Sunday market, food stalls, funfair and cycling displays etc were fab. Sincere congratulations. Thank you for putting Leighton Buzzard on the map!

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Tesco vs Leighton Buzzard - Public Meeting

          Leighton Middle School, Church Square, Leighton Buzzard.

                                  7.30pm Tuesday 1st March

Please come along, listen to what we beleive the impact the planned Tesco's expansion could have on our town and, HAVE YOUR SAY.

To book your seats, please just email us or call 01525 851934




 We need more shops  in LB Town Centre
We really agree that the town centre needs more shops such as clothing shops so that people do not need to go to MK. That’s we  are really strongly supporting  Central Bedfordshire’s Plans to develop the  South Side of the High Street ( Duncombe Drive area) with  shops such Marks and Spencers.  Please support these  at

 Trouble with Tesco Expansion

1        The expansion of Tesco   will not provide choice. It will provide a bit of everything which will result in local shops having to close down,  but will not give us the choice to stop us having to go to MK to buy a smart pair of trousers.  Tesco states openly that it only offers the lower end of the clothing range.

2        It risks harming or stopping  the development of the South Side of the High Street for a bigger range of shops especially clothing  shops  such as  Marks and Spencer 

3        It risks many small independent shops in the town centre and the  market closing down as has happened in other towns with large Tesco stores and thus loosing the unique  market town feel of Leighton Buzzard.

4        There will be a big increase in traffic with possibly traffic lights, on West Street. This could “choke” the town through increased congestion.

5        Tesco is the wrong side of town; most of the population is on the other side of the town centre and the new housing growth will be in the East of the town.

Tesco does get refused- many times

Already   just this year 2011,  2 Tesco applications have been  turned down by their councils   in Great Shelford,  Cambridge,  and Tenbury Wells,Worcestershire.   Last year 28 Tesco applications including, Stoke on Trent, Oxford, Bristol, Hampshire, Brighton, Essex etc, have been turned down and in many cases when it has gone to appeal the government has backed the council. 

 Central Bedfordshire  Council have not decided,

Please write to them

 Please write in to  quoting  the application number CB/10/04238/FULL or write in to Mr C Murdoch, Central Bedfordshire Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, SG17 5TQ

More info on Tesco on More info on our campaign in Leighton Buzzard;  or Buzzard Books, Ryland Mews.


Please comment / let us know what you think by clicking the 'Facebook' link below

Or, click the email link below or the 'Contact Us' button on this website

Trouble with Tesco
We  say  that we need  a bigger range of  shops in   Leighton Buzzard   town centre such as M&S. I love LB did surveys in 2007  ( of 900 people)and in  2009 that showed that people  urgently want    a bigger range of  shops especially clothes shops.

We have a real chance of this happening  soon. Central Bedfordshire have drawn up plans for redeveloping the South Side of the High  Street  for  more shops   and have  been talking to shops such as Marks and Spencers.  These could really help the town:  or see the plans at the library.

Trouble with  Tesco
The    Tesco  expansion could  stop  the chance of good shops coming to LB..  Tesco  could really damage the town centre by  causing shops to close down and make it an unattractive place for shops such as Next and M&S to invest.

 Tesco  will give a wide range of items such as clothes,  electrical  goods etc, but it will not give any real choice in any of these and  especially with clothes it does not fulfil what  people want. Tesco admits in its application that  “ The Tesco (clothing) offer is more limited and is at the lower end rather than middle to high end fashion"


 Obviously MK has a huge range of shops and people will want  go there , but we need a “good-enough range” so that you can buy a smart  outfit  or childrens cloths  without having no option than to   make  the 25 mile trip to MK.

 If Tesco goes ahead  We risk  loosing many of our local shops,  loosing the chance of getting really good shops into the town centre and will end up with far less choice shopping in Leighton Buzzard a  dead town centre and very large travel costs as we will have to travel to Milton Keynes every time  we need DIY stuff or a smart outfit or many other things.

Destroying Leighton Buzzard Town Centre.

Tesco Expansion has  caused many high shops to close down in other towns

Inverness: 30 independent shops shut in two years with Tesco  expansion, 2006 Inverness traders association quoted by the Guardian,  four stores around the town


Fakenham:  33% increase in shop closures,5 of 18 convenience shops closed  ( includes bakers etc) 64%  of all previous traders closed. FromCheck Out, Chuck Out, Friends of the Earth 2006


Dumfrieslost 12 shops in 6 months after  Tesco opened.   Trade dropped by 24% for independents in competion with Tesco and 12% for chain stores each week.


 4 Asda in Dunstable!


Tesco does get refused- many times

Already   just this year 2011,  2 Tesco applications have been  turned down by their councils   in Great Shelford,  Cambridge,  and Tenbury Wells,Worcestershire.   Last year 28 Tesco applications including, Stoke on Trent, Oxford, Bristol, Hampshire, Brighton, Essex etc, have been turned down and in many cases when it has gone to appeal the government has backed the council.



·        Mannigtree turned down  because  the  design  was not good enough,  and impact on town centre shops.


·        St Albans turned down due to lack of need,  impact on the vitality and vibrancy of city centre, and traffic. 

·        Milngavie, Dorridge, Padiham, Lancashire, Louth Lincolnshire, Tavistock, Middlewhich Cheshire, Newcastle, Holmefirth were turned down due to negative impact on local shops.


·        Leighton Buzzard 2003 planned expansion into Comparison Goods  due  to  being  an out of town  supermarket and it would harm the vitality and viability of the town centre.



 The Retail planning forum (funded by supermarkets) actually suggest that 276 jobs are lost with the opening of a supermarket. Around £50,000 of  turnover is needed  for a member of staff for an independent shop  and £95,000  of turnover  for a member of staff for a supermarket.

Walmart  Watch says   for every 20 jobs created for a supermarket  30 jobs are lost in the area.



FSB says  50% of  the money taken in  independent shops and businesses is kept in the local community. According to  the New Economics Foundation,    Halfords, Boots and Argos have over 15% of  their turnover kept in Community, whereas  Tesco has only  8.3%. Most of this 8.3% comes from wages and rates. The big firms will usually  get a national firm in to do  repairs, refits etc whereas local shop will  usually use local business.—so local shops support local businesses.

The basic arguments against the Tesco extension and the better option of South Side and Smiths Meadow 2011


Tesco have stated that they want to demolish Homebase (because they own the land it is built on) increase the size of their store by 44% of gross space, about 2650 square metres of which 1525 square metres is for retail. Homebase are not sure what they are going to do, leave the area or look for new premises.


They wish to remodel the store. Put in some improvements such as rainwater harvesting and other environmental things. Remodel the delivery area and re locate a lot of the car parking. And increase the car parking by 34 places (possibly 32 they are not sure)


The main point in their S106 to help benefit the community is to re-landscape the area bordering Leighton road with trees and shrubs as public realm, with improvements with steps and seating. In addition set back from this on the canal bank a building, to be run by another company, either as a café or other items. This would be a large building with extensive seating and faces onto the canal.


Tesco’s main arguments are


1. The store is “overtrading” which means that against company average sales per square metre they are trading 78% above. This causes them problems in supplying the public, congestion and overcrowding. Overtrading is just set against convenience goods which are day to day essential purchases such as food, drink, newspapers and cigarettes as the main basis.


2. That according to this they need to expand to accommodate this “overtrading”


3. Also that they have seen in the local retail statistics gathered by  CBC, and confirmed by the Milton Keynes Borough survey, that over half of all comparison spend in LB goes to MK and another 10% to other centres. That is about £60 million. Comparison goods are primarily clothing, footwear, furniture, books, CD’s, DVD’s Jewellery. 90% of all clothing and footwear spend goes out of LB and the local area. Most goes to MK.


4. Therefore to accommodate this overtrading and to get back some of the comparison spend that goes to MK they propose that 511 square metres of the retail expansion will go for convenience goods and 1014 square metres will go to comparison goods, over and above what they have already. The amount of space they can go up to according to condition 13 in the original build they can go up to 30% of retail space for comparison, which is 1480 square metres (15,930 square feet or 1.5 times the size of Waitrose retail area, therefore that is the approximate size of the Tesco retail extension)


5. The ongoing figures that the retail study has come up with are an increase in the convenience area for the town of about 2,500 square metres by 2016 and between 6,900 and 9,400 square metres by 2016 for comparison goods (75,000 square feet or 10 times the size of 99p store ground floor area and 102,000 square feet or 10 times the size of Waitrose’s retail area) Bear in mind the whole of Waterbourne Walk retail space is 66,000 square feet you are looking at an area slightly bigger again for new space.


6. Tesco is looking a fifth of the convenience area and at least a sixth of the comparison area for their store for the increase by 2016.


7. Tesco state that about 400 square metres of the comparison space will be taken up by things that Homebase sell already – small electrical devices, kitchenware so only 600 square metres for “new comparison” goods.


8. That the extension will provide 140 jobs, 25:75 full to part time.


9. That traffic levels will not go up


10. The whole area will be re-landscaped and the building improved.


11. Their stated aim is to keep people shopping in town.


That is what Tesco are saying. It looks quite innocuous but it is not.


The main problem for LB is getting people into the town centre. The shops the community needs more than anything are clothing stores, especially for men and a range of them. The shortfall in clothing and footwear is about £30 million.


