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Tesco Responds After New Safety Barrier Blocks Santa’s Weekend Visit

The Gillingham, Mere and Shaftesbury Lions have had to cancel their 3-day Santa visit to Tesco this weekend.

The volunteers have been unable to move their sleigh onto the area outside the shop because of a six-foot-high metal fence installed by the supermarket yesterday.

The barrier follows the perimeter of the service road, making it impossible to walk or drive from that road onto the storefront area. Tesco says they fenced off the service road and blocked the path to the new Lidl store for safety reasons, to stop people crossing the service road. But many residents have posted on social media to allege that the barricade was installed to make it harder for shoppers to walk to Tesco’s rival next door.

The new fence at Tesco.

During Tuesday’s Shaftesbury Town Council meeting, Cllr Piers Brown described a previous move to block the path as ‘petty’. Cllr Virginia Edwyn-Jones pointed out there had been a pedestrian crossing on the service road, just a few feet away from where the new barrier had been positioned.

Tesco’s Wales and West of England corporate affairs press officer says they were able to accommodate the Lions at the usual site outside the store. And their statement says that Tesco staff are disappointed that the Lions won’t be attending this weekend. Tesco says the safety fencing has been put in to prevent the risk of a serious accident but doesn’t prevent entry for the trailer. And they add that the manager spoke to the Lions to arrange access.

But Paul Smith of the Lions says that’s not what happened. The local store manager was very helpful, but unable to assist.

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