Waitrose set for Crouch End and Muswell Hill?
Robyn Rosen SUPERMARKET giant Waitrose has hinted at taking over the vacant Woolworths spots in Muswell Hill and Crouch End. Rumours are circulating that the upmarket food store, which currently boasts 185 branches across the UK, will move into the two v
SUPERMARKET giant Waitrose has hinted at taking over the vacant Woolworths spots in Muswell Hill and Crouch End.
Rumours are circulating that the upmarket food store, which currently boasts 185 branches across the UK, will move into the two vacant sites in Muswell Hill Broadway and the Broadway in Crouch End, after Woolworths shut up shop at the end of last year.
A spokesman at Waitrose told Broadway: "We have always been interested in bringing Waitrose to Muswell Hill and Crouch End and these sites are one of a number of options we are aware of."
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But local residents and traders have criticised the suggestions, claiming it is another multiple moving in on their independent high streets.
Chris Freeman, of the Crouch End Traders Association and owner of Dunns bakery in the Broadway, said: "I would have thought that Crouch End is well enough served by the shops it has.
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"We have a thriving independent food sector as well as Thorton's Budgens and Tesco and that's quite enough.
"I'd like to see something offering similar items to those which Woolworths sold. A lot of those items have disappeared from Crouch End.
"I don't think there's a need for Waitrose. Crouch End is well enough catered for in its food offerings.
"The space is too small for most Waitrose stores - the size is wrong for them."
Andrew Thornton, owner of Thornton's Budgens in the Broadway, added: "If Waitrose does move in, we'll rise to the challenge. On the other hand, Crouch End has a fantastic food offering already. I don't think there is a shortage here, and do we need a Waitrose? No."
Other critics have suggested that a new supermarket could threaten the businesses of local, independent traders who are already struggling during the economic downturn.
John Hajdu, of the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, said: "I'm worried about the independent shopkeepers, especially those selling food, because it will be competition and would make their lives even more difficult than it already is.
"It would mean three supermarkets in a small areas and that's too much. It is unnecessary.
"I would rather see an independent grocer coming in rather than a multiple because Muswell Hill is known for its independent shopkeepers."
William Martyn, whose family has run tea and coffee specialists W Martyn in Muswell Hill Broadway for 112 years, said: "I would rather see an electrical store of haberdashery open in that spot, but unless the local community use their impendent shops, they will lose them.
"It's only the big multiples that can afford these huge rents.