With the sale of the Council Depot to Sainsbury's agreed, a planning application will now be made.
I hope there will be a vigorous and well informed debate about this.
It's far from clear to me that Sainsbury's in Harringay has done anything for our neighbourhood except attract more traffic into the area.
So it's vital that there's been such little interest or local debate.
But, let's pass over my personal views spit-spot and have a look at what the experts have to say.
A quick trawl on the net offers the following:
- There's a Friends of the Earth report from 2006 (pdf) which explains how, in their view, supermarkets are given planning permission because they're "difficult to refuse".
- There's a Demos report from earlier in the year, Civic Streets, which argues that Big supermarket chains have a key role to play in regenerating Britain's poorest communities. Report author Max Wind-Cowie said: 'Major supermarkets are not the enemy of the Big Society. They have a role to play in helping deprived communities to regenerate by reducing stigma, boosting community morale and by bringing low-cost, quality produce into the area. 'It's easy to be cynical about mainstream retail chains, but they can be the game-changer for transforming perceptions within and outside of run-down neighbourhoods.' Quite whether this argument applies to Hornsey, let alone whether it's correct, I'll leave to you to decide.
- And hot on the heels of that report there's a response from the New Economics Foundation, expressing the view that Supermarkets don't regenerate communities – they hoover money out.
- Retail & Regeneration in London (rtf), from the Mayor's office, looking at benefits of supermarkets to deprived areas.
- Then there's a thoughtful sounding piece (I haven't got access to it), From 'chains' to partnerships? Supermarkets and regeneration, which looks at alleged dis-benefits and possible benefits and offers the possibility for a hybrid solution in some areas — stores that are community owned but supermarket supplied and quality controlled.
So, it looks like you pays your money, you makes yer choice.
I guess what all this tells me is that there's plenty of thinking gone into the pros and cons of allowing new supermarkets to move in to an area. So, how was all this evidence, together with the experience gained in Harringay, used by the Council in making the decision to sell the Hornsey Depot land to Sainsbury's?