8th January 2015

As you have probably heard, Tesco today confirmed that it no longer intends to build a store in Manningtree. It confirmed this in a letter to Tendring District Council. Of course, this is fantastic news for the communities of Manningtree, Lawford and Mistley and it would not have happened without all of your hard work and support. Let’s not forget that Tesco shelved its initial plans for a much larger store due to your opposition and maybe this was ultimately the reason for today’s decision, because it meant they would not be able to make enough money from the store they eventually got planning permission for.

Whilst we may have won the battle, the war is not over. We still want a bright future for our community and the Station Road site still sits as an eyesore on the entrance to Manningtree. Tesco still owns the land and it is not known whether they will look to sell it. It is our view that the land has limited potential for alternative uses – housing is unlikely to get permission because of the flood risk and commercial operators have shown little interest in the site for a number of years. So this potentially presents a real opportunity for us to see some or all of the site given over to community uses. What these could be we don’t know but what we do know is that the community should be the ones that influence this. Maybe, just maybe, with enough support behind us, we can exert enough influence over the owners to see change on that site that would have seemed unimaginable just a few months ago.

Stour Community First was an organisation born out of a cause that it believed in relating to the Tesco proposals. But it has always been an organisation with the best interests of the community at heart. If we are to continue in this role then we need to come together to see if we can effect positive change on the Station Road site. It won’t be easy but who would have though just a few short years ago that Tesco would be pulling out from the site? As we sit here today this represents a major opportunity for us all and we hope that you will continue to work with us to secure a positive future for Manningtree, Lawford and Mistley.

Stour Community First therefore needs to re-group and come together with fresh energy to drive this forward. As such, any additional help that people would like to give, be it ideas or time, would be gratefully received.

Thank you




Saturday 7th April 2012 is the date for the first SCF Easter Treasure Hunt. The treasure hunt will take teams around Manningtree, looking to solve clues and win the big prize. So if you fancy an afternoon of fun, get some exercise and maybe the chance to learn a few things about Manningtree, then get a team together. Teams can be of any size and any age although children under 16 will need to be supervised by an adult.  

To help us with our planning, we really would like as many team as possible to sign up in advance. The entry form can be downloaded here or can be picked up from the Wholefood Shop in Manningtree High Street. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly who is going to be in your team at the moment – we simply want to know that you wish to enter. Once you have filled in your form and got the entry fee ready (or the fee for as many team members that you have signed up to date), you can either give it in at the Wholefood Shop, or send it to either of the following addresses:

-       Stour Community First, c/o 20 Lushington Road, Manningtree, Essex, CO11 1EF

-       Stour Community First, c/o 19 Stourdale Close, Lawford, Essex, CO11 2HY

The entry fee is £5 per person and includes refreshment (tea/coffee and cakes) at Café Rio after the event.

 The event will start at 2pm and finish by 5pm. Please can teams assemble in Manningtree market place by 1.45pm.

 We hope the event will be a lot of fun but we need your support. So sign up today!

Click the arrow to download an entry form       







Dear SCF Supporter,

Many of you will have heard the news that the Tesco plans were approved by the Tendring District Council Planning Committee last night. We are obviously devastated by the news. Not only did 5 members of the committee vote in favour of the plans, with 2 against, but most surprising was that there were 4 abstentions. To abstain from giving a view on such an important issue is unacceptable and we will be making the group's views known to Bernard Jenkin, our MP, to Tendring DC and to the Planning Committee directly.

Thank you to everybody who has supported our fight over the last 4 years. We were born out of the community's wish to fight these plans and we hope that you feel that we have given everything that we can.

So what does this mean now for Stour Community First? Well, we have always said that we are a group that is not just 'anti-Tesco' but totally 'pro-community'. We will go away and over the coming months and think about what we can do to continue to support our community and help it to thrive, even in the face of the new Tesco that will be built. So we urge you to continue to support us and your community. If we do not, then our worst fears about the impact that the Tesco could have are more likely to come true:

- Support your local shops on the High Street - you will be supporting a long chain of local suppliers too

- Don't shop in the new Tesco store - it may only be a small gesture, but each of us can make that gesture

- Once the store is built, tell us about any bad practices you see Tesco undertaking. Tesco are notorious for it and we are not going to let them get away with it

- Get involved in the various community activities that SCF and other groups are organising

In short, divert your passion in fighting the Tesco proposals towards supporting Manningtree, Mistley and Lawford. Ironically, now that the store will be built, we would love nothing more than to be proven wrong; we want Manningtree's High Street to thrive and our local businesses to prosper. But wouldn't it be good if we could say that this was because the local community supported them and not simply because a big supermarket happened to bring people into town (which we don't believe happens anyway).

So look out for our emails in the near future which will tell you more about what we are going to be doing. Stour Community First is proud of our community and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that it maintains in vibrancy, heritage and tradition in the face of all the challenges in front of it. But we need your help to do it, now more than ever.


Stour Community First


Here is an interesting article in the Guardian about the future of the British high street


12th. Feb. 2011

Dear SCF Supporters

Many thanks to those of you who have already sent in letters of objection.

But... we need more!

To make things easier for you (as we know that some of you simply
haven't got time to compose your own letters) we have now put together a
sample letter which you can either just cut and paste and send or which
you can use as a basis for your own letter. We would prefer you to do
the latter (as we don't want TDC to receive lots of objections all
saying exactly the same thing), but if cutting and pasting is all you
have time for then that's absolutely fine. While quality does count this
is, literally, a case of "the more the merrier" - so please get your
friends and family to object as well!

