Co-op to go ahead in Belsize Village despite community campaign as window for objections closes

Mohammed Shafiq outside the Late Late Store in Belsize Village. Picture: Linda Grove

Mohammed Shafiq outside the Late Late Store in Belsize Village. Picture: Linda Grove - Credit: Archant

The new Co-op in Belsize Village is set to go ahead, despite a meeting between Lib Dem Belsize councillors and the supermarket giant.

Ken Pyne on the Co-op in Belsize Village.

Ken Pyne on the Co-op in Belsize Village. - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have been rallying the troops over the last few weeks, since the plans came to light in late-August.

Councillors Luisa Porritt and Tom Simon met with representatives from the supermarket at the end of last month.

According to an email sent to campaigners by Cllr Simon, and seen by the Ham&High, the Co-op said it would be willing to have a restriction on delivery times, and not block the pavement with delivery trolleys.

They told the councillors, who were both elected in May, it would only have one lorry delivering a day - and it wouldn’t block Belsize Lane.

Co-op bosses also said they didn’t believe coming into the area would harm businesses.

The supermarket is set to meet with campaigners in the next week. Former deputy-headteacher and long time Belsize activist Linda Grove said: “Co-op are planning to speak to the campaign group after the Jewish New Year. We still don’t want them to come here.”

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The plans have split the village. Campaigners are concerned about deliveries causing congestion in Belsize Lane and the licensing hours to sell alcohol potentially causing antisocial behaviour.

Nearby traders are also unhappy about the likely effect on their businesses. However some locals have welcomed Co-op’s entry into the village.

If the licensing application passes at Camden Council, it will open from 6am to 11pm on Monday to Saturday.

As it is falls under permitted development rights, it doesn’t require a new planning application, making it harder for residents to stop.

The deadline for objections to the licensing application is today (Thu). If it gets the licence, the shop will open in the new year.

The site was previously occupied by Will Ricker’s XO restaurant.

Mrs Grove, who previously led campaigns against Sainsbury’s and Tesco coming into Belsize Village said the campaign had been worth it.

“If we do nothing, then they will come. But if we have a go, they might not.

“The whole village is behind us, and the traders have got together and paid for a wonderful banner.

“Whether they come or not, it has brought us together.”