Crofton Park "Tesco" meeting with Lewisham Council

Annabelle writes:

Just thought locals might like to know that there is a meeting being held with Lewisham Council planners next week about the new building application for the corner of Brockley Road and Sevenoaks Rd in Crofton Park, opposite the Brockley Jack.

The developers have knocked down the old building in the past week without planning permission having being granted for the latest proposed development [although planning permission already exists for an earlier proposal], so lot of people already seeing red - as it was a 1930s block very in keeping with the area.

Workers on site say a Tesco is being built on the ground floor, under three more storeys of flats. The planning reference is DC/11/77384. 

Anyway, what the council calls an "informal meeting" to allow planners to "assess the areas of concern before the application is considered" is being held on Tuesday September 20 at 6pm at St Hilda's Church, Brockley Rd (corner of Courtrai Rd).

You can vote on whether you would like to see or use a Tesco in Crofton Park here.

50 comments:

Questions said...

The building has been knocked down without planning permission? Another
Tescos? What kind of madness is going on with the developers?

Anonymous said...

The site already has permission from a few years back for redevelopment, they don't need to wait for the new planning permission before demolishing, as long as they are complying with building control regs.

Anonymous said...

That anon was me, Sue, btw ...

Nimby said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO(maybeifitwasanorganiccafe)OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Running Nutter said...

how can i put this politely?

F off tesco

Brockley Nick said...

Are there any independent food retailers in Crofton Park that would be threatened by their arrival?

Skanky Ali said...

Won't do anything to help mr Lawrence wine merchants but they already have co-op and budgens to contend with..

spincat (in fighting spirit) said...

Budgens is one of the best small supermarkets I have ever come across.

It would be right opposite this store an possibly threatened by it.

There's also an excellent butcher, peter James just down the road and a good independent wine shop, as already mentioned, amongst others.

We don't want yet another damn Tescos.

The big Tescos are OK if they stay in their place, and, up to now, I haven't had a grudge against the company but there are so many smaller crappy tescos opening up I am getting in fighting mode. This is developing into a nice little high street and a useless tescos is the last thing it needs. What is the point of opening lots of small useless stores and ruining other people's livelihood and making everything look really tacky? (No doubt the good honest fare person will think differently but they can fek off)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Budgens make Marks Spencer look like a discounter but without the quality. It is very expensive.

spincat said...

No it isn't - I spend £60 per week on food for 2 including cat food for 2 cats. To do that I shop around and use Lewisham market and the turkish food shops a lot but I also go to Budgens a lot and find plenty of bargains.

Tamsin said...

The point is that they can continue their battle with Sainsbury's for the hearts, minds and purses of the GPB.

Brockley Nick said...

@Spincat

Budgens isn't an independent, it's AN Other chain, albeit a well-done one.

Peter James could suffer a bit I guess, but it's a high-quality specialist, that should continue to attract a discerning and loyal following.

Mr Lawrence is the same. There are lots of places to buy a bottle of wine in Crofton Park, but nothing else like them.

Gnome said...

Stokes Croft/ Crofton Park? Are the two by any chance related? I think we should be told.

If Tesco are opening because they've seen that CP is a viable area due to the success of Budgens and the CoOp, then that's bad form imo. I wouldn't have minded if they'd have the cojones to open fifteen years ago when CP could have done with a decent mini-market, but to ride on the coat-tails of those two smaller businesses and present (unfair) competition by virtue of their size is a no-no. Still, that's Tescofication!


Anyway, I'll still buy my booze from Mr Lawrence. In most cases, their wine is just as inexpensive, or more so, than the fortified fruit juices you end up with from the supermarkets.

spincat said...

Yes, it is quite right to pick me up on that, Nick. I think Budgens are all franchises - certainly it is run by the same local family that once ran a small local newagent on the site. I should have said Independently-minded. It isn't quite like any other Budgens I've been in and it is thoughtfully stocked. I would think they are good enough to survive Tescos, given how crap the small Tescos stores are.

local shopper said...

As a local shopper, when I'm in Crofton Park the one thing I don't ever think is "we could really do with Tesco Express round here". It's just not needed.

Anonymous said...

Tescos is clearly going after the corner shops market. why is Tescos getting all the new below-residential sites? Does anyone know

Anonymous said...

Budgen's is a franchise, but is owned by Jay, he's been there for over 31 years,even open on Christmas day!

Tescos will kill the independence, we must support independent retailers, they should allow smaller shops in the space below the flats.
Like HOnoar OAk

Brockley Nick said...

McDonald's are all franchises too. Doesn't mean they're independent.

Brockley Nick said...

By the way, nothing against Budgens - I like it http://bit.ly/qvPo3H

Anonymous said...

I think Jay and his family will see them off. They're incredibly well regarded locally.

Lou Baker said...

The point is, surely, that good local retailers have nothing to fear from a small Tesco.

Tesco Express is fine for the basics - but if you want quality meat or veg or wine then you'll be unlucky.

That gives good local butchers, greengrocers and wine merchants the chance to attract the new convenience shoppers that a Tesco will bring.

Sure, it is bad news for bad retailers. But then why would anyone want to protect bad shops?

Plus, of course, there'll be a few dozen local jobs - which is no bad thing.

Happyish shopper said...

Presumably Budgens have some volition over what their branch stocks, and the pricing structures? Have found it a much more pleasant place to shop than the Tesco on Lewisham way, both because of what I can buy there and because of the staff. Seems like a place that cares about what it is doing, and the customer, much in contrast to Tesco.

Happyish shopper said...

Also, just in case anyone is monitoring these sites for local opinion, etc...would suggest adding an option on your poll along the lines of, 'I use the Tesco superstores, but think Crofton Park doesn't need this and am happy with the options already there...' (sorry, that need to be snappified!)

J.R. Shakerley said...

Brockley is known for its diversity of establishments - introduce this Tesco and Brockley will be like any other area, with merely 'token' places (which will shut down soon enough because they can't compete) and yet multiple Tescos. Please, oh please, don't say this is really happening. There are too many Tescos already (guardian.co.uk/business/2011/sep/07/tesco-superstore-harrogate-final-postcode)! Can we get a replacement 'Shop on the Hill'-esque establishment instead? I appreciate that some might find Tesco cheaper than other shops (actually - comparing prices might be a bad idea: guardian.co.uk/money/blog/2011/sep/16/tesco-shopping-supermarket-prices-check-writing), but there's a reason behind the low prices - bad work conditions, bad rearing conditions, cheap labour, unfair trading, and corruption. I hope Darren Johnson is already aware of this - it's just devastating to Brockley after what's already happening with the Green effort against Tesco in other local areas (lewisham.greenparty.org.uk/localsites/lewisham/news/Greens-call-for-rethink-on-Tesco-expansion-plans.html). I have an inkling that I know what the next agenda at Mr Lawrence with the Lewisham Green Drinks will be.

KW said...

Lou Baker said...

The point is, surely, that good local retailers have nothing to fear from a small Tesco.

This has probably been discussed elsewhere already, but here you're assuming a certain level of freedom and rationality on the part of the public, right?

Simply put, the average person is probably more likely to pick Tesco over a local business out of sheer habit - regardless of the relative advantages of either one. The local businesses suffer because they don't have the chance to market their shops with the relentlessness that Tesco have.

Equally, butchers, greengrocers and wine merchants will lose out because people will choose the convenience of getting their stuff quickly over getting better quality. So it won't be a matter of bad retailers going under, but those who can't offer the same levels of convenience and clinical familiarity. I don't think either of these qualities are necessarily good for a local community.

The way people 'decide' to vote with their wallets isn't inherently good for their own well-being or for that of their communities. So which should we be trying to protect?

Tamsin said...

Like the advertising in the unexpected cold snap last year that they obvisouly had bought by pre-arrangement on the weather.co.uk website giving a link to their Tesco Express storefinder.

One has to admire the on-the-ball thinking of someone in their publicity department, but I was actually deeply shocked by the ruthless opportunism of such a move at such a time. And the implicit deception - don't ask your neighbour and find a corner shop one block away - stagger three blocks to us, the brand you "trust" - and we will forget to tell you that although you think you are getting a mini-supermarket in fact the prices are higher and the choice far less, after all "every little helps" in our war with Sainsbury's for top spot.

mehh! said...

I don't mind a Tesco store! I don't mind a chain store. Controversial - I know - so sue me! Budgens is ok. Coop is nothing special, it feels like it has so much potential but doesn't quite deliver. Everything in moderation; a balance of independent and otherwise. I am not obligated to mediocre stores just because they've been there for years or they sell wholefoods! Sometimes an area needs a shake up and it forces those that remain to up the ante and not just impose sub par service/goods to people simply because there isn't another choice. The genuinely good offerings will be able to retain customer loyalty.

Gravity Mong said...

What the Crofton Park area needs is a large Costcutter. Don't oyu love the overpriced faux cheese and reconstituted meat products?

Crofton Park, to me, is just one massive rancid saveloy carved up into little terraces of doom with plastic windows.

Bring on the NISA range of Specialty Pies!

spincat said...

Although I am objecting to this development, I like many supermarkets (until recently that included Tescos) and many chains - and I shop in them regularly, probably about 50-50 with markets and local shops. I only went off Tescos when they went so aggressively into the local store area. I imagine that is probably true of many of the people who protest about them. Not everyone have an 'either or attitude' to these things.

Brockley Nick said...

But Spincat, we made them adopt this strategy. We said that out of town developments encouraged car use and killed high streets, so we (rightly in my view) put constraints on their expansion.

The upshot is that they are now expanding on the high street, which in my view is vastly preferable. Instead of driving, people walk. Instead of deserting the high street, people are using them again (and popping next door to other shops, cafes, etc in the process). And since the vast majority of existing mini-markets and small supermarkets are crap, they are raising standards. I still don't understand why people are happy to ignore the fact that places like Costcutter, Co-Op, Budgens, Spar and the like are also supermarket chains that have been competing on the high street for years.

Lou Baker said...

@kw

If people don't behave rationally, so be it.

Tesco is a successful business because people shop there.

If they didn't like it, they'd shop somewhere else.

It's silly - and snobbish - to dismiss something because it's popular.

Benedict Cucumberpatch said...

Cycling down to Sainsburys in Lee, I notice there's a new Tesco local at the end of Ladywell near the Turkish Food shop. How long's that been there (the Tesco)?

O. B. Servant said...

A couple of months ...

patrick1971 said...

I still think the most amazing thing about all this is that the demolition has already taken place, and not even of a full building, of half a building! Whatever is put there will look ridiculous. Total arrogance from the developer and I hope they're slapped down.

Comerford said...

I think this Tesco will encourage me to use Peter James & other shops there more, whilst I am down there.

jwhpage said...

This is bad news. I'm with NIMBY. What the high street needs is a good espresso machine before 9:30 AM. Aladdin's was a joke, star is ..ew. And everything else opens in the afternoon. Another grocery store is just crap.

KW said...

Lou Baker said...

It's silly - and snobbish - to dismiss something because it's popular.

Yes, it is. But is it so silly - and snobbish - to dismiss something because of its poor welfare standards, poor environmental record, links to child labour, the abuse of workers along the supply chain, and so on?

So to rephrase what you wrote...

If people choose to support an exploitative company, so be it.

Really?

Frankly, people just aren't aware of the implications of where they decide to shop (often through no particular fault of their own). As consumers, we've become rather desensitised to the ethical ambiguity of shopping at a store like Tesco because of its becoming a household name, its professional image and so on...

So do we continue to let people freely - if naively - support an exploitative company, or do we point out those issues before it gets planning permission?

The other issue I have is that we're looking at it with a certain short-sighted moral consequentialism. In other words, it's easy to see the immediate benefits of employing a dozen or so local kids (at least in economic terms) but there are a whole range of wider and more complex issues that are easily dismissed because one can't provide cold, hard statistics in the same way.

So, what longer-term problems might arise from draining the resources in the area? (Yes, I do believe Mr Lawrence and co will lose out to a certain degree, perhaps even significantly so) Will the employees at Tesco feel connected to their local environment or will they feel under appreciated and isolated? What happens if we continue to make those employees feel like they have absolutely no personal investment in their company? What does it do to somebody to make them feel as if the only personal gratification their job gives them is its measly economic benefit? What happens if, as consumers, we become further and further removed from the sources of our food, from the people who supply us, from the consequences of our economic actions? What does it do to the area to make a larger proportion of its high street a carbon copy of any other?

Of course, there aren't any simple answers to those questions - they're complex, subtle issues. But they're problematic ones, I think. They'll be bulldozed out of the way by planning regulators because they can't be resolved by simple statistical one-liners. But the longer we refuse to discuss them seriously, the more likely we are to inadvertently create for ourselves a whole series of tangled problems with no easily identifiable solutions.

Hugh said...

If you lot admitted to yourselves that political views are, universally, based on putting oneself first, these threads could be a lot shorter.

Most people are aware that many big businesses have a human or environmental cost somewhere overseas. I can't remember ever seeing that get in the way of an iPod purchase.

KW said...

God, you're so right. Whatever was I thinking?

Brockley Nick said...

@KW

I agree with you that it is a good thing to have businesses in the area where the managers and employees feel a connection with the local area.

I also agree with you that it is important for people to have an understanding of where their food comes from.

On the first point, I agree that it is unlikely that Tesco staff will feel the same degree of affinity with their location as - say - Mr Lawrence staff do. However, I would say the vast majority of local businesses already in Brockley don't feel a great kindred spirit with the area. So this is not some kind of great watershed moment. Most of the Tesco employees will probably be local people and places like Budgens show that you can run a big chain and still develop a connection with the community. Maybe the franchise model helps in this respect - Domino's is also a franchise, btw.

On point two, I would argue that supermarkets do more to educate their customers about supply chain issues than most indepedent food retailers. We have a handful of retailers in the area that take responsible sourcing seriously, but not many and even they don't do a lot to explain the issues to customers, other than using labels like Organic and Fairtrade as shorthand, which is exactly what shops like Tesco do. They also do far more to improve supply chain sustainability than any independent retailer has the resources to do. If you want to change the fishing industry, for example, do you lobby your local fishmonger, or do you lobby Tesco?

Anonymous said...

"political views are, universally, based on putting oneself first"

Not really, many have individual liberty at their core but also recognise that to have as much liberty as possible there has to be a certain amount control so that others liberty does not impact the individual adversly. Difficult isn't it Hugh? for example, why can't I drive my car at 80mph in London? it's my car, it's my life. Because it puts others at risk and infringes their rights to a reasonable degree of safety. A bit GCSE but when it comes to emotional inteligence and empathy you are at the pre-teen stage of development.

Crofty said...

I do nightshift so can't get to the meeting but I wish I could. That side of Crofton Park really is amazingly architecturally united - very 1930s, can in fact in the housing areas feel like a film set sometimes. People mightn't all appreciate it now, but in 100 years I'm sure they will. So really is devastating that they have just ripped down half a building and want to put a huge lumbering out-of-place block in its place.

