Local residents and businesses have got together against a proposed Tesco store at 144-146 Lower Clapton Road.
The campaigners staged a demonstration on Sunday in opposition to plans to open a new store which, they argue, would cause disruption for those who live nearby and harm local shops. They have also collected nearly 500 signatures on a petition to the council to reject the plans.
Clapton resident Emily Webber said, “I got involved in the campaign as I wanted to let local residents know that Tesco Express was looking at the unit and to give them the chance and information to object if they want to. As a local resident I am concerned about the detrimental affect that a supermarket chain like Tesco will have on the Clapton Pond area and the local businesses that have trading here for many years.”
Clapton resident Violaine added, “I like the local shops, the shopkeepers know us by name. I generally buy locally. We don’t need a supermarket – independent shops are best.”
Local resident Helen Carey agreed, saying, “We don’t need another Tesco store. There’s one about a mile away. There are independent shops that are struggling in the current financial climate, and it’s essential to support them.”
Clapton mother Renee de Luycker suggested that local shops were essential to the social fabric of the local community, “The fact that it’s them [local independent shops] and not Tesco means that if my child gets lost, she walks into any of them and they know who she is.”
Abdullah Solak, the owner of Palm 2 store, said, “I worry more about other small businesses round here. As much as it’s going to affect local businesses, like Mike, the local butchers in Clarence Road, and Mr Singh at Clapton newsagents over the road. We have very good relations with other small businesses and encourage our customers to use them, for example to top up their Oysters and buy their newspapers. I am grateful to the local people here who are supporting us.”
Although Tesco does not require planning permission to open an outlet on the site, permission is required to make necessary alterations to the loading bay on the street outside. Two planning applications have been submitted by the group that owns the building, Lower Clapton LPP.
Tesco currently has seven stores in Hackney, including a superstore on Morning Lane.
Hackney Citizen has asked Tesco Corporate Affairs department for comment.
Update: 3.50pm Thursday 27 May 2010
In a statement issued today, local environmental campaign group, Hackney and Tower Hamlets Friends of the Earth said,”Hackney and Tower Hamlets Friends of the Earth fully supports the No Clapton Tesco campaign.
“Clapton has many thriving, independent shops that provide much needed jobs to locals. They also sell healthy, low cost fresh food and bring a great sense of community for local people.
“It is well researched that when Tesco moves in to a small area, fresh food, shops, jobs and money go. Supermarkets siphon money away from local economies and towards shareholders and distant corporations. £1 spent in a local shop selling local produce puts twice as much money back into the local economy as £1 spent in a supermarket.
“The community in Clapton is also absolutely right to worry about the impacts of a huge delivery lorry obstructing an important bus and cycle route every day and adding to pollution in the area. We have written with our objections to the planning officer and hope that Hackney Council will reject Tesco’s application and see that it will not bring benefits to the area.”
Update: 1.00pm Saturday 29 May 2010
In a statement to Hackney Citizen, Leabridge ward councillors, Linda Kelly, Deniz Oguzkanli and Ian Rathbone said, “There has been no consultation with us as elected representatives or local residents by this supermarket giant which plans to walk into the area with an Express shop when it is planning to build a gigantic ‘Tesco Extra’ minutes away in Morning Lane.
“We are saying no to this move and we urge all local residents to do the same.”
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