Tom Conti has said it is 'horrifying' that a Tesco store could open near his £17.5m home
The 75-year-old Scottish actor – famous for his portrayal of Costas Caldes in hit 1989 movie Shirley Valentine – said he was fuming that his favourite Budgens store in Belsize Park in north London could be turned into a Tesco.
He says he loves his local Budgens, saying it has a great selection of fruit and veg, many of it sourced from local suppliers.
The film star, along with 2,000 other locals – including Emma Thompson and Janet Suzman – successfully fought a bid to open a Tesco in the area in 2015.
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Speaking out this week, after bosses at Tesco announced it's £3.7bn takeover of Booker – which owns Budgens across the UK – the movie star said he was “horrified” the shop could become a Tesco.
It is horrifying news. It's terrible pay back after our campaign
Tom Conti – Actor
The actor, who lives in a £17.5m six-bedroom mansion in nearby Hampstead – about a mile from the store – said: "It is horrifying news. It's terrible pay back after our campaign.
"The fear is that Tesco will reduce the quality of the food and raise the prices. Budgens in Belsize Park is known for its high quality and great range of food."
Andrew Thornton, the owner of the Budgens store in Belsize Park, said he was “shocked” at the deal between Tesco and Booker, adding: "I am shocked to find this out as historically Tesco have hardly been a friend to independent retailers and communities, and indeed we all fought hard to stop them coming to Belsize Park.
'The fear is that Tesco will reduce the quality of the food and raise the prices', says Conti
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"Whatever happens, be assured that I will fight for what we stand for, for retaining our independence and for continuing to support our amazing community here in Belsize Park."
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said the deal with Booker would create “the UK's leading food business”.
He said: "Tesco has made significant progress in turning around our UK retail business.
"This merger with Booker will further enhance Tesco's growth prospects by creating the UK's leading food business with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital."