Tesco riots: one year on

One year on from the riots that nearly destroyed this Tesco Express Credit: ITV News

It's exactly a year since the riots which devastated the new Tesco store in Bristol's Stokes Croft.

But twelve months on from those violent scenes and local businesses are flourishing alongside the new supermarket – not suffering because of it, as many protesters had predicted. In fact, local traders and residents now believe Tesco has sparked the regeneration of Stokes Croft, not aided its demise.

Some business owners have even praised the shopping giant for helping to bring more people to the area.

The first riot began after about 160 officers raided the squat at Telepathic Heights, opposite Tesco. Officers went in amid fears squatters were planning to petrol-bomb the store.

Three separate nights of rioting ensued with running battles between police and rioters on Cheltenham Road and Stokes Croft.

A total of 84 people were arrested over offences relating to the riots. Of them, 44 were charged and since then 29 have stood before the courts.

But one year on and the bohemian district has seen several new shops and cafes open.

Campaigners and residents of Stokes Croft have now turned their attentions to redeveloping Westmoreland House and the Carriageworks which have been derelict for 25 years. A public consultation led by local community group Carriageworks Action Group has created a ‘community vision’ – which includes a mixture of new housing and commercial developments.

Work is also afoot to create a permanent community supermarket which would operate in direct competition with Tesco. The store would be member-run and organisers believe it could offer a real and lasting alternative.