Published: 27 July, 2012
by WILLIAM McLENNAN
A SUPERMARKET giant is to open its fifth local store within a one-mile radius in Holloway – leading to calls for a reform of planning laws by Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn.
Independent grocers are concerned they will not be able to compete against the Sainsbury’s Local store. Mr Corbyn told the Tribune that planners needed more powers to protect independent stores.
Off-licences and supermarkets near the new site, at the corner of Holloway Road and Mercers Way, are worried about the impact of alcohol sales at the new Sainsbury’s, set to serve drink from 6am until midnight.
Mazlum Dereli, 19, who works in his uncle's store, opposite the new Sainsbury’s, said: “It’s obviously not the best for us. The main thing is going to be alcohol. We can’t compete with the prices.
“They [Tesco and Sainsbury’s] don’t put one next to each other, but when there is a lot of off-licences in one area they will come and put a store right next to them.”
The owner of a mini-market, who did not wish to be named, said: “Already there are too many shops. A hundred metres down the road there is another Sainsbury’s.
“When they open, my business is dead.”
The new Sainbury’s will be the third in Holloway Road, with stores also in Fortess Road and Kentish Town Road.
Concerns have been raised that Tesco and Sainsbury’s have a duopoly in north Islington after a new Tesco opened in Hornsey Road earlier this year, the fourth Tesco in a square mile. There are now five Tesco stores to the east of Holloway Road and five Sainsbury’s outlets to the west.
Ronke Lawal, chief executive of Islington Chamber of Commerce, said: “I am totally behind the regeneration of our high streets but not at the expense of small business owners.”
Mr Corbyn, Islington North Labour MP, said: “What we need is much stronger community-based planning laws which the original Sustainable Communities Act was supposed to bring about, but unfortunately hasn’t yet. That would have given the opportunity for local authorities to try and indicate the kind of stores they wanted.”
Sainsbury’s denied it had any arrangement with Tesco over where it opened stores.
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “From experience of operating other Local stores across London, our shops have contributed to reinvigorating local high streets and have benefited neighbouring shops and businesses with increased trade.”