Petition is successful with 2,032 signatures
To: Chair of the Board of Directors of J Sainsbury plc and Camden Council
Hampstead calls on Sainsburys not to open a Local in South End Green
23/07/14 - Sainsburys are not opening a store on South End Green! "This is a seismic victory for the community who have acted with one voice to inform the senior management teams of the landlords, Dorringtons and Sainsburys of their concerns.
...Well done to you all. The world seems a better place to live today and by working together and continuing to nurture the connections that we have all made through this campaign, we can all secure a better tomorrow."
The residents of Hampstead have come together to help Sainsburys to realise that it is not wanted on South End Green. The depth of feeling in the local community is such that they are violently objecting to the plans of Sainsburys to open in their village. They want to help Sainsburys to make the right investment decision for their business and their shareholders and to avoid opening a store in an area where they are not wanted, which may impact on the return on their investment.
We call on Sainsburys to abandon their plans for South End Green and to operate as a responsible and ethical business by enabling us to preserve our local community in a sustainable way.
Why is this important?
South End Green is a shopping parade in the lower part of Hampstead. It is a few yards from the Royal Free Hospital and makes up a small high street with a number of diverse and independent shops. Mark & Spencer food halls is one of very few chains on this high street and is a large store. Recently, the landlord of 4 shops on this high street gave notice to its tenants because it wants to sell the 4 shops to Sainsburys who plan to knock them together and to open a Local store there. The sale has not yet occurred, but both parties have expressed the public intention that the sale should take place.
Local residents object fiercely to the arrival of Sainsbury’s for a number of reasons:
1. The arrival of Sainsburys will unbalance this shopping area because there is already the large M&S supermarket in situ. South End Green is too small to fit two supermarkets.
2. It will take away 4 shop units and will replace them with an identikit chain store which will move South End Green closer to a clone town which detracts from its unique character.
3. The arrival of Sainsburys would reduce the ability of South End Green to sustain its independent character and it will be on its way to losing its sense of place and the distinctive facades of its high street under the march of the glass, steel, and concrete blandness of a chain store built for the demands of an inflexible business model that provides the ideal degree of sterility to house this big, clone town retailer.
4. Traffic will increase as those living further away come into South End Green to shop at Sainsburys. The roads in this area are already small and under a lot of traffic pressure. It cannot cope with more traffic.
5. The lorry deliveries which will be needed to service this store will cause blockages to the road which is already narrow.
6. In order to alleviate such blockage, Sainsburys will have to apply for planning permission to cut into Hampstead Heath on the opposite side of the shops to park its lorries so that they are not a traffic hazard or cause of accidents. Many residents will oppose vehemently, any suggestion that the heath should be encroached on in this way.
7. The loss of these independent local shops mean that social contact will be reduced. It is widely recognised that small independent shops make up the heart of a thriving community. The importance of this cannot be underestimated for people who are less mobile, such as the elderly.
8. Sainsburys has a much more limited view of its community role than do independent shops. It is unlikely to take a proactive role in activities that are not seen to be profit-making in the long term.
9. Food miles will increase with potentially devastating impact on climate change with an inflation of CO2 emissions arising from more lorries arriving to bring supplies to Sainsburys in this area.
10. The arrival of Sainsburys will have an impact on other shops in the area too, not simply on South End Green, but also on Hampstead High Street. As people gravitate towards the price synergies which Sainsburys can offer, the flower stall and cafes on that parade may experience less trade and may eventually close. M&S will be affected too.
11. If other shops close on the parade as a result of the arrival of Sainsburys, maybe they will be re-populated but it will take time and the local community will suffer the scabs of closed shops for a while.
Why are residents responding in this way?
The government has empowered the local people to take more of an interest and to make their voices heard in relation to what is going on on their high street. It affects our lives and we have a right to have an opinion on what landlords plan to do with shops in our midst.
Many local groups on South End Green have mobilised in light of this threat and as the Hampstead Shops Campaign Town Team (set up by the Department of Communities and Local Government), we have joined their struggle. They see the imminent sale to Sainsburys by Dorringtons as the catalyst for action to prevent further decay and decline which will impact on their community.
We invite you to join them as comrades and to lend your voice to their struggle.
We hope that in this new era of local power, Sainsburys will heed our views and leave South End Green to retain its independent character.
If you agree with the text of this petition, please sign it and forward it to anyone else you think may be interested. I will be delivering this petition to the Chair of the Board of J Sainsbury plc in the week ending 11 July. If you can obtain as many signatures as you can by Tuesday 8 July, that would be helpful.
Hampstead Shops Campaign Town Team