Who’s kidding who over Stoke Newington’s Sainsbury’s proposal

Drop in consultation at Abneyy Hall Photo: Nell Greenhill. Click to enlarge image

If there is one thing trendy white urban middle classes (affectionately known as WUMC’s) in London like, it’s a good fight on their own turf when they feel threatened by big corporations or local government. Inspired in part by snobbery, it’s tribalism with a hint of smugness, and self-entitlement thrown in with a pinch of hypocrisy, sort of like what’s galvanising them currently in Stoke Newington. Although I must warn you, the Stoke Newington posse is a whole ‘nother animal and after quite a long spell of nothing big to fight for, this is like manna from heaven to them.  Remember the idiotic fight against having a Nandos on Church Street?

Nando’s wasn’t ‘sustainable’ enough for these lot in 2008.

But I mustn’t be to too heavy on the Stokey chattering and upwardly mobile set, it seems others also want to make hay out of this. The Hackney Lib Dems have weighed in and have started up an on line petition and who can blame them…it could be a vote catcher. Surprisingly even Hackney Unites has weighed in, and sundry collection of activists and usual suspect are positioning themselves.  Aided by Facebook and Twitter, they can also count on the ‘jump on the band wagon brigade’ to sign up.

Since word about a new 24,00 square feet Sainsburys store on the high street and Wilmer Place (off Church Road) began to spread in early June, the usual suspects have been very vocal and in a short time organized themselves into several Facebook groups and even a website to say no to the development. It includes 44 residential units (including a proportion of affordable homes), subterranean parking space for up to 94 vehicles, that will be available to Stoke Newington town centre and Sainsbury’s shoppers alike.

Despite Sainsbury’s development creating 200 new jobs, they don’t want it to go ahead and for once I am partly in agreement with the WUMC’s and NIMBY’s of Stoke Newington. I say partly because while I find the the idea of  another Sainsburys within a mile of 4 other large supermarkets and several mini Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s abhorrent, they have to realise they do not speak for all of Stoke Newington.

We certainly can do without another Sainsbury’s, but in a borough as deprived as Hackney, can we do without the 200 plus job opportunities it or another similar project will provide? A new Sainsbury’s replaced what was a Sommerfield’s a mile away in Stamford Hill earlier this year and an Asda has took over Netto on Stamford Hill Broadway a few weeks ago. Coincidentally the site of the new Asda was a Sainsbury’s back in the 1980’s.

Residents looking over the Wilmer Place plans at Abney Hall. Photo Nell Greenhill

If you ask me, the objections have everything to do with the value of the homes and the cultural, social, and economic hegemony that Stoke Newington’s middle-class have created – they will wage battle on anyone or group, they feel threatens their insular urban “village” life and their over exaggerated romanticism of Stoke Newington.

Another reminder, the part of Stoke  Newington they like to refer to as a village, is not a village. It’s part of a very diverse borough called Hackney where many have no use for many of the businesses on Church Street. Ironically ‘diverse’ is a word they conveniently throw around when waging war on developers or businesses they don’t want on their turf.

Stokey purists may not like the description or the generalization, but you have to admit the “Stokey set” are caricatures of themselves:

“The time has come to strike a balance, and stop the erosion of local identities”, waxes writer Mike Pollitt, a Tower Hamlet resident and friend of Stokey,  in a piece he recently wrote. ” Stokey is a place of prams and health shops, organic smoothies and tofu sandwiches. That is its nature, and like any community identity it’s worth fighting to protect. It’s time to take a stand.”  Pollitt pretty much echos the protesters mantra.

But I feel It’s time the Stokey purist’s wake up and realise that Stoke Newington is for EVERYBODY, not just a segment who want an exclusive enclave of over-priced stores and those who oppose chain stores or big corporations. Sure, protecting small local independent businesses is paramount in any community, but I feel a few big names is a nice balance and will introduce much needed foot traffic to Church Street businesses. Claiming big corporations only inflate commercial rent in Stoke Newington is a poor excuse. Church Street’s uppity businesses have already taken care of that.

