Community battles to save much-loved Holloway health food shop

THE community is pulling together to save a long-standing health food shop - by telling its freeholder to buzz off.

Five hundred people have signed a petition to protect Bumblebee Natural Foods after the landowner lodged an application to turn the building into flats.

The much-loved organic food shop, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, is based across three units in Brecknock Road, Holloway.

But the landowner of one of them has asked Islington Council for permission to turn the building - which has Bumblebee’s kitchen on the ground floor - into four flats.

Bumblebee’s owner Iain Ogilvie said: “If planning is approved, it will kill my kitchen, and that will affect my other shops where the hot food is sold. It will lead to job losses and will devastate the business.

“It could have a knock-on effect on other businesses. Bumblebee is the main attraction for this street. If we go, what’s going to happen to Brecknock Road?”

Some shop space would remain on the ground floor of the building if the redevelopment goes ahead. But it would be slashed from 92 metres to 21 - leaving no room for Bumblebee’s kitchen.

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Resident Amara Proctor, who lives on Brecknock Road, said: “Changing the building from retail to residential will affect the entire parade of shops. If it goes ahead, this little vibrant stretch is just going to die.”

Stephen Salvino, the owner of Italian delicatessen Salvino, which has also been trading in Brecknock Road for 30 years, said: “We need Bumblebee. It’s very important to have it alongside us in Brecknock Road, otherwise it will kill the community.”

Mr Ogilvie, who has welcomed the support of hundreds of residents, believes his shop has a strong chance of blocking the plans.

He said: “We’re in a protected shopping area so we’re hoping it will be rejected on the grounds that they’re trying to change the use. We have a good case to present and we will fight our corner.”

The landowner could not be reached for comment. Islington Council’s consultation period ends on Monday, December 27.