Tesco and Robin Hood – Rob from the poor to give to the rich

Tales of Tesco Hood
Tales of Tesco Hood

I have written before about empty shops in cities and what I believe is the solution. Flexible rents for start-ups and some understanding in the payment of business rates. The latest move reported by the BBC that Tesco were to take over the former Tales Of Robin Hood site in Nottingham, proves it’s still not being addressed in any effective way.

As one of those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of the presentation from the Bass Museum team who did have plans for the site, this is a real shame, but no real surprise. That proposal was so flawed as to be embarrassing.

So why would Tesco move in and not look for longer to find a decent alternative tenant?

Let’s say that the rent on the site would be £100k per annum and as we know, Tesco own the head lease. After six months empty, they will have to pay a full business rate, which adds another £41.5k to their bill. So, for them to leave it empty, costs them £141.5k per year. Therefore, as long as they lose LESS than that as a Tesco Express store, then it’s worth them opening it.

In effect they are being incentivised by the system to open up all over the place.

Surely it would be better for the long term good of the city to have some retail diversity?

Or maybe a Robin Hood attraction, or even a permanent exhibition.

Let’s set the Sheriff of Nottingham on ’em.

Thanks to the somewhat out of date Nottingham Tourist Guide for the image.

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6 thoughts on “Tesco and Robin Hood – Rob from the poor to give to the rich

  1. I was walking past the Tales the other day, and the way the grotesque mannequins were leering out of the window almost resembled a desperate boat crew trying to escape a big wave. Too late, it seems!
    We come back to the two big questions which appear to dominate the city’s development at the moment: what can it do about Tesco, when will it do something with Robin Hood?
    I’m not sure it can (or even should) do anything about Tesco. The real question is what could it/should it have done before Tesco came along? Similarly, the city plainly has no money to do anything with Robin Hood – witness the part closure of Newstead. Now there’s an evil thought: may be it should offer Newstead up for sale with permission to redevelop it into a leisure attraction (ducks for cover)

    1. I’m not anti-Tesco and do shop there myself. My big issue is that Tesco as a business have been left with little choice but to occupy the site themselves or otherwise hand it over to a charity shop and pay them half the rates to occupy the space. That can’t be right can it?

      Maybe they should offer Newstead Abbey to Tesco?

      (Ducks even further for cover)

  2. Have been banging on about Robin Hood being under-utilised for years. Get Disney on board to develop a Robin Hood theme park around the castle, covering the existing gatehouse with a traditional looking castle surround.

    They did an animated Robin Hood back in the early 70’s so it’s not a new theme for them.

    1. Whilst I hear your point about Disney, I personally think that the last thing we need is a great big theme park in the city centre swamping the Castle. We do however need to make sure that when we do attract the right operator into the site, we create a visitor attraction that is appropriate and even more importantly, World Class – As Robin Hood deserves.

  3. John, a couple of points:

    1. empty property is not just about rent and rates. Tenants have security costs too – complying with Insurers requirements for vacant property can be very onerous – including weekly inspections! Empty property tends to get cold and damp and fall into disrepair quicker than one occupied so the cost of maintenance must also be factored in.
    2. Not sure that we need or want Disney Spike. We went to a great deal of trouble and effort to find out what a World Class Attraction looks like – but more importantly what would ‘fit’ Nottingham. I don’t think Nottingham is ready for a theme park! What we need is urban entertainment – education, action, entertainment, food and drink – for both kids and adults alike. Plimouth Plantation near Boston in the US was a really great example of the sort of thing that can be done. And the Experience Music Project and Sci-Fi museum in Seattle were at the forefront of technology in entertainment. We also have to respect (whether we like it or not) that the Castle is Grade I listed – the highest listing you get! English Heritage will have kittens if Donald Duck turns up!
    3. This location on MMW was not the best location – we have a castle and should use it as best we can – given the restrictions mentioned above. Any attraction should be Castle Centric in my view…

    1. Tim. I hadn’t thought about the extra insurance and repair costs, but I can see how that would impact. Again, probably making life even easier for Tesco to come in and fill the space they hold the lease for anyway.

      On points 2 and 3. I agree with you 100%. We don’t need a (bloody massive) fairground in the city.

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