Local traders have united to stop big chain expansions in New Cross as Sainsbury’s plans to open another shop in the area.
The New Cross Federation has gathered thousands of signatures online against the opening at 33-35 Lewisham Way.
The petition will be submitted on Thursday when the New Cross Federation holds a demonstration against the new supermarket outside Sainsbury’s headquarters in Holborn, Central London from 12pm to 2pm.
Chris Boddington, 43, of Café Crema and chairman of the New Cross Federation, said: “I don’t think it is going to affect my business but I think it is going to affect this community in the same way that big chains affected this country when they first opened.”
Boddington also said: “Sainsbury’s says ‘we provide jobs’ but they don’t provide as many jobs as they destroy.”
Lewisham shop owners are particularly concerned about the range of products, services and the level of prices that Sainsbury’s can offer to its customers.
Achmed Sitki, 59 who runs Goldsmiths Garden Cafe, said of the first New Cross Sainsbury’s: “So many businesses had to close down because basically they do everything what small places like that used to do.”
“I’m powerless against them, I afraid that local government got it all wrong”.
There are now five Sainsbury’s in Lewisham within a distance of 2. 3 miles. This raises the question whether there is a need for another supermarket in this area.
Another problem mentioned by the protesters is the traffic congestion on Lewisham Way, and how the supermarket will resolve delivery problems.
Mustafa Sitki, 57, from Essentials off licence, said: “One of the problems is the parking space around here.”
“Most shops don’t have enough space and time for their deliveryies and we are smaller than any supermarket.”
“I am allowed only 20 minutes to park my van, how is it possible that Sainsbury’s got a permission for their big truck?” he said.
However, Sainsbury’s does not agree with the Federation and shop owners concerns, but sees an opportunity to contribute to New Cross trading environment.
A spokesperson said: “Our experience highlights that the opening of a small Sainsbury’s Local can benefit other businesses.”
“The new shop will provide a convenient location for local people to do their top-up shopping, offering a range of goods to complement existing businesses and boost footfall in the area.”
Locals may welcome the new retailer in the area, as increased competition between stores could turn out to be beneficial for their wallets.
A builder from South London who is involved in building work for the new Sainsbury’s and could not be named, said:
“If I was a student I would be glad. The little shops all sell only sandwiches and they charge a fortune for it.”
“If you try to investigate this problem you will discover that people who run their business down here are often a family and they are trying to protect their little monopoly.”
James Haywood, Goldsmiths’ Student Union President, is concerned that the new Sainsbury’s could have a ‘ knock on effect’ and impact sales in the student shop:
“While the profits made at Sainsbury’s go into the pockets of shareholders, at the union shop all profits are recycled into our services and campaigns: from welfare and housing advice to academic representation.”