Just to remind you... you can either submit your objection by post (to
the address below), or online at


Click Here for our sample letter:

More news here:
Latest up-date 9th. Feb. 2011

Nothing has changed our complete agreement with the local councillors who resoundingly rejected the original proposals back in early May 2010. But the company is relentless in it’s pursuit of profit and market share. They don’t care about the negative impact on our High Street, increased traffic congestion or the net loss of local jobs and the likely closure of our existing CO-OP along with its Post Office.

We need your help once more because a new application means that completely new representations to the Planning office have to be made.
The plans will probably come before the planning committee in late February.
You can re-submit your original objection with a covering letter indicating that none of your previous concerns are resolved by the new proposals, or you can send in something new.

We (SCF) will be organising a petition to indicate the level of opposition to the proposals, but this should not deter you from voicing your own personal concerns directly to those who will have the final say




Tendring District Council would like to extend the boundary of Manningtree further West to take in the Tesco site. This would be bad because then Tesco could claim that they would not be an edge-of-town site, but a town-centre site. This could help them to get planning permission (I get the impression that TDC wants Tesco!).

Please see letter from our Chairman for further details, and what we would like you to do.

19th. Nov.. 2010

H&M Standard are running their own 'telephone poll' to gauge public opinion about the store - voting
'YES'    0901260
'NO'     0901261
Don’t know 0901262
Calls are charged at 25p per call. This is obviously not a scientific poll, but it wouldn’t hurt to vote no. Poll ends on Tuesday 23rd. Nov.




17th. October 2010. Of course we didn’t expect Tesco to go away. The fight has to go on. Here is a letter from our Chairman to keep you up to date with what is happening


Tendring District Council vote resoundingly to reject Tesco’s application to build a super store in our town. For details see letter from our Chairman, Michael Coultharde-Steer. (12th. May 2010)

Thanks to all the supporters of Stour Community First. The turnout at the Tendring District Council offices before the meeting was really impressive and may well have influenced the outcome

Bernard Jenkin, M.P. calls for a public enquiry. This is the text of a letter dated 11th. May 2010.

Dear Mr Coultharde-Steer

As I said to you in my previous email, I have become increasingly persuaded of the need for this application to go to a public inquiry and committed to write to the Secretary of State to press him to “call in” the application. I have now written to the Director of the Government Office for the East of England calling for a full public inquiry and, as soon as a new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is in place, I will write to him or her along the same lines. I have enclosed a copy of my letter to the Director.

Yours sincerely

Bernard Jenkin MP

Manningtree Council are firmly against the proposed Tesco superstore, and have produced an excellent document giving their reasons. You can see a PDF of their letter by clicking on this arrow (it may take a bit of time to come up!

How supermarkets can cut 'thousands of prices' but your bills may go up Stores accused of being 'cynical and aggressive'
Grocers say increases followed earlier offers

  • Some of you will share our concern that Tendring Council has been having “secret” talks with Tesco. We are taking this very seriously and are following it up with a request for details under the Freedom of Information Act. But no answers so far!

Here is some good news.
Two of our complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority have been up-held.
“Tesco found guilty of of using bogus statistics to convince town (Manningtree) it needed a supermarket” says Mail Online. Read more
See also in The Standard “Manningtree: Tesco slapped on wrist over "misleading" claims
More details are given on the ASA web site.
Only 38 out of 440 people (8.6%) in their telephone survey wanted a new supermarket and only 20 of these wanted a Tesco. Tesco used these figures to imply that there is a strong need for their new supermarket in our town.
See also encouraging email from George Monbiot saying that many groups have been successful in opposing Tesco.

21st. July 2009. Stour Community First and Transition Valley join to help re-vitalise our community. Click arrow for details

An aerial view of the proposed site Tesco is given below
The documents relating to the Manningtree Tesco application, including objection letters, are on on the Council web site. For more details click here

A Tesco store kills a small town. See letter from Nigel Dowdney about Stalham in Norfolk. Click here


Manningtree is England’s smallest town situated on the Essex-Suffolk border on the banks of the river Stour. The villages of Lawford and Mistley have have merged with it to make a small vibrant community.

Our narrow high street with several small shops including a health food store, a couple of bakers, a delicatessen, a farm shop, a chemist, a hardware shop, several clothes shops and more. It also has services such as doctors and dentists, opticians and a post-office situated in a moderate sized Coop store. There are good bus services to Colchester and Harwich and other parts of Essex, with fast trains to London.

Please help us to preserve our town!


From bank overlooking Coop carpark

View from The Walls

South Street

Wherry Corner

High Street Cafe

Waiting for the tide

Saturday market

High street looking East

Station Road looking West










An aerial view of the proposed Tesco site

Original by Michael Collins
If councillors ignore their own Adopted Local Plan and approve this proposal,
visitors may well ask “Where will we find the High Street? - the answer...
“It used to be between the Tesco Superstore and Tesco Express”.
This small historic town deserves better.

The proposed site is equivalent in size to 10% of the parish of Manningtree.

Retain employment land and SAY NO to a retail; development that the local plan says is not needed!

















       Stour Community First

Contact us
0844 585 2049 


   Fighting to preserve our community