All night vigil against Tesco plans was in vain

Ian Joule during his No to Tesco vigil on the Square in Market Harborough
Ian Joule during his No to Tesco vigil on the Square in Market Harborough

A peaceful protest where a pillar of the Harborough community took on a nightly vigil to bring to attention a meeting to decide the future of the planned Tesco site has been in vain.

Ian Joule, of Joule’s Yard and Eating House, off High Street, sat out all night in The Square answering people’s questions and informing them about Tesco’s plans to build a large store at the former site of Focus in St Mary’ Road on Monday.

His protest however was in vain. It was decided at a planning meeting of Harborough District Council last night that despite seven speakers formally objecting to the plan, the plans for the supermarket giant were approved.

Ian Joule also spoke at the meeting where he voiced his own concerns, and the concerns of independent shop owners and other supermarkets to who he had spoken, about the negative impact that the coming of the supermarket could have on the vibrancy of the town centre.

During his vigil which began on Monday evening and finished the next day at 8am, Mr Joule was brought cups of tea by well wishers.

Mr Joule said: “The article in The Mail and in the Leicester Mercury prompted me to take this action that nearly killed me.

“Initially I was going to do a hunger strike, but I was talked out of that.

“I wanted to bring to people’s attention about the meeting. My team put leaflets through the doors of shops in the town to notify them about the meeting and I spoke to the supermarkets that were going to be effected.”

Mr Joule said that he sat out with his dog Millie and that despite the cold he had a wonderful night where he was able to answer people’s questions about Tesco and inform those who were unaware of the Tesco plan about it.

At one stage, Mr Joule said that a group of students from Robert Smyth gathered around him and that each of them took an anti Tesco T-shirt to wear.

More than 50 people came to see Mr Joule during the night and he said that only one of them was in favour of the plan.