Parker’s resident kitties Ollie and Rocky, have stole my heart. Photo: www.duchessofhackney.wordpress.com

On a recent foray, I stopped off at two of my favorite shops on the High Street, Parkers Pet Shop (who by the way DO NOT sell animals) and The Cookery a butchers where I shop weekly, for my meats. Staff at both shops agreed there wasn’t a need for another Sainsbury’s on the High Street although, they were not certain how much it would affect their business.  My view?  Judging by the long lines I’ve seen outside The Cookery there isn’t a chance Sainsbury’s will be taking away any of their business, after all its customers already have a choice of other outlets including the Sainsbury’s in Dalston and Morrison’s less than a mile away, yet we choose our local high street butcher and always will.As for Parker’s, they provide a selection of pet supplies that I yet have to see in any supermarket in the UK.

When I cook my native Nigerian and West Indian dishes it’s Ridley market and local shops I go to buy my plantains, sweet potatoes, stock fish, pounded yam, egusi seeds, palm oil and dried craw fish not a supermarket chain.  The selection of fruits sold on our high streets, especially those grown in the tropics, is incomparable. Again, super markets just can’t compete with their selection and the only real competition they have are each other.

Asda in Stamford Hill was once the site of a Sainsbury’s. Photo: Remi Makinde


About Remi

Remi Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned to London, happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. It sometimes feels like she’s still at war with herself. This often leads her into a whole lot of trouble, although it’s fair to blame it on some of her best qualities: intelligence, original thinking, willingness to take risks, skepticism, rebelliousness, independence, and creativity. But you know what, much of the trouble she gets into is because she can’t help pointing out that the emperor is naked. Remi still lives by her own rules, nobody else’s. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell ) Darcy (a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix now deceased but can’t remove their names) and two Short Hair British Domestic Black cats she adopted December 2021, Desmond and Tutu and Dixie, a Tabby she rescued last summer who had been a stray kitten. She is proprietor of London’s finest and long established pet sitting service. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.


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48 Responses to "Who’s kidding who over Stoke Newington’s Sainsbury’s proposal"

  1. Who’s kidding who? Well for starters you’ve obviously kidding yourself about everyone else being smug & self righteous. Good score on middle class self hate bingo, ‘chattering classes’ ‘middle class’ as pejorative, ‘smug’ ‘snobbery’, ‘self entitlement’, almost the complete set. I’m sure a Guardian column awaits you.
    The tendency of some SN residents to slag off SN and other residents for usually nothing more than valuing the fact the place does retain something unique has become tedious in the extreme. I would imagine most people who’ve chosen to live in N16 do so because of the ‘villagey feel’ you choose to sneer at. To suggest any attempt to retain that is no different to you average nimbyist tendencies is rubbish, no matter how much might cause people to roll their eyes. SN is different to much of London, and long may it remain that way. I bet any money it’s probably what you value as well, just that you consider yourself superior for being self aware enough to realise how ‘pretentious’ it all is. Why anyone should apologise for wanting to retain SN’s individuality is beyond me. Anyway, who are you lecture people about what it means for the area to be for ‘everyone’? Hackney has improved as a place to live for a majority of it residents, although I know that doesn’t fit with the politically correct view of the changes being merely gentrification benefiting the well off (ironically it’s usually urban middleclass people moaning about it’s effects).

    It’s easy to mock others for their motivation being ‘wrong’ but somehow your self awareness exempts you from such criticism. I’m not involved in any campaign, but I do have sympathy for them. As for the Sainsbury, I doubt it’ll be the end of world but it is another example of the creep this country seems unwilling control, the end result being homogonous high streets. Will that happen in N16? Immediately, no of course not but it doesn’t mean the negative effects aren’t real, and doesn’t mean it won’t have long term effects. It’s also easy to sight the 200 jobs but things are rarely so straight forward. Has anyone considered the effects on the wider economy? I imagine the major effect of such a large supermarket will be not on businesses owned by WUMC people, by the Turkish owned ones. You know, the independently owned businesses it’s a bit harder to sneer at, as its ordinary working class Hackney residents that own and run them.

