Search

Bill Oddie and Dame Janet Suzman lead backlash against plans for Sainsbury’s Local in South End Green

07:00 03 July 2014

Traders and residents gather in South End Road to demonstrate their objection to the proposed new Sainsbury

Traders and residents gather in South End Road to demonstrate their objection to the proposed new Sainsbury's store, which would replace four businesses at 53-57 South End Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Sainsbury’s is facing a massive community backlash after announcing shock plans to open a store on the edge of Hampstead Heath.

Local resident Bill Oddie gives the thumbs down to the proposed Sainsbury's in South End Road. Picture: Polly HancockLocal resident Bill Oddie gives the thumbs down to the proposed Sainsbury's in South End Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

The supermarket giant has sparked uproar by proposing to turn four independent businesses in South End Road, South End Green, into one of its “local” shops.

Celebrity residents Bill Oddie and Dame Janet Suzman have thrown their weight behind a campaign which sprang up within hours of the news breaking on Friday.

Dozens turned out to express their hostility at a hastily-arranged protest in Saturday morning’s rain.

Broadcaster Mr Oddie, 72, who joined the demonstration, said the supermarket was “not needed, not necessary and not wanted” while actress Dame Janet, 75, branded the scheme “wicked and destructive”.

Belsize Stationers, Polly's Cafe, The Sweet Pea florist and RFFR Charity Shop would all have to make for the Sainsbury's in South End Road. Picture: Polly HancockBelsize Stationers, Polly's Cafe, The Sweet Pea florist and RFFR Charity Shop would all have to make for the Sainsbury's in South End Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

“I’m 100 per cent opposed,” said Mr Oddie, who lives in South End Green. “There’s only one reason, whatsoever, that Sainsbury’s are doing this – they think there’s money to be made out of it. It’s sacrilege.”

The area already has a Marks & Spencer supermarket, in Pond Street, which Mr Oddie said was “not so objectionable” because it replaced a derelict cinema.

Dame Janet railed against the “cloning of the high street” and issued a rallying call, saying: “We must resist this destructive commercial incursion into one of the last remaining villages with any character in all of London.”

Belsize Stationers, which has been in South End Road for 25 years; The Sweet Pea, a family-run florist, and a charity shop raising money for Relief Fund For Romania would all have to make way.

Polly’s Tea Rooms, where Mr Oddie breakfasts nearly every morning, would also have to move or close.

Pat Brothers, 73, manager of Polly’s for the past 18 years, said: “We want to stay, but it sounds like a done deal. I’ve been here so long and I love it. It’s terrible.”

The businesses are in talks with the landlord Dorrington, but Sainsbury’s confirmed it has already signed a deal for the leases.

Matthew Lewin, chairman of the Burgh House Trust and a former editor of the Ham&High, who helped to organise Saturday’s protest, said the loss of four independent businesses will harm South End Green’s “individual character”.

He called the proposal “absurd” and said it would make the area’s traffic and parking problems “intolerable”.

He added: “All we can hope is that Sainsbury’s hears our message loud and clear: ‘We don’t need you, we don’t want you, and we won’t use you!’”

Caroline Vickerstaff, Sainsbury’s regional acquisitions manager, said the company is “aware” of some concerns and hopes to work with the community “to discuss the design of the Sainsbury’s Local to ensure that it is in keeping with the local area and parade”.

She added: “We want to get the plans right and do believe that the shop can bring benefits to the parade and other traders, such as additional footfall.”

Garith Brown, from Dorrington, said: “We will continue to work with tenants over the coming weeks to understand their individual requirements.

“We have already started to discuss possible options with them, including relocation on the parade.”

Latest News Stories

11:37
A torrent of water gushes out from underneath collapsed tarmac in Wells Rise

Residents were left wading through a torrent of water over the weekend after a huge water pipe burst, flooding the street and causing the road to collapse.

3 minutes ago
Architects have mocked up an image of what the seven-storey tower on the site of the former Haringey Magistrates Court will look like

Plans for a seven-storey tower on the site of a former magistrates’ court would have a “detrimental” effect on a stretch of woodland in Highgate, according to the City of London.

10:03
UCS headteacher Mark Beard says Mr Hunt's remarks were 'offensive bigotry'. Picture: Dieter Perry

The headteacher of the shadow education secretary’s old Hampstead school has said Labour’s plans to strip private schools of tax breaks unless they do more to help the state sector is “offensive bigotry”.

33 minutes ago
Acland Burghley executive headteacher Sue Higgins

The behaviour of pupils at a secondary school hit with a scathing Ofsted report last year has been “transformed,” according to inspectors.

Most read news

Protests have taken place in 170 cities across the US since news broke that Darren Wilson, Mike Brown’s killer, won’t face charges.

The retailers have gone underground to launch their Argos Collect digital store in Cannon Street tube station.

Tony Blair received an award for his “global legacy”, due to his work on poverty, but people say it’s undeserved.

Darren Wilson described what happened when he stopped his police car to speak to Mike Brown before the shooting.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition