Sainsbury’s row: Asda plan Stamford Hill store

by Ian Britton

ASDA lorry by Ian Britton

Amid the controversy over Sainsbury’s ambitions to open a new superstore in Stoke Newington, another High Street giant, Asda, has announced plans to open a new store in nearby Stamford Hill.

The American owned supermarket chain announced its ‘exciting plans’ to open a new store in place of the existing Netto store on Stamford. It is one of the 147 former Netto stores being turned into new look Asda supermarkets.

Meanwhile, there is ongoing opposition about Sainsbury’s plans for a new outlet in Church Street in Stoke Newington. Critics said there is ‘overwhelming’ oppposition to the proposal.

The new Asda store will stock more than 10,000 grocery items – four times more than the Netto store it replaces. According to the company’s website, the new store will ensure greater choice for its consumers.

Kevin Prince, Asda supermarkets area manager, told the Hackney Citizen, “Despite being a small Asda supermarket we think customers are going to be delighted with the new store.”

The announcement came on the first day of two days of local consultation over Sainsbury’s plans for the new store, which is just a short distance away from its existing superstore in Stamford Hill, and is likely to reinforce concerns about traffic congestion the threat to small businesses.

Hackney Liberal Democrats, residents and some local traders are concerned that the Sainsbury’s development could lead to congestion and harm the character of the area. Church Street has a reputation as a home for small, independent food shops, delicatessens and other retailers.

Dr Jane Holgate, of the Hackey Planning Watch website, said:“Primarily we are concerned with the Sainsbury’s proposal in Stoke Newington, rather than Asda’s proposal.”

“Sainsbury’s has been around for 25 years; it has always been a high street supermarket. We were concerned about its plans for another major development when there are already three within walking distance and sufficient local food stores in the area. It is another problematic example of the homogenization of high street stores driving out local independence.”

Holgate said there had been a ‘massive response’ to the consultation: ”From my experience, everyone opposed this development. Out of the two days I attended, I only met one person who was in favour of this proposal. The main concerns were the higher traffic, pollution and concentration levels of High Street giants which would destroy the much loved local stores.”

She added: ”Residents are worried what the development would do to the environment and culture of Stoke Newington. Never have I been involved in a campaign which has received so much opposition such early on. It was really overwhelming. I think even the developers were stunned at the extent of the opposition.”

Read ELL’s earlier report here.

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