Actress Emma Thompson joins Belsize Park Tesco backlash
PUBLISHED: 22:19 17 January 2015 | UPDATED: 22:24 17 January 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Oscar winner Emma Thompson has added her name to the swelling campaign to stop a Tesco store opening in Haverstock Hill.
" “Belsize is a villagey area – it has no need of a Tesco and its very nature will be threatened.”"
The star joins fellow acting greats Dame Janet Suzman and Tom Conti, along with comedian James Corden in backing a petition against the supermarket giant which has more than 2,000 signatures.
Protesters say the planned shop on the site of the former HSBC bank, in Haverstock HIll will destroy the community feel of the high street by driving out much-loved independent shops, cause traffic chaos and is not needed when there are already two other Tesco stores nearby.
Ms Thompson, who lives in West Hampstead and whose daughter Gaia went to school in Belsize park, said in a letter to the supermarket giant: “Belsize is a villagey area – it has no need of a Tesco and its very nature will be threatened.”
She wrote: “The people who live there do not want it. They already have food shops – ones they trust and that retain a local feel to them. Wherever Tesco goes, the local feeling is destroyed by staff who neither know or care to know the inhabitants – your staff are always meanly paid and without any stake in either their employers interests or the interests of the local people, they have no reason to be.”
She added: “I will be signing petitions and writing to the press on this subject but as a nearby and interested local of West Hampstead also wanted to express my personal and deeply felt objection.”
Dame Janet Suzman is due to speak at a public meeting next Tuesday January 20 at 8pm at St Stephen’s, in Pond Street,
In July she was part of a successful campaign to stop Sainsbury’s opening a shop in South End Green.
The proposals for the Tesco store came to light on December 22 when Tesco submitted a licensing application to serve alcohol at the site, on the corner of Belsize Grove.
As reported by the Ham & High, Tom Conti joined more than 70 protesters outside the former bank last week.
He said: “It’s about a powerful institution pushing smaller people around.I am not against healthy competition, but this is the unacceptable face of competition.
“The small shops which are part of this community will be the losers and will be forced to close down.
“Tesco are not wanted here and should listen to what people are saying.”
Members of Camden’s licensing committee will decide on Tesco’s application at a meeting on January 26.
A spokeswoman for Tesco, who are expected to send a representative to the public meeting, said: “We’re proud of the contribution we make to every community we serve, creating local jobs, supporting local charities and providing affordable, high quality fresh food to local people.
“Our proposed store in Belsize Park will create up to 20 jobs for local people and we pay our colleagues industry leading rates.
“We are actively consulting the community on our proposals and will continue to work closely with them as our plans progress.”