Earl of Listowel scraps controversial Waitrose plan for Swain’s Lane in Highgate
- Credit: Polly Hancock
A heredity peer who plans to bulldoze a popular shopping parade in Highgate has bowed to community pressure and announced plans for a Waitrose supermarket on the site have been scrapped.
Hundreds of community campaigners, including Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding, pledged their support to save Swain’s Lane after development plans for the parade - including flats and a supermarket just metres from an existing Tesco - were announced last year.
But the owner of the parade, the Earl of Listowel, has announced a revised scheme addressing community concerns.
The company behind the Swain’s Lane development plan, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, this week officially confirmed to the Ham&High that it will not be seeking to include a large chain store in any new development.
The company said the revised plans, developed to try and address community concerns, will only include small shop units which will not be suitable for large multiples such as Waitrose.
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Existing tenants will also be offered first refusal on new shop units and the number of flats in the development has been “significantly reduced”.
Lord Listowel, one of 90 elected hereditary peers that remain in the House of Lords, said: “Work is continuing on a revised scheme for Swain’s Lane, which is the result of close engagement with all parties - residents, retailers and the council.
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“I am confident that we will arrive at the right scheme, which will vastly improve the environment on Swain’s Lane.
“It’s important we get the balance right.
“We have listened to what residents and retailers in the area want and have sought to make reasonable concessions where possible, while also maintaining the viability of the development.”
Initial plans to demolish a number of small independent shops to make way for four storey building including a supermarket and 26 new homes were met with fierce opposition from campaigners last year.
Since then the Save Swain’s Lane campaign group, shopkeepers and the developers have been working together to come up with a vision for the area which suits all interested parties.
Chairman of Save Swain’s Lane steering committee, Robert Schoenbeck, welcomed the announcement that Waitrose will not feature in future plans and said both sides have worked closely together.
“The developers have been much more accommodating this time and have tried to respond to the community,” he said. “There will have to be some trade-offs on both sides, we know that.
“We are working closely with them and the last activity was a meeting with the current tenants to see if they would be interested in taking up a lease in the new development.”
A brief handed to the developers by the group has outlined proposals for affordable shop units and sympathetic building design.
The new proposals are set to be made public in the next couple of months.