It is extremely interesting to note that it is one of our more attractive towns that is the scene of the latest battle for market share between three of the large supermarket companies (The Grocer, 26 August, p10).

Alnwick is already cited as a place that people want to live in, despite its inade­quate shopping and parking facilities. There is clearly local demand for another supermarket, supported by a petition, and attempts have been made to build a new supermarket for the past ten years.

At last the time appears to have come to provide Alnwick with suitable supermarket facilities and increased parking for shoppers.

However, there is a fear in some quarters that a new supermarket could damage the existing traders within the town, and I sincerely trust that the council will have this consideration firmly in its mind during its deliberations. But that said, this situation is a great opportunity to consider the shoppers' other current demand, namely for locally sourced and identifiable produce. The large disparity between the numbers of consumers who say they want to buy local and those who actually do is often attributed to the considerable difficulty in locating local produce.

Some supermarkets are, in fact, already addressing this demand, and there is no particular reason why the supply of local produce cannot be worked into a proposal for Alnwick.

In fact, Alnwick's unique character has been forged, at least in part, by the land around it, as well as by the livestock and crops produced there.

By all means allow the inhabitants of the area to benefit from greater choice, but surely this should include the provision of local produce. This would definitely benefit the consumers, both residents and tourists, and the local economy.

Not only that, but it would also serve to reinforce the identity of Alnwick and its hinterland, and to prevent it from becoming just 'Anytown'.