Co-op bows to campaign pressure and scraps Belsize Village plan
Linda Grove and campaigners including Janet Suzman stop third supermarket opening in NW3
02 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot
Campaigners outside the former XO restaurant that could have been a
THE Co-op has scrapped its plans to open in Belsize Park.
The supermarket had faced a massive backlash from residents who said the chain would threaten the special character of “The Village”.
Independent shopkeepers had warned livelihoods would be threatened and they could not compete with the might of the supermarket chain.
The Co-op said: “We have talked extensively to local people and while there are a range of views we do not now believe we’ll achieve the necessary consents required to successfully open and operate a store which will serve the needs of the whole community. Therefore we will not proceed with the store.”
Activist Linda Grove led the campaign against the Co-op and has now chalked up three successful campaigns to stop supermarket chains opening in NW3.
Ms Grove said she was on the 168 bus when she got the news, adding: “Doubters said to me ‘do you think we’d win?’ I said we sure we won’t win if we don’t try. It’s important that we use our local press and support them because they help us advertise campaigns like this.”
However dozens of residents had criticised the campaigners as “snobs” and this weekend two online polls had shown support for the supermarket.
The New Journal reported last month how the supermarket had since the campaign began applied to open a new store in the former Marine Ices building in Chalk Farm.
The council has written to residents who had responded to the application confirming the “licensing application for the above premises has been withdrawn by the applicant”.
Phil Cowan, who had written in yesterday to oppose the supermarket opening, said: “If a community voices their opposition to a large chain opening in their area, that chain should listen and act accordingly as the Co-op appears to have done in this case. Now the job to find a more appropriate tenant for the site begins.”