    Middle class navel gazing comes in many forms, and a campaign against yet another supermarket is far from the worst of them.

    Comment by Resident on 21/07/2011 at 11:05 am

  2. @ Resident you appear to have taken things personally, Is there a reason why and are you sure you are not involved in the campaign?

    Comment by Hugh Rickworth on 21/07/2011 at 7:35 pm

  3. Hi Remi

    I’m involved in the Stokey Local campaign and I thought it was worth responding with a few thoughts about your article on Hackney Hive today. My feeling is that you are mischaracterising the views of the people involved: this campaign is not simply about Church Street and property prices.

    We don’t pretend to speak for the whole community. As the strapline to the Stokey Local website says it is “A community response”, not “The community response”. We’ve only been in existence for a little over 3 weeks, so haven’t quite managed to talk to everyone in Stoke Newington about the development yet, but we’re working on it and we’re certainly keen to hear from as many people as possible.

    Our response is just one of many that local residents will have had, but judging by the petition (which can be found in more than 30 shops on the High Street and Church Street as well as on this website), the feedback from shopkeepers and the reaction to the consultation, we align with a substantial section of the community.

    We have pulled together a map of the shops within half a mile of the site that would, to a greater or lesser extent, be in competition with a new supermarket. From that map you can clearly see that the grocery retail heart of Stoke Newington is the High Street rather than Church Street. This is where the core of day-to-day Stoke Newington life is played out, and to suggest that we are only concerned about Church Street is quite wide of the mark.

    New jobs are without a doubt hugely important at the moment, especially in Hackney, but it’s worth digging a bit deeper into the figure of “200 new jobs” that the developer and Sainsbury’s are claiming will be brought to the area. The nature of the UK planning system means that they are only required to declare how many jobs they will bring to the area, they don’t need to consider the impact on net jobs in the wider local economy.

    Firstly this figure of 200 jobs does not represent full time equivalent jobs but is a mix of part time and full time jobs. At the consultation it was claimed that around 60% would be part time and 40% would be full time. We haven’t dug into that number yet to see if it stacks up with other supermarkets but we intend to do so, as the representatives of Sainsbury’s and the developer couldn’t manage to come up with a number of FTEs at the time.

    Secondly there is the important question of whether the existing Sainsbury’s Local would remain open given that it is located just a few minutes stroll from the site. We don’t yet know how many people are employed there but if it were to close then that would make a substantial reduction in the number of net jobs that could be generated by the development.

    Thirdly supermarkets employ far fewer people per unit of turnover than independents, and we feel that it is vitally important that the long term sustainability of the local economy and employment market should be taken into account by considering the effects on employment in the existing stores.

    You may well be right that some shops will maintain a strong customer base even with the opening of the supermarket, but others won’t and shops will close. There is a high turnover of people in London and initially loyal customers will eventually drift away, to be replaced by newcomers who perhaps don’t feel such a strong attachment to the local stores. The effects won’t be seen immediately, but over time footfall will slowly slip away from the independents towards the supermarket. Shops will start to close down and the character of our neighbourhood will slowly but surely start to melt away.

    You clearly value the independent shops that make up our community: “protecting small local independent businesses is paramount in any community, but I feel a few big names is a nice balance and will introduce much needed foot traffic to Church Street businesses”.

    Our problem is that a supermarket of this size is completely out of kilter with the existing retail makeup of the local area and it is difficult to see how the proposed development is striking a “nice balance”.




    Comment by JamieB on 21/07/2011 at 11:37 am

  4. “We don’t pretend to speak for the whole community.”

    “…the campaign reflects the whole of our community.” Stokey Local’s Debora Robertson, Evening Standard.

    Comment by Benjamin Counsell on 11/10/2011 at 3:33 pm

  5. Hi Jamie

    I took the liberty of copying it to your comment.

