In a modern day David and Goliath story, the tiny village of Herne in Kent has triumphed against the mighty Tesco and saved their beloved pub, the ‘Upper Red Lion’.
The story began when the recently closed pub, situated next to the historic 14th century St Martin’s Church, came to be in the cross hairs of supermarket supercompany Tesco. The villagers of the tiny settlement, attached to the larger Herne Bay on the Kent coast, were appalled at the plans and united against the common threat.
Their particular concerns were for the century old shop across the road, which would likely have been forced out of business, and for the historic church, whose 130 wedding bookings a year would also no doubt be greatly diminished if nuptials had to be conducted with a bright blue Tesco neon light shining from up high
Soon after word of the plans leaked into the public domain, the villagers called an emergency meeting. Turnout was so high they couldn’t all fit into the parish hall, so the conglomeration had to be shifted to the church. Vows were made to fight the encroachment of the multinational in any way possible and ‘Herne Against Tesco’ (HAT) was formed.
The enterprising residents utilised the planning system to their best advantage, succeeding in having the pub listed and disrupting any possible plans for significant alterations. Then, in the pouring rain, the men, women and children of Herne, some 700 people, marched through the village in a unified display of protest.
Just five days later, all plans for Tesco to develop the site were dropped in an act that is being hailed as a triumph for the little people and a new precedent in resistance for villages everywhere.