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

56 minutes ago
Security staff outside the building. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

A crew of private security staff accompanied by two vans reportedly containing dogs swooped on a former convent building behind the Royal Free Hospital to remove squatters in the early hours of this morning.

07:00
Porn star Rebecca More. Picture: Television X.

A porn star who was threatened with legal action by Camden Council if she entered the borough as part of a “sex tour of the UK” has slammed council bosses for overreacting.

Residents of Quadrant Grove won what could be a landmark decision. Residents from left are Andrew Bache, Nicole Segre, Len Whiting, Khursheed Singh, Lynn Whiting, Barbara Thorndick, Lucinda Sturgis. Picture: Dieter Perry

Residents of a tiny street in Kentish Town have given hope to opponents of basement builds across London after winning what could be a landmark victory against their neighbour.

9 minutes ago
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. Picture: PA Archive/Sean Dempsey.

Communities came together for special events to mark the Jewish day of Shabbat as part of a new initiative spearheaded by the UK’s chief rabbi to engage Jews with the traditional holy day.

Most read news

It’s cost Rio Ferdinand a £25k fine and a three-match ban, but what do people think of the word sket?

The fashion giant’s have been called out for promoting an unhealthy body image with their skeletal dummies.

Apple’s CEO has used an editorial piece in the US to come out as gay.

Party leader Nigel Farage and Ukip are to feature in a spoof Channel 4 documentary.

Digital Edition

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