I hope the Tesco thing doesn't distract from the other objections to the project. Mind you it does rub salt in the wounds. I love the Crofton Park parade, and as lots of us did I went out semi-patrolling during the riots just to keep an eye on things and to be sure places like Budgens were OK. Would be a shame if the Council planners manage to do more damage to that much-loved business than the rioters did. There is just no doubt that the area does not need another mini-supermarket, and the only reason it would have to be there is because Tesco is affronted that it's not getting its regulation slice of the business in the area, which it seems to think is its god-given right.

Toby CPR said...

Will the 16 year old in Tescos manage eye contact let alone know the kids by name as is the case with Jay in Budgens and his friendly chatty staff?

I don't think 3 for £10 on Lambrini or a 24 bottle case of Wife-beater should affect Mr Lawrence too much, but even so, Mr Tesco can f*** right off in his deliberately ill considered post-modern ivory tower.

Barbara said...

Just had a chat to Jay at Budgens and it sounds like the whole demolition has been a real farce. When they started work bringing the old building down a few weeks ago, the planning guy in charge, Steve Isaacson, was alerted. He said No, it isn't coming down - they haven't got permission, so don't worry. When demolition continued, he was called again - but he was going on holidays next day and said he'd get onto it when he got back. When he got back, he was busy. He's only just come to see what's happened - and sure enough, the entire half of the old building is gone.

Meanwhile the poor chemist whose building has been knocked in half and who now has plastic down the side of his shop instead of brick has got solicitors and all sorts involved because they've been so badly hit. Whole thing is a scandal.

KW said...

Nick -

You're right - a lot of businesses in the area probably don't feel so closely connected to their surroundings as Mr Lawrence. It's not an issue limited to Tesco, by any means. Nonetheless, I find it difficult to imagine how Tesco as a business (in its current form) could ever integrate itself successfully into the community or local area, whereas some of the smaller businesses could, in theory. Can't comment on Budgens myself - I've never been in, but by the sounds of it, the franchise model is a better one in that regard.

As for the second point - I agree, it's true that many independent stores don't give a lot of information about their sourcing policies. Again, it isn't a problem limited to Tesco. But there are a number of reasons why I think Tesco is at fault. It continues to stock and sell a huge number of products with incredibly dubious supply chains. Perhaps simply because of the scale of the business and the framework on which it has grown, it's now heavily reliant on other businesses whose policies leave a lot to be desired. I honestly don't know if it would be possible for a business the size of Tesco to reinvent its sourcing policy to the extent it ought to. Perhaps it can, but it'd probably take a serious amount of time to do so. And it might be argued that in the long run that has a greater effect, as I think you were doing. Honestly, I don't have have a comprehensive answer either way. Nonetheless, I'll admit I'm very wary of the problems associated with businesses of that size and the economic models on which they've been established. I'm not convinced that a reinvention of the Tesco business model could resolve many of the other underlying issues with the company. I'll have a think about it.

I suppose it boils down to the fact that I'd much rather see a smaller business set up that could instantly integrate itself into the area and operate with sound policies, than a Tesco that isn't likely to budge on any of those issues enough for decades to come. We've got enough Tescos to be lobbying if that's the best advantage there is to it.

As for the demolition news, sounds pretty farcical if it's true.

Anonymous said...

Could the recent spate of Tesco stores that have opened in the borough be related to the meetings between the council and Tesco re Catford Mews?

Alison said...

Have just commented on this under "Brockley Road" heading. Please read that if you have time. Thanks.

Danja said...

I remember it, and am going to make the not too rash assumption that as it was very unremarkable verging on dead ugly it was not listed.

So is (was ) it a conservation area, and if so is there an Article 4 direction restricting demolition?

If not, demolition does not require planning permission. It's planning permission, not unplanning permission.

Anonymous said...

so, permission has been rejected and no one has been talking about it here. It's funny how people get all worked up over something then completely forget about it..

Brockley Nick said...

No, they're not talking about here, because they talked about it on the relevant thread:

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.com/2011/11/crofton-park-supermarket-plans-rejected.html

Funny that

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