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.
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
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- David Lean Cinema, The Riot Club, Dec 4
- St Andrew’s churchyard gardening session, 10am, Dec 6
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Croydon Philharmonic Handel’s Messiah, Fairfield Halls, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Heathfield House Christmas charity bazaar, Dec 7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- David Lean Cinema, ’71, Dec 11
- Mayor of Croydon’s charity Christmas dinner, Dec 12
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- Concert of Christmas music, St Luke’s, Woodside, Dec 13
- Opera Soiree at Whitgift School, Dec 14
- Friends of the Earth Green Beanfeast, Dec 15 (book by Dec 1)
- Croydon Philharmonic Christmas concert, St Matthew’s, Dec 16
- Spread Eagle’s Christmas Improv show, Dec 17
- David Lean Cinema, Northern Soul, Dec 18
- David Lean Cinema, Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Dec 29
- David Lean Cinema, The Beat Beneath My Feet, Dec 30
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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