Tesco wish to extend their comparison goods ranges because

1) They make up to 5 times the profit on them than food.

2) It is the main growth area they have seeing as the convenience business is very tough

3) That they are getting into more diverse areas of retail. Jack of a lot of trades and masters of very few trades and creaming off the best of most of those.


That getting in now will increase their chances of success and make them out to be benefiting the town.


Arguments against


1. “Overtrading”. This is used by Tesco in a number of ways. To get more space and to argue that if they are not too well represented in an area that other stores overtrading is an excuse to put one of theirs in. Overtrading is an ambiguous term. On the figures in the area we could ask for and get a 2,500 square metre supermarket – Asda, Sainsbury and Co-op anyone? – On the same principle that Tesco use themselves.

However, in the same figures Waitrose are overtrading. Unlike Tesco who can remodel their store Waitrose have no room to maneuver. Their store has reached its capacity and they have as much right or even more right than Tesco to expand. If Waitrose move into a 2,000- 3,000 square metre store that will take care of most of the capacity for convenience goods.

Tesco in theory should have all the extension for food to accommodate the overtrading but they are not.


2. So as far as the convenience side is concerned they are not in a great position. They could take care of most of the overtrading by taking a lot of the comparison goods out.


3. As far as the comparison goods are concerned most, if not all, the comparison goods they want to sell will be sold in the Town Centre. Bearing in mind that the town is deficient in clothing and footwear that is the major area to address and would the clothes that Tesco sell actually make a difference to the town deficiency? Not by a long way.


4. Their main argument is that they can address some of the problems. However, their major setback is they are not in the town centre. In the Planning Inspectors on words “the stores location is out-of-centre rather than edge-of-centre as the store is 400 metres from the edge of the designated town centre (Dorvics) and over 600 metres from the High Street proper.


5. This is a major setback because Government Planning rules are that town centre areas are to be explored first for redevelopment/regeneration. Edges of town if there are no areas suitable are next and out of town centre and out of town are frowned upon and you need a very good argument to win that. LB has two areas South Side of the High Street and Smiths Meadow, both of which fit in with Government planning guidelines. Tesco have rejected these.


6. There is sufficient space on the South Side and Smiths meadow to accommodate the increase of both convenience and comparison goods by 2016. These fit the Government guidelines and would always get preferential treatment. The reasons are quite simple. The town centre area is usually well developed. The transport links are there. They are walkable, there is usually more choice and a town centre is more than retail it is the heart of the community with government offices, library, doctors and other health facilities. The approximate percentage of adults without their own transport in the UK is around 25% which LB is around 16%.


7. It is a fact that a study conducted by Somerfield in 1996 proved that the further out a supermarket it the less is spent in the town centre. This argument was used by the Planning Inspector where he argued, and it fitted the figures, that for every £ spent in Tesco about 10p was spent in the town centre. Waitrose, in the reasoning of the Planning inspector  that Waitrose which is in the town centre as well as Iceland, was more beneficial to the town with around 46p per £ spent in town. That several £ million more is spent by Waitrose and Iceland customers in the town than Tesco.


8. Therefore that was the reason the previous application was refused. That the position of Tesco was not good for the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre. The Planning Inspector thought that the extension then would be bad for the town centre.


9. This is the main reason a number of Tesco, and other supermarket, applications get rejected. That they are not in the town centre and the increase in space or a new supermarket would actually take enough away from the town centre shops to cause closures and loss of choice. Vibrancy and Vitality are key words. Other reasons are transport problems, the type of building does not fit in with the area or see no reason for another supermarket.


10. As for the jobs figure involved, 140, it is in the ratio of 3:1 part-time to full time. 105:35 or about 87 full time equivalents. First observation is what are they all going to do? Will there be more skilled jobs, senior positions?  140 is a big leap from 100 originally quoted. For the size of the extension it seems far too large a figure as it is less than the Homebase site they are clearing and they have between 35-45 staff there and these people do similar jobs to their Tesco counterparts. .


11. The Homebase staff, if they want, will be interviewed by Tesco. Otherwise about 40 people will go from there.


12. It is a proven fact from academic studies in the US that for every 20 new starts in a supermarket 30 jobs go elsewhere in the area. A retail study, funded by the Supermarkets, showed that for every new supermarket there was a net job loss of 276 in the area. Depending how you look at it there will be a net loss of jobs as shops in the town centre cut back on staff or close and supporting businesses, accountants, book-keepers, window cleaners, cleaners lose staff or accounts. Even the banks will be hit.  


13. The café building they wish to build but be run by another company could also have an effect on the town. Depending what it is it will take away trade from the town centre. If it is a fast food business then a number of smaller independent businesses, especially in Linslade, will be hit. Again that would be a net loss of jobs.


