Sainsbury's Hampstead: 'Chain must listen to residents'

Hampstead High Street, which Sainsbury's will soon join

Sainsbury's in Hampstead would not worry the Hampstead Community Market, according to a trustee - Credit: Elinor James / PA

With Sainsbury’s set to open in Hampstead High Street later this year, locals are optimistic about "encouraging news" - though one grocery shop staffer said there are "more than enough chain stores".

Sainsbury's has submitted a licensing application, but at this stage the opening date is given only as “this autumn”. 

UPDATE: Sainsbury's licensing application was approved on May 20.

Figures including Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum vice-chair Alex Nicoll, Hampstead Community Market trustee Linda Chung and Cllr Oliver Cooper are broadly supportive of the planned addition to the high street - but have warned residents will want to see reassurances that the new supermarket won't add to the traffic through Hampstead Village.

Linda - a former Hampstead Town councillor - is confident independent shops locally needn't worry.

She said:  “Our own local shops provide such a good service and so I do not feel there is any competition.

"Our markets in the community centre are specialised, we offer special cheeses, meat and fish, which are customised to our locality and greatly appreciated.

"I do not believe a supermarket can match that but if it can offer household stuff then it offers more footfall. We also need more competition against Tesco.”

But a staffer from Peppercorn Organic, in New End, told the Ham&High: “In my view they shouldn’t be able to open without listening to the locals.

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"I am against the big stores opening, there are already more than enough chain stores and we don’t need a Sainsbury’s on the High Street.” 

Alex from the HNF said it is "encouraging" to see new shops filling empty units, but said: "Residents will want to be sure that deliveries to the shop do not worsen traffic and air quality.

"They will also want to be sure that the frontage is suitable and that licensing hours are not longer than those of other stores nearby.” 

Cllr Cooper echoed this, referencing the "intractable" issue of traffic jams caused by deliveries to the Tesco in Heath Street.

He said: "Camden must ensure that no repeat is allowed, or it will bring gridlock to Hampstead that will outweigh any benefits."

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have spent a lot of time looking for the best store site for the local community and believe this unit will allow us to offer great value food-to-go and pantry staples on Hampstead High Street.”