    Comment by Hackney Hive on 21/07/2011 at 12:01 pm

  6. Great, many thanks.

    Comment by JamieB on 21/07/2011 at 1:32 pm

  7. One point that I think you have misread. It’s the cheap independent food shops, such as the many Turkish shops, that I think people are trying to protect. Not the Whole Foods, Born or other shops where many can’t afford to shop, but will continue to attract their well-heeled customers.

    I wasn’t that bothered about the Sainsbury’s, but after reading your characterisation of people who are fighting to protect the neighbourhood’s character, I am going to pop right over and sign the petition. Better smug, middle-class fighters for some kind of authenticity than whatever cynical abandonment of hope that I read here.

    Comment by flobud on 22/07/2011 at 10:17 am

  8. Oh please spare me. How convinient of you all to use the small “Turkish shops” as a defense. They come in handy for times like this don’t they? Any other time you couldn’t give a rats ass tush about them.

    Now that’s what I call smug sanctimonoius WUMC behaviour. … You have probably signed the petition already… But of course what do I know, after all I’m just a cynical old bird.

    Comment by R Makinde on 22/07/2011 at 10:39 am

  9. Flobud states; “It’s the cheap independent food shops, such as the many Turkish shops, that I think people are trying to protect.” What rubbish!
    They didn’t give a damn when Sainsbury’s and Tesco opened up in the High St.
    Make no mistake this campaign is about Church St. “village” and keeping it exclusive – as was their anti-Nandos campaign.

    Comment by Ben on 27/07/2011 at 8:27 am

  10. It might help if some of you purchase a sense of humour from one of the Turkish shops.

    What do you mean they don’t sell them ? 🙂

    Comment by Torbjorn Halvsted on 22/07/2011 at 11:57 am

  11. You’ve really some nerve accusing other of being smug & sanctimonious with comments like that.

    Who are you to tell people what they supppsedly do or don’t care about, or to question their motives given they’re likely to be complete strangers .

    I imagine I’m a fairly typical local resident in that I use the local Turkish shops daily, use the little Sainsbury’s/tesco’s as well, and occasionally the Whole Foods, and at present all seem able to pretty happily coexist. Eat in some of posh places on Church St, but far mroe reguarly on cafes on the High street.

    The notion that anyone who happens to be white and not poor simply cares abouts the post shop on Church street is not only wrong, but pretty offensive. You only wander round SN to see the accusation of some sort of shoppining apartheid between ‘trendy’ white middle class resident and supposedly propery hackney resident is cobblers.

    Anyway, who exactly appointed you spokesperson for the poor & down trodden of Hackney? You’re obviously welcome to your opinion, but you seem incapable of reconigising you’re doing exactly what you’re accusing others of with a string of cliched opinions of people you seem to view yourself as morally superior to.

    I could accuse you of not giving a ‘rats tush’ about the people of Hackney either, but simply grabbing and opportunity to have a pop at everyone’s favourite target middle class people.

    Jobs vs protecting the character of an area is complex, as is supermarkets effect on the wider economy. Gentrification and regeneration of an of an area vs the needs of resident commiuunity is complex. We all live in the area, and I’d rather assume we all care about it, rather than cynically assume a certain group are simply acting out of self interest.

    You might want to try and get your head round that, and understand people’s motivations before passing judgement, as you might discover your kneejerk cliches are simply that.

    Comment by Resident on 22/07/2011 at 12:02 pm

  12. You have no idea how much you are amusing me. Me morally superior? If only you knew.

    Comment by Remi Makinde on 22/07/2011 at 12:21 pm

  13. “Gentrification and regeneration of an of an area vs the needs of resident commiuunity is complex”.
    And you’re going to define the needs of the resident community on their behalf are you?

    Comment by Ben on 26/07/2011 at 6:30 pm

  14. Then stop judging people you don’t know based on assumed motivations, that just fit tired prejudices.

    I’m glad we’re all amused, as your inabiliy to see you’re exhibiting the very traits you’re attacking others over is amusing me.

    Comment by Resident on 22/07/2011 at 3:10 pm

  15. “Stokey purists may not like the description or the generalization, but you have to admit the “Stokey set” are caricatures of themselves”

    Haa Haa, how refreshing to read something other than a commentary kowtowing to the so minded populace of Hackney.

    Comment by Lapsed Agnostic on 24/07/2011 at 8:53 am

  16. I sure you won’t be convinced but I haven’t taken anything personally, and I’m not involved in the campaign, haven’t even signed the petition as yet but probably will. It’s simply that kneejerk cynicism pisses me off, far too much of it around, & far too many people patting thesmelves on the back for being contrary for the sake of it.

    I’m more than happy for there to be a debate, as this is a complex issue and of course SN isn’t simply for well healed, or just about posh shops on Church Street.

    What I object to is someone clearly not interested in debate, or indeed even the issues but simply making smug points about people they’re happy to put labels on. It’s the lack of irony, at accusing everyone else of being ‘self righteous’ ‘snobbish’ etc whilst dealing in stereotypes.

    You can see it above ‘stokey purists’ the ‘stokey set’, yawn. Who are these people, does such a thing even exist, or we just talking about fashionable cliches. At least you’re not like THOSE PEOPLE is what typifies these response. Who’s being smug and self righteous, middleclass people exist get over it, itsn’t some crime (plus my money is on the people putting the boot in not exactly being socially and economically excluded themselves)?

    It’s simple and very popular these to a take cynical view about anything like this, and much easier than acknowledging that many people of many different backgrounds might just care about where they live, regardless of their skin colour or level of income.

    Does anyone actually know that a concern for all Hackney residents hasn’t infused the protest, or have people simply jumped to conclusions & made assumptions based on who they’ve assumed’s involved?

    Rather than it being ‘refreshing to read’ it’s actually become a boring reactionary cliche. The standard response to anything about SN & Hackney is that’s it full of ‘trendies’, and ‘hipsters’ and ‘self absorbed Guardian readers’, and there’s no shortage of people queuing up to have a go and prove how different & superior they are.

    This blog could easily have actually addressed some issues, put across and alternative pov and started a debate about something important (presuming we all do actually care about our community), but within it’s first sentence it shows it’s more interested in another cynical attack and personal attack on a particular group of people that’s it’s become fashionable to ridicule.

    Comment by Resident on 24/07/2011 at 3:47 pm

  17. You ask; “Does anyone actually know that a concern for all Hackney residents hasn’t infused the protest, or have people simply jumped to conclusions & made assumptions based on who they’ve assumed’s involved?”
    The campaign obviously isn’t concerned for “all Hackney residents” because a significant number of those residents will freely choose to shop at the new Sainsburys if they’re given the chance. In fact, that is precisely what troubles Stokey Local so much; the fact that it will be so popular amongst the local community.

    Comment by Ben on 26/07/2011 at 8:39 am

  18. I too am very suspicious of this opposition group. Some of their arguments just don’t make sense. They claim that the area has plenty of supermarkets already and therefore the “community” (ie people who agree with them) has no need for another one. Then in the next breath they say that a new supermarket will be so popular that it will put other businesses on the scrap heap. You can’t have it both ways. Furthermore, why do they only get uppity when it comes to larger businesses that cater for poorer people? There is certainly a glut of middle class deli/cafes and new arrivals will take business from others and some will – and have – closed, but I’ve never witnessed any fuss about a new deli/cafe opening. The reason is because they cater to their “kind of people”, who share the same middle-class cultural values and that makes them feel good. The Stokey Local group is in effect little more than a protection racket for the petit bourgeois shopkeepers of the area with the view of keeping the more affluent catered for at the expense of the poor of hackney who can’t afford to shop in one of its main commercial streets. That is what is at the root of opposition to Nandos and Sainsburys – keep the poor away from Church Street.

    Comment by Ben on 26/07/2011 at 8:02 am

  19. Hi Ben

    I’m sure there will be a significant number of people in Stoke Newington who would like the convenience of a new, large supermarket, but the views we are communicating are not contradictory.

