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Sainsbury’s drops plans for store in South End Green after huge community backlash

Traders and residents gathered in South End Road to demonstrate their objection to the proposed new Sainsbury's store. Picture: Polly Hancock Traders and residents gathered in South End Road to demonstrate their objection to the proposed new Sainsbury's store. Picture: Polly Hancock

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
11:35 AM

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s announced today it has dropped plans for a new store on the edge of Hampstead Heath following a huge community backlash.

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Local resident Bill Oddie gave a thumbs down to the proposed new Sainsbury's Local store. Picture: Polly HancockLocal resident Bill Oddie gave a thumbs down to the proposed new Sainsbury's Local store. Picture: Polly Hancock

Sainsbury’s sparked uproar with its plans to turn four independent shops in South End Road, South End Green, into a Local store, announced three weeks ago.

The supermarket and the landlord of the shopping parade, Dorrington, confirmed the proposal has been dropped this morning.

Garith Brown, senior asset manager at Dorrington, said: “Our plans always included being able to successfully relocate businesses to other parts of the parade.

“Despite discussions with tenants we have been unable to find a solution which works for all parties, including Sainsbury’s, and therefore have had to take the difficult decision not to press ahead with our plans.

The Sainsbury's Local would have replaced four indepdendent shops in South End Green - Belsize Stationers, Polly's Cafe, The Sweet Pea florist and RFFR Charity Shop. Picture: Polly HancockThe Sainsbury's Local would have replaced four indepdendent shops in South End Green - Belsize Stationers, Polly's Cafe, The Sweet Pea florist and RFFR Charity Shop. Picture: Polly Hancock

“We will continue to work with our occupiers to conclude lease agreements as soon as possible.

“We will continue to explore options to ensure a long term viable future for the parade.”

Caroline Vickerstaff, Sainsbury’s regional acquisitions manager, said: “We are incredibly disappointed that Dorrington have been unable to bring forward plans for a new convenience store.

“We have been in discussions with a number of local people and our plans would have bought further investment, new jobs and greater footfall to the area.

“We will continue to look for new opportunities in the area, so we can bring our fresh quality offer to a growing number of customers.”

Within days of the bid becoming public the local community had begun a huge campaign to fight the plans for a new Sainsbury’s - supported by groups including the South End Green Association and the Hampstead Shops Campaign.

Dozens turned out to express their hostility with placards proclaiming “Painsbury’s” and “Don’t Mess With Hampstead Grrr!”.

High profile supporters from the local area included birdwatcher and broadcaster Bill Oddie, actress Dame Janet Suzman, novelist Deborah Moggach and journalist Amanda Platell.

Some 3,700 people signed a petition demanding a halt to the plans.

It was delivered to Sainsbury’s bosses, including chairman David Tyler, at the supermarket’s annual meeting last week.

Related stories:

- Campaigners confident of victory in fight against Sainsbury’s in South End Green

- Sainsbury’s in South End Green ‘could impede ambulance route’ to Royal Free Hospital

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

- Hampstead and Highgate facing ‘planning apocalypse’ amid biggest upheaval in history

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