Sainsbury’s face a tough match as campaigners against new Belsize Park store launch battle
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Hundreds of tennis club members have joined the growing campaign against Sainsbury’s plans to open in Belsize Park
As revealed exclusively by the Ham&High, the supermarket giant is planning to open a store on the site of the former burned down Good For You toy shop in Haverstock Hill.
A petition has been launched signed by Hampstead actress Janet Suzman and a campaign team has been formed to see of the latest supermarket giant to try to open in the heart of Belsize Park.
Members of the Globe Tennis Club, directly behind the site on Haverstock Hill where the new store wants to open gathered on Saturday to add their voice to the growing protest
Anna Lee, who chairs the club fears the new store will put the lives of young tennis players who use the club at risk.
“I am very concerned for the safety of the 150 schoolchildren per week who come every day to play tennis at the club.
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“The children are 5 – 16 year olds. How are these children going to negotiate walking safely through this narrow passage, with the constant use by delivery vans, refuse tracks, lorries with building material etc?”
Last year the Ham&High reported how celebrities including actresses Emma Thompson and Dame Janet Suzman, and comedian James Corden joined thousands objecting to Tesco opening on the corner of Belsize Grove, which resulted in the supermarket giant withdrawing its plans.
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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,
The latest petition to Sainsbury’s bosses says: “We, the undersigned residents of Belsize Park, wish to object to your proposed opening of a Sainsbury’s Local store at 192 Haverstock Hill, beside Belsize Park Tube station.
“We believe that this site is totally unsuitable for this type of store.”
It says the store will cause problems for the area due to deliveries and waste, litter, noise and claims it contradicts Camden Council’s policies for the area.
Actress Dame Janet Suzman, who lives in Keats Grove, said: “Local traders will suffer and we have quite enough food retailers already.”
Sainsbury’s plans were revealed in a new planning application from developers building a six-storey block of five flats and a retail unit on the site in Haverstock Hill to increase the height and width of the ground floor unit.
The application says: “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.
“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.”