    The question of whether a supermarket is needed is very important, indeed until it was axed a few years ago, it used to be a key part of the planning process. Some areas of the country are badly served in terms of grocery retail and so an early step in the campaign was to assess whether this was the case in Stoke Newington and we concluded that it was not the case.

    The Morrison’s located a few minutes walk away on Stamford Hill is a large supermarket which supplies everything you could reasonably need under one roof at reasonable prices. On the High Street, independents provide a wide range of groceries, most notably very cheap and high quality fruit and veg, and the existing Sainsbury’s and Tesco can fill in the few gaps in groceries that the local stores don’t provide. Finally the delis, Whole Foods and farmer’s market cater for organic produce and the higher end of the market.

    In total there are well over 60 businesses within a half mile radius of the site which are already fulfilling exactly what a new Sainsbury’s would do, so I don’t think it’s controversial to adopt the position that there isn’t a need for this supermarket and that Stoke Newington is very well catered for in terms of grocery supply.

    However clearly Sainsbury’s must believe that they can make money out of this supermarket or they wouldn’t have gone ahead with the idea. The key point here is that they are very well resourced and don’t need to make money immediately.

    They can quite happily sit there undercutting everyone, losing money if needs be, gradually drawing footfall away from the existing High Street grocery stores (and Morrison’s) until they go under, safe in the knowledge that as the High Street collapses they will be able to mop up the rest of the custom because there will be little alternative. It’s happened in many communities around the country and it is this that we are trying to avoid.

    Why is there little fuss when a fancy deli or cafe opens? I think it’s more to do with the fact that their turnover will be small so they don’t have the capacity to ruin the High Street and they are catering to a particular market and will therefore only poach custom from other high end retailers.

    Comment by JamieB on 26/07/2011 at 10:10 am

  20. Oh I see… you want a tiny minority of predominantly more affluent residents to define what is meant by “need” rather than the poorer members of the community who would most benefit from this modern commercial store. How very community spirited of you!
    Commerce always has and always will evolve and I see no reason why we should stop letting consumers shop wherever they want to – something your campaign obviously finds abhorent. Why should commercial evolution stop at some arbitary point defined by a tiny minority?
    I notice that the campaign has recently appeared very keen (for obvious reasons) to present itself as not being primarily concerned about Church Street. I don’t think this claim holds much water since you hold your meetings in Church St, all the photos on your Facebook pages are of Church Street, but most importantly, you didn’t create a similar campaign when either the Sainsbury’s or Tesco Metro were opened on the High Rd.
    I still say that it is snobbery that is your driving force. I had a chat with one of your signatories the other day and when I asked whether she thought the same fuss would be made if the proposal was for a Waitrose rather than a Sainsbury’s, she conceded “probably not”.

    Comment by Ben on 26/07/2011 at 5:31 pm

  21. Hi Ben

    In my experience, Morrison’s tends to be a fair bit cheaper than Sainsbury’s and we already have one just up the road from the proposed site.

    One reason for there not being a campaign against the existing Sainsbury’s and Tesco could be connected to their scale – these are small shops without car parking facilities and so can only have a limited impact on the local economy, transport etc. The proposed development is a lot larger and would necessarily have a much greater impact.

    But if you have evidence that points to this development having a positive impact on Stoke Newington then please get in touch via the website – we’d be very interested to hear about it.

    Finally just to clarify there have been three general meetings so far, held at Cafe Mostra on the High Street, the Boiler house on the George Downing Estate and St Mary’s Church Hall on Defoe Rd.



    Comment by JamieB on 26/07/2011 at 9:39 pm

  22. I’m only becoming aware that the Sainsburys in Dalston, may be demolished if plans for the site that houses Kingsland Shopping Centre goes ahead.

    If so, it would mean one less Sainsbury’s within the vicinity, meaning the N16 one will be replacing the Dalston one, just a wee bit up the road.

    Also some of you may not remember or be aware that the Kingsland Sainsbury’s, replaced another one that was where the Peacock Store now stands.

    I’m with you on Morrisons being a better shopping experience and even though the Stamford Hill Sainsbury’s is closer to me, I rather go to Morrisons.

