People’s Supermarket plea to Camden Council to save groundbreaking scheme

A Camden business which made headlines as the capital’s first People’s Supermarket has called on the council to throw it a lifeline as it struggles to pay business rates.

Around two dozen supporters of the The People’s Supermarket, wearing their signature bright yellow t-shirts, descended on the Town Hall to urge councillors to step in and stop the bailiffs on Tuesday (February 27).

The not-for-profit shop, run by volunteers, has business rates debts of around �30,000, which it is feared could force the groundbreaking scheme to close.

It comes as Pure Fruit greengrocers in Heath Street, Hampstead, which has been run by the same family for three generations, remains locked in negotiations with Camden after its council rents were hiked.

Emma Barker, 48, who volunteers at The People’s Supermarket in Lamb’s Conduit Street, Holborn, said: “This is a small organisation that is a beacon to many others, and we need their help.

“If they allow it to fail they will show that they don’t care about the interests of the local community.”

Up to 25 people will lose their jobs if the supermarket closes, which opened in 2010 part funded by a �25,000 council grant.

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A council spokeswoman said Camden had sent the bailiffs in after the supermarket reneged on repayment of last year’s taxes.

But she insisted the authority was negotiating with the group to find a solution that would avoid closure.

She added: “We collect rates on behalf of the government, so any shortfall would have to be covered by the Camden taxpayer.”