Protest as Sainsbury’s Local plans to move to Belsize Park

Harold Horwitz with Christine Boyce, chair of the Aspern & Russell Nurseries Residents Association w

Harold Horwitz with Christine Boyce, chair of the Aspern & Russell Nurseries Residents Association with others outside the Good For You building in 2014. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

The revelation that Sainsbury’s is planning to open a store on the site of a former toy shop in Haverstock Hill has caused anger and alarm among residents.

They are predicting a public outcry on a scale of that seen last year when thousands objected to plans by Tesco to open a store in Belsize Park.

Developers building a six-storey block of five flats and a retail unit on the site of the former Good For You shop in Haverstock Hill have applied to Camden to increase the height and width of the ground floor unit.

They say: “The retail unit tenant is Sainsbury’s Local. The layout has been developed with their architects.”

Sasha Traders won planning permission in 2013 to develop the site next to a narrow road which leads to The Globe Tennis club, The Royal Free Hospital, The Woodland Walk nature reserve and the Russell Nurseries housing estate, But there was no mention then of plans for a Sainsburys Local to occupy the space.

The site is currently empty after the former toy shop was destroyed by fire in June 2014.

Harold Horwitz, of the Russell Nurseries Tenants and Residents Association said: “I am deeply concerned about the new proposals. This is not what the original planner sold to us and to Camden - his was a green vision of a pleasant, eco-saving neighbourly addition.

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“I believe this has become contorted and is motivated by greed and is contrary to our community values and shared peace and happiness within this green and pleasant catchment area.”

He added: “The impact of new use of the building, namely a Sainsbury’s supermarket, will make this space even more impossible to maintain, with rubbish and noise, pollution and the presence of delivery vans trying to get down an already blind spot narrow roadway.”

He said the roadway is currently used by many elderly residents and children to access the estate.

“Access for disabled people will be a nightmare, with the already hazardous walkway, becoming a free-for-all for cars, delivery vans and people using the thoroughfare.

Local campaigners are predicting a ‘community backlash’ to the plans.

As reported in the Ham&High, Tesco shelved plans to open a store on the corner of Haverstock Hill and Belsize Grove last May following a huge public outcry.

In July 2014 Sainsbury withdrew plans to open a store in nearby South End Green after thousands signed online and paper petitions opposing the scheme,

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who chairs the Hampstead Shops Campaign, said: “Now there is likely to be a community backlash with the number of existing supermarkets already close by, as we saw with Tesco last year and previously with Sainsburys in South End Green.”

Comments can be made on the application to Camden Council until the end of Thursday.