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Supermarket bans paper in planning row

Furious bosses at a Derbyshire supermarket removed copies of a local newspaper from its shelves following the publication of a story they felt reflected badly on their company.

Management at Safeway in Buxton took the decision to ban that week’s edition of the Buxton Advertiser when the paper’s front page story featured a local councillor criticising the store.

Councillor John Wilson, of High Peak borough council, argued that the shop was wrong to erect advertising banners before a planning application had been heard. The application was subsequently refused.

As the story was published, shop bosses decided to withdraw the paper from sale and the extra copies were sent to a Safeway store in nearby Chapel-en-le-Frith instead.

A Safeway spokesman said that removing the papers had been an exceptional move, adding: “We were very disappointed that we were not given the opportunity to comment.”

But Councillor Wilson said: “As for taking the Advertiser off sale, I couldn’t believe it when I was told about it.

“That is arrogant, undemocratic, uncaring and ignoring the community.”

Parliamentary candidates for the area were quick to add their voices to the row.

High Peak Conservative candidate Simon Chapman said: “It will be an awful pity if Safeway showed that its response to public criticism is to stop selling a much-loved local newspaper. It seems a disproportionate reaction.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Peter Ashenden said: “I think that if they have broken planning restriction then they should face up to it. They should not take it out on the messenger.”

Labour candidate Tom Levitt said: “This is a matter between Safeway and High Peak Borough, but I think withdrawing the newspaper from sale was not the right thing to do.”

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