by Thom Morris
A family-run building firm is closing down after 25 years.
Meopham Building Supplies, in The Parade, Wrotham Road, Meopham, received planning permission in January to raise the height of the roof of the warehouse in the rear part of the building to allow the extension to be used for retail.
At the time, owner Jaswinder Heire said the reason was to “increase our turnover by increasing our retail floor area”.
Meopham Parish Council did not object to the plans and wrote in support of the idea.
But just weeks later, the firm is to cease trading.
In a statement on the shop door, Mr Heire states: “After over 25 years of trading we have decided to move on to pastures new. We would like to thank you all for your custom over the years and the friendship we have formed.
“The decision to cease trading was not taken lightly, but after much deliberation between the partners, it was agreed this decision would be in our best long-term interests.”
However, rumour quickly spread through the village that Tesco would be moving in – further fuelled by a comment on Facebook from the company.
Tesco stated: “Before starting any planning or building works for a new store, we fully research the area and meet with the local council.
"This is to discuss the advantages it would bring to the area.
“Please let me reassure you that we’d only consider opening a store in a particular area, if we believed it would benefit the local community."
The Messenger contacted Tesco but still has not received a reply.
January’s planning approval would mean Tesco, or any supermarket, would be able to move in without any further permission being required.
Gravesham Rural Residents’ Group says it is against any plans for a new supermarket with many members voicing concerns for local businesses and increased traffic.
Bryan Sweetland, KCC councillor for Gravesham Rural, said: “The location is totally unsuitable and the Meopham Parade already has two small supermarkets.
“There would undoubtedly be a significant increase in parking and unless there are plans to provide a considerable level of additional parking, I believe that there would be total chaos along the parade and a considerable increase in the hazard level at the adjoining junction between the Wrotham Road and the Longfield Hill junction.”