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Victory for campaigners as Tesco pulls out of plans for Belsize Park store

PUBLISHED: 17:44 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 17:45 27 May 2015

Community campaigners, including Tom Conti, protested outside the site of the proposed new Tesco in Belsize. Picture: Polly Hancock

Community campaigners, including Tom Conti, protested outside the site of the proposed new Tesco in Belsize. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

A campaign backed by a number of high-profile actors to prevent Tesco from opening a new store in Belsize Park has ended in victory after the supermarket chain announced it had abandoned its plans.

Tom Conti and Andrew Thornton, who runs the Budgens in Haverstock Hill and was vocally opposed to Tesco's plansTom Conti and Andrew Thornton, who runs the Budgens in Haverstock Hill and was vocally opposed to Tesco's plans

Proposals to open the store on the site of the former HSBC branch on the corner of Belsize Grove and Haverstock Hill emerged over the Christmas period after the supermarket giant submitted a licensing application to serve alcohol at the site in December.

Campaigners had rallied against the proposals, saying the store would destroy the community feel of the high street by driving out much-loved independent shops. They also said it would cause traffic chaos and is not needed when there are already two other Tesco stores nearby.

The group of protesters had received high-profile support, with backers including actor and Hampstead resident Tom Conti, actresses Emma Thompson and Dame Janet Suzman, and comedian James Corden. Thousands of others had also signed the petition against the proposals.

Despite Camden Council granting Tesco’s request for a licence to serve alcohol there, today, Tesco confirmed to the Ham&High it no longer planned to open a store at the proposed site.

Dame Janet Suzman at the Stop Tesco meeting at St Stephen's, Pond Street.Dame Janet Suzman at the Stop Tesco meeting at St Stephen's, Pond Street.

A spokesman insisted it was nothing to do with the opposition campaign, adding: “We have reviewed our proposals for the former HSBC site in Haverstock Hill. Having been unable to reach an agreement with the landlord, we have made the difficult decision not to proceed with plans for a new store. We’re very grateful to everyone who supported our proposals and will continue to work hard to serve the local community from our other stores in the area.”

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