Camden Green Party

Greens alarmed at Tesco plan for Kentish Town Road

26 March 2005

Members of Camden Green Party are extremely alarmed at the news that yet another Tesco is set to open in the borough, threatening one of our most valuable shopping streets.

“The proposed ‘Tesco Metro’ at 203 Kentish Town Road may spell the end of independent local shopping in Kentish Town,“ said Sian Berry of Camden Green Party, who has been part of the Green campaign against the take-over of local shops by supermarket giants, “There are some excellent locally owned food shops on the High Street and these will all suffer if Tesco moves in. The Council should take more care of local businesses and stop this happening.”

‘Local’ and ‘Metro’ versions of large supermarkets threaten other local food retailers with:

  •     the illusion of choice (in fact most lines stocked by these supermarkets are 'own brands')
  •     loyalty card schemes which discourage shoppers from going to local specialist stores for individual items
  •     aggressive local marketing and multimillion pound advertising campaigns that convince many they 'must be cheaper', when in fact this is not the case for many basic items.

Clone town?

Camden Green Party recently surveyed Kentish Town Road between Leighton Road and Prince of Wales Road as part of the ‘Clone Town Britain’ campaign.

They found that, of 87 shops, 53 were still independently owned making Kentish Town a ‘Border town’, offering a reasonable choice to shoppers.

One more supermarket may tip the High Street over the border into ‘Clone town’ territory.

So what can be done to stop this happening? “Camden Council needs to do more to help independent retailers afford business rents and rates, and should be stricter in supporting the wishes of locals when awarding planning permission and licences, says Sian.

"However, we can all do our bit to support local shops simply by using them and avoiding chain stores. It's not a difficult option to choose, when you want greater choice of goods, friendly, personal service, and a thriving local economy,”

Tesco is already causing problems in other parts of the borough. Village Food and Wine, the popular delicatessan in Highgate village, has suffered a 40% drop in business since a Tesco Express opened on Highgate High Street, and faces closure.

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