We need a supermarket choice

Jempsons, Rye

Dear Sir
Can someone please explain to me why another supermarket in the Rye environs keeps being thwarted at the planning stage?

Our one and only large one has a monopoly and folk have very little choice except for the market on Thursdays and a couple of excellent smaller shops like Salts Farm shop and The Deli.

I personally would like a choice of produce and brands and also be able to pop in on a Sunday if I needed to.

Carol Macdonald

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. One must agree with Carol McDonald, competition is healthy for everyone,sadly there is very little in the town, regarding shopping and fuel, nowonder so many shop online,or out of town.

  2. Yes, Carol – it can be partly explained. Tescos, Sainsburys and I believe Jempsons have all acted to prevent competition by buying up properties that would affect access to potential sites. According to Col Kimber from the Rye Neighbourhood plan team no supermarket currently has any interest in setting up in Rye except for a very low level interest from Lidl, market research suggests there is not enough demand to make it viable. Rother District Council had assessed that a second supermarket was needed but I believe that may have been re-assessed. By the way, I completely agree with you, perhaps things will improve now Jempsons are stocking Co-Op products

  3. I stopped shopping in Jempsons when they started charging for parking. It was no loss to me as I find them overpriced anyway with produce left out for sale way past it’s best.

    I still fondly remember the original Jempsons in Peasmarsh which was a wonderful shop full of fresh produce reasonably priced. It sold unusual food items as well, now sadly replaced with unhealthy packaged processed muck. A second choice of supermarket for consumers would be wonderful.

  4. I would also like to add that in addition to the shops Carol has mentioned, we also have a very good green grocer who also opens on Sunday mornings, Williams and Sons at 46 Cinque Port Street. Likewise, The Lazy Baker operating from The Whitehouse on the High Street offers freshly made bread daily (some of the best in the county). Costcutter’s had been planning a major expansion but that seems to have been out off. All in all, I am not sure we need a second supermarket. Many are dissatisfied with Jempson’s and I would mostly agree they are overpriced and offer less of a selection than Sainsbury’s or Waitrose (or Tesco for that matter) but it does not seem to me that there is enough year round business to make a second supermarket viable. I would also be concerned it would have a negative effect on some of the smaller shops.

  5. First it should be said that the Neighbourhood Plan reflects the view of many in the Community – but certainly not all – that a second supermarket/food outlet (with or without a petrol station) is desirable to provide competition, longer opening hours and choice. I am not sure that it is correct to use the term “thwarted” because market forces have prevailed. Although there have been much earlier proposals, in recent years, both Tesco and Sainsburys competed for the Lower School Site but both withdrew because of planning and commercial issues and a change of policy towards smaller convenience stores. Simon Parsons is correct is saying that no other retailer, except BP with the prospect of a food outlet partner, has shown recent interest in coming to Rye. The Plan as written reflects all this and much more, including the identification of a site should a retailer show interest in the future. When considering existing general food outlets, Jempsons and Costcutters, do include the convenience stores on Tilling Green, which provide an excellent service to those, mostly in the West of Rye.

    For RNPSG

  6. As Simon said, there simply isn’t the demand for a second supermarket in a very small town like Rye. If you want a choice of supermarkets there are nearby towns you could move to. Why live in a pretty rural town like Rye and then expect it to have multiple supermarkets? It’s pretty astonishing that in such a small town we have a large, recently modernised supermarket with ample parking, located close to the centre of town, with an emphasis on local produce to boot.

    And if you don’t like the Sunday closing, you’ve said yourself that the deli and Salts Farm shop are open. So are the Costcutter and Tilling Green convenience stores, and the Winchelsea Beach Co-op. If you’re able to use the internet to complain, you’re also able to use it to shop online at any of the large chains or online specialists–what you save in time, petrol, and lack of impulse buys will more than make up for the modest delivery fees, and delivery times run from early in the morning to late at night (including Sundays).

    As for the choice of brands, Jempsons has a selection of the major ones. Any large chain supermarket would stock overwhelmingly its own brands, especially the low-cost ones like Aldi and Lidl–and then Rye residents would be complaining because their favourite brand was a different one they couldn’t get at the chain store. How about counting our blessings for a change?

  7. Also agree with you carol but like to add a few other things that were missing in Rye,firstly eating and drinking in rye now is very costly in our pubs and restaurants.seconly highest petrol prices for miles.
    Thirdly our supermarket prices is also one of the dearest along the south coasts,and of course as everybody knows we have no other in rye especially on a Sunday I really feel sorry for the young families in Rye.
    It no wonder these young couples I see when I’m shopping are in other supermarkets rather than shop in Rye.
    Fourthly as for banks in rye I don’t think I will raise this matter as we all know about waiting and queuing up in the one and only building society that opens every day the other 4 banks are either closed or part time
    With the closure of the British legion many years ago then the Brewers Yard club closed and sold on,just lately Club Horizon Discotheque and the Granary club all gone
    I suppose its the sign of the times
    So really we haven’t got a lot choice unless we move out of Rye
    Sad really

  8. Jempsons subject was in the Rye news a couple of years ago, at the time I suggested folk should get on the 100 bus to Ore & shop in Aldi’s, staying on the bus a little longer will take you to Lidl where at either shop you will save yourselves pounds. (door to door service).

    • According to the Stagecoach website the cheapest return bus ticket from Rye to Ore would be the Dayrider ticket at £7.00. You obviously need to set that against your savings.

  9. Living in Rye 60 years ago was a very different experience, my mum shopped almost exclusively up the town, the choice of shops was comprehensive with no need to go anywhere else.
    One thing to note was that my parents like the majority in Rye were working class, prices had to reflect that.
    A trip to Hastings was a rare treat and usually meant a visit to Wards for school uniforms followed by lunch in Demarco’s
    These days shops in Rye do appear to cater for the higher earners and those who have retired to Rye having bought homes here.
    I could be completely wrong of course but I doubt it.
    Could Rye support two super markets?
    Tenterden and Hawkhurst have two, Jempsons had a shop in Hawkhurst, maybe they don’t like competition?


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