14. Transport links are an important part of this. The traffic surveys one Friday 5 pm to 6pm and a Saturday 12 -1pm are inadequate to make any sense of what traffic there is. Tesco backtracked on the road layout due to Council opposition; they wanted to change it. Tesco claim that with Homebase gone the traffic would be no different than now. They do not include any traffic for the café/kiosk which could have implications. Traffic and noise is a particular problem for the residents of Vimy Road and quite probably residents of nearby houses and the people who use the canal who moor up next to and near Tesco.


Argument  for other retail in LB


1. 60% of all disposable income in LB-L goes out of the town. Most of that goes to MK.


2. Over 90% of all clothing and footwear disposable income goes out of town, again mainly to MK.


3. Top of the list of types of shops LB is lacking with the population is clothing shops, especially for men.

4.  The main argument for redevelopment to the South Side of the High Street is this. To attract people who live in the area use the town centre more you need a draw. The type of shop that the town is lacking is clothing. A premier national brand would be ideal and several would be great. The clothing market potential of LB and area is quite large and the main reason people go out of town is because the choice of clothing stores is in quality mainly quite high, but in breadth and quantity it is not good. Get people into the town to these types of shops and every other shop benefits.


5. If there is retail development on the South Side it will create jobs for a start. The benefits of new retail that complements and improves the shopping offer of LB will bring in more people and keeps them in the town, which in turn could lead to a rise in employment if other shops, chain and independent do well they may need more staff. There will be a net gain of jobs and opportunities for local people.


6. Contrary to belief the addition of new stores, especially if they actual improve the breadth of offer, will not have a negative effect on the existing stores. The example for Leighton is the introduction of Costa Coffee. The feeling was that various cafes would go, which has not been the case at all. Subway coming in had the feeling that several sandwich bars would go. Not the case. They have had an effect for sure but the town has benefitted by it. One reason why they haven’t had a devastating effect is that they are in the town centre – people have a choice.


7. The new retail offer will give the town an opportunity to attract others from other towns, especially MK. LB has a lot to offer but we do not shout about it.


8. From an environmental point of view the improvement of the town centre will reduce down the journeys made to MK. MK is a regional shopping centre and we cannot compete against that, nor do we want to. However, for all people of this area it would be beneficial to have a better shopping offer as a short car journey and a couple of hours in LB will be better than a 25 mile round trip to MK, costing £’s in petrol, car parking charges and wear and tear on the vehicle. Or for those with no car a much wider choice of shops to go to.


9. A larger Waitrose and possible other stores would benefit the town centre shops as an improved larger Waitrose would bring in more revenue for other shops.

What do we need to do.


We need to go through the paperwork that Tesco have compiled for this application and need to reply to most of the sections. The St Albans group in opposition to Tesco went through all the figures and assumptions Tesco had and ripped it to shreds by using the same figures or querying any assumptions Tesco made. They paid attention to detail and the bits that Tesco missed out.


The Planning and Retail assessment – Colin is doing.

Design and Access

Travel Plan

Transport Assessment


Ecological appraisal

Noise assessment

Environmental Sustainability

Flood Risk.


We need people who understand what is in these documents. We need data to go against what Tesco are saying.

To get a better effect with CBC Planning it maybe better to send in each section separately, not compiling it altogether and sending it in as one thing.

Need a planned press campaign


Need to get a banner up by Dorvics

Need to have a public meeting – preferably just before the Public Presentation given by Grimley’s on behalf of CBC for South Side and Smiths Meadow

Encourage public to write in to planning


Manningtree Essex tips to beat Tesco.


Get name of group right

Get skill sets – lawyers, planners, marketing and others to do leg work

Directors of group to co-ordinate the whole package

Collect name and addresses, postal and electronic from all interested parties and get a website

Be prepared for people who want the proposal being backed by Tesco to write letters etc.

Write regular pieces for the local press and keep in the public eye

Dealing with Councillors – be aware who is on the planning committees and who is not. And which councillors, if they are not on the committee, are behind you as they maybe able to speak and speak longer than you can.

Keep people informed

Marketing and PR are important. Track everything that they do and get ahead of the game. If possible create a stunt to illustrate your point. One town made a human chain the size of the development to give people a better perspective. Hadleigh caused gridlock with cars to illustrate their point of traffic problems if Tesco came in.

Spend any money wisely.


Produce a “recently Refused Decisions” document highlighting supermarket planning applications that got turned down and the reasons why. Then send it to every councillor before any planning hearing and get as many supporters to the planning meeting

Lobby the local MP

There are possibly more in this but the brain has gone.

Need bodies.

Need researchers.


Colin Ashby

Buzzard Books & I Love LB



















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