Plans by the sandwich chain Pret a Manger to open a branch in Dalston have dismayed locals who claims it will ruin the character of their area.
Residents became alarmed when the Kingsland Road outlet, with a capacity for 96 customers, was decorated with the Pret a Manger branding and a sign saying “coming soon”.
Anna Brocklebank, who lives in Dalston, said she would still support Dalston’s community. “I love an artisan coffee shop. That’s why I moved here,” she said. “Dalston’s Pret will mostly appeal to those who work in offices around here, I think the local people will stick to their regular small outlets because we don’t want to eat at the big chains.”
On Twitter Dalston locals also expressed their anger, with @RaggyJha tweeting: “Gentrification complete. Many Claim that the new Pret a Manger outlet is a sign that gentrification has manifested itself in their local area. Many fear that this will stamp out the eclectic personality of Dalston and its small-scale cafes and restaurants.
Good News Hackney even tweeted “There goes the neighbourhood…” with a picture of the soon-to-be-filled site.
According to David Altheer of www.lovingdalston.co.uk, , there are already signs that chains are taking over. He said: “Many catering-based firms have collapsed … more closures lie ahead – as do more complaints about gentrification.”
Pret a Manger were contacted for comment but had yet to reply by the time of posting.