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Battle lines drawn for new Sainsbury’s store

Supermarket chain wants to open ‘Local’ outlet at former police station site in Blackstock Road

04 July, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

SAINSBURY’S is making a third bid to open a store in Highbury, despite previous rejections by the Town Hall and opposition from residents.

The supermarket chain has been attempting to open a “Local” store at the former police station site in Blackstock Road since 2015, but planning consent has been refused.

Green councillor Caroline Russell, who campaigned against the store’s previous attempts to open, said: “A national supermarket with mass delivery lorries is not a welcome add to our high street.

“We have really good local shops. The last time Sainsbury’s were trying to get to use the old police station we did some price checking comparing the Sainsbury’s further down the road with local shops, and local shops are cheaper.

“It’s not that Sainsbury’s are actually offering better value.”

In February last year, the council refused permission for a store on the grounds of safety concerns over proposed loading and unloading plans.

Sainsbury’s then saw an appeal to a govern­ment planning inspector fail in October.

The company has now come back to the council with a new operating plan.

“Everyone locally is furious about it,” said Cllr Russell. “Traders are cross. Everyone is gathering together and no one is going to roll over. This is going to be fought. Hopefully, campaigners will win again.”

She added that she would rather see the former police station site used as a shared workspace for businesses.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have submitted a planning application to Islington Council to open a Sainsbury’s Local on Blackstock Road. This would create jobs for the local community and offer customers even more convenient access to our range of great quality products and everyday low prices.

 “At the same time, we believe a new store would increase footfall to the high street, bringing more people to the area and bringing benefits to existing businesses.”

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