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Victory for small businesses as supermarket plans at Highbury Vale police station are scrapped

PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 May 2014

Julie Horten & John Gilbert outside the former Highbury Vale police station

Julie Horten & John Gilbert outside the former Highbury Vale police station

Archant

»Campaigners are celebrating after plans to turn Highbury Vale police station into a supermarket were scrapped in favour of small retail units.

Developers initially sought to turn the former station in Blackstock Road into a supermarket, with Sainsbury’s and the Co-op reportedly showing an interest in the site.

The plans prompted opposition among traders who said it could drive them out of business and a 2,500-signature petition was presented to the council.

A new application is expected to be submitted by the developer proposing four smaller shop units, which are not large enough for a supermarket.

‘Fantastic’

Michelle Lovell, who runs Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocer and To Be Established gift and card shop in Highbury Barn, said: “This is fantastic news for the small independent shops in Highbury Barn and Blackstock Road.

“A supermarket would have had a drastic impact on us. We’d all have struggled with that on our doorstep.

“Having four new, smaller shops will hopefully bring even more people in.”

Danny Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie, also helped with the petition.

“We are very pleased – it’s good news for independent shops, especially for their convenience stores,” he said.

“There are already more than enough supermarkets around here without another one having to be built, so it’s a victory for campaigners.

“The power of the people has changed plans for the better. Hopefully, it will make the shopping experience in Highbury even better than it is.”

The police station was closed in 2013 as part of plans to save money and modernise policing. It was home to four safer neighbourhoods teams which now rent elsewhere.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Terry Stacy and Cllr Julie Horten helped to lead the campaign opposing the supermarket plans and are calling for a condition on the planning application to prevent the amalgamation of the four units into a larger unit at any point in the future.

Cllr Stacy said the new plans would be published shortly.

“We’re sure that the huge local opposition to the idea of yet another supermarket is a key reason why the developers have changed their plans,” he said.

“Highbury’s local shops are one of the things that make our area so special, so this is great news for them and for the traders on Blackstock Road.”

It is unclear who bought the site when it was sold off, but it is thought to be a foreign owner.


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