Published: 3 August, 2012
• ON Thursday, Islington Council’s planning committee refused Hyde Housing permission to put a supermarket on the corner of Packington Street and Prebend Street.
This was a good decision, and strongly supported by about 150 noisy people who turned up to the meeting, and also by the 1,500
people who signed petitions against it.
Afterwards however, there were some quite unhappy tenants of the Packington who felt they had been hard done by, and there was an uncomfortable feeling of them-and-us between Packington residents and other residents from the area.
There was no need for this.
The fault lies not with objectors to the supermarket.
A supermarket would be a terrible mistake, as it would undermine the other convenience stores in the area, would prevent Precinct Theatre from relocating, and would reduce the diversity of shops available in the area.
The fault lies with Hyde, which has wound up residents on the estate to believe that a supermarket is what they need when in fact the real reason for the supermarket is that Hyde will make the most money out of it – never mind the damage it will do to local amenity.
It is worrying that Hyde seems more concerned about making money than about integrating the Packington estate into the neighbourhood, which is what the redevelopment is supposed to do.
In fact, it seems prepared to try to make money at the expense of local integration, as it has done here, setting residents of the estate against their neighbours in an effort to push the supermarket through.
A smaller convenience store and some other shops would be a far better outcome for all residents. It’s what they have permission for, and it would be supported by everyone.
As Councillor Rupert Perry pointed out at the committee meeting, there is no need for a convenience store in this location to be so large, because it will just be full of “50 tins of something instead of 20”.
Perhaps this time Hyde will listen to the message coming from residents of all sorts in the area: they want the community theatre and local shops to stay.
It is time for Hyde to learn how to listen. It needs to develop the estate in a way that is sensitive and appropriate to the area, balancing local needs and aspirations, and fostering integration between its tenants and the rest of the community, not just chasing the best commercial return for itself.
CLLR MARTIN KLUTE
Labour, St Peters Ward