Sir; The news that Tesco has been awarded planning permission for its hypermarket on the outskirts of Dublin is very sad, despite the brave words from RGDATA's director general Ailish Forde (The Grocer, May 11). When I heard of the Irish government's decision to limit the size of superstores I thought it was a great idea, and although it would be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, I hoped one day such a rule might be brought in on this side of the Irish sea. Massive out-of-town stores have destroyed the fabric of our society, ruthlessly driving many independent retailers out of business and leaving many villages and urban districts without any shops at all, and causing immense difficulties for those who do not possess a car. I had hoped the Irish regulation might help to protect independent retailers but Tesco has proved that where there's a will ­ and almost limitless money ­ there is a way. Such a huge store will take business away from smaller food stores, but its non-food element will also take away custom from all the other stores that help to draw customers into towns and villages. This will cause a steady spiral of decline as each shop closes and more and more customers defect to the hypermarket. Michael Smith Balham {{LETTERS }}

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