    Comment by R Makinde on 27/07/2011 at 7:42 am

  23. “One reason for there not being a campaign against the existing Sainsbury’s and Tesco could be connected to their scale”.
    Another reason could be that they are far enough away from Church St that you didn’t deem them a threat. The litmus test would be to ask whether you would’ve opposed the opening of similar sized ‘Metro/Espress’ stores on Church St. And the obvious answer is yes of course you would. But demonstrable not further away of the High Rd because that doesn’t affect the Church St “village”.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “general” meetings, but the only public meeting listed on your site was at “Defoe Road (Church Street end)”, ie just off Church St.

    Aside from jobs, the main benefit is obvious. As you have stated yourself; “I’m sure there will be a significant number of people in Stoke Newington who would like the convenience of a new, large supermarket”. After all, it is the job of shops to serve people, not the other way around.

    Comment by Ben on 27/07/2011 at 8:02 am

  24. Hi Ben

    We have a real litmus test in the form of the 2009 application for the Wilmer Place site. This was a similar proposal but it comprised a much smaller supermarket and removal of car parking. There was no campaign when by your argument there should have been. It was rejected on conservation grounds. If you go to the Local Heritage page on the Stokey Local website you will find a link to it.

    The general meetings were to discuss the proposal and our response. There are also campaign sub-group meetings which are ongoing at the moment.

    As you say it is the job of shops to serve people but we feel that they’re doing an admirable job of it already.

    Now I have to bow out of this interaction because I am going away on holiday. It’s been interesting discussing this with you.


    Comment by JamieB on 27/07/2011 at 9:25 am

  25. Well that’s interesting. So Stokey Local wouldn’t have a problem with a Tesco Express-type store on Church Street! I confess to being amazed at that JamieB. I wonder how many of your signatories would agree.

    You state that; “As you say it is the job of shops to serve people but we feel that they’re doing an admirable job of it already.”
    And as you also say;”I’m sure there will be a significant number of people in Stoke Newington who would like the convenience of a new, large supermarket.”

    The problem is that the tiny minority represented by Stokey Local want to prevent that significant number from enjoying that convenience, and therein lies the unfairness of your campaign.

    Comment by Ben on 27/07/2011 at 2:14 pm

  26. Stokey Local isn’t a community group. It’s an anti-community group. It seeks to divide the community with the concerns of a minority to take precendence over the majority.

    Comment by Ben on 27/07/2011 at 2:25 pm

  27. “The campaign obviously isn’t concerned for “all Hackney residents” because a significant number of those residents will freely choose to shop at the new Sainsburys if they’re given the chance. In fact, that is precisely what troubles Stokey Local so much; the fact that it will be so popular amongst the local community.”

    You started well, as this at least the first at dealing in something resembling facts rather prejorative attacks on perceived stereotypes, it doesn’t of course take long till we return to…

    “The Stokey Local group is in effect little more than a protection racket for the petit bourgeois shopkeepers of the area with the view of keeping the more affluent catered for at the expense of the poor of hackney who can’t afford to shop in one of its main commercial streets. That is what is at the root of opposition to Nandos and Sainsburys – keep the poor away from Church Street.”

    A perjorative attack on stereotypes.


    Of course people will shop in it, and of course despite there being plenty of other supermarkets around it would be a commercial sucess, the Supermarkets chains wouldn’t be opening more and more branches if they’d reached saturation point.

    I don’t think anyone has ever suggested they’re speaking for everyone (I’ve certainly not heard anyone claim this), that’s your strawman.

    As is the even more laughable strawman about this being entirely about Church Street. It obviously suits you to present it in those terms, but of course there’s far more retail trade on the High Street, and are you seriously suggesting that’s all just ‘bourgeois’ shops, and will be unaffected by yet another major super opening?

    But then in respect of the non boureois shops I’ve already been told what I supposedly think, so silly me for raising it again.

    The simplistic idea that more supermarkets = a better world for the poor really doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, just as a simplistic look at the ‘200