Another supermarket to open up, but on wrong side of tracks

Clearly, we all need a new Sainsbury’s supermarket in Croydon. We don’t have enough supermarkets, or the “Local” or “Express” versions, dotted around the borough’s high streets already, sucking in as much business as they possibly can, assisted by the big corporations’ purchasing power, to the detriment of independent traders.

Handy for the trams: the new Sainsbury's Local at No1 Croydon

Handy for the trams: the new Sainsbury’s Local at No1 Croydon

And we especially need a new Sainsbury’s Local built into the side of No 1 Croydon,  in the middle of a busy roundabout junction, the wrong side of the tram tracks from the now derelict East Croydon Post Office.

After all, the new store is almost 200 whole yards away from the next nearest branch of Sainsbury’s down George Street.

There’s another Sainsbury’s store within another couple of hundred steps, which is allowed to open from 7am to 11pm  at the top of Surrey Street, to do its bit to leech the last bit of life from Croydon’s ancient street market.

The facile nature of the planning processes, the impotency of the local authority to prevent supermarkets or bookmakers from taking over our high streets, are debates well-aired on these pages in the past, most notably over Tesco’s savage destruction, vandalism, of the Victorian interior of the Swan and Sugarloaf pub at South End.

In this latest case, there’s a kind of architectural vandalism going on.

The new store is utilising previously unused courtyard space, and occupies a perfunctory shed-like extension tacked on the side of the landmark “50 Pence building”. It is a development that surely would not have been allowed had the No1 Croydon building been listed, which, extraordinarily, it is not.

What is most notable about this latest Sainsbury’s Local, which will open opposite East Croydon Station in the next week or so, is the utter ludicrousness of its location. Tucked underneath an office block, surrounded by busy roads, at the side of a busy tram and bus station, and difficult for pedestrians to get to safely. How long before there is an accident on one of the surrounding roads involving someone carrying some groceries in Sainsbury’s orange carrier bags?

The chaotic nature of the site will be compounded when work begins on the old sorting office building across the road. Then, station traffic and the taxi rank exit on to George Street will be blocked off, with vehicles picking up or dropping off from the station having to exit and enter at Cherry Orchard Road. What makes you think that someone in the council’s planning department hasn’t thought that part through?

Planning permission for the Sainsbury’s store was granted under the previous, Tory council administration, though it is unlikely that they could have prevented the scheme going ahead.

But here’s a thing. When Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of EasyJet, applied for permission to open an EasyStore in the disused MetLife office building just across the road from this new Sainsbury’s, he was warned off by Croydon Council because of store’s size, location and council zoning policies.

How odd: does the planning committee operate differently for Sainsbury’s and Tesco than for other stores?

Coming to Croydon

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10 Responses to Another supermarket to open up, but on wrong side of tracks

  1. baw30s says:

    I am astonished at the proliferation of these big chain convenience stores. They never seem to have the footfall to generate an adequate return on capital, so no wonder Tesco’s is dropping along with its share price. This one, as indicated, is, furthermore, miniscule and, architecturally, a vile excrescence. Why, oh why?

  2. I see from the article that Threepenny Bit has become 50 pence. I guess it will soon be a Pound given the shape of the recently announced replacement Pound coin. That’s inflation for you.

  3. Rod Davies says:

    My theory is that this is a self-perpetuating scenario.

    Since the rise of the convenience store within easy reach of everyone’s home, the standard of health has declined significantly and so many of the customers are simply incapable of walking more than 50 ~ 100 yards to their favourite provider of ready meals and snacks.

    So we need a mini-market every 100 yards or so just to sustain these people. And so trapped in their ill-health they are compelled to buy what the mini-markets want to sell them at great profit.


  4. divasupermum says:

    do we need another supermarket in that area i think not,something much more useful could have being put there instead,

  5. It looks like a cheap, tacky – and hopefully temporary – extension that has been built by cowboys. As Prince Charles put it so well, “a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved & elegant friend”. The architect of No 1 Croydon, Richard “The Colonel” Seifert, must be turning in his grave.

  6. djloi3079 says:

    Does anybody know when work is going to start to demolish the Royal Mail Building?

  7. Well I did wonder what they were doing. It really does look like a nasty boil has appeared on the side of the side of what is a rare characterful Croydon building.

  8. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    And you thought it was Tescos taking over the World!

  9. Thanks for writing about this. You probably don’t drive by this building or else you would have noticed something else: if you are driving down Addiscombe Grove (so that the NLA Tower is on your left), this new addition makes it impossible to look left until you are right upon the intersection. I have to slow down to about 10mph to make sure someone hasn’t mistakenly taken a wrong turn against the traffic lights.

    This intersection is a disaster waiting to happen.

  10. I’m glad that someone has concisely put into words the key points that numerous people must be thinking. Everyone responsible for this idiotic, needless shop deserve all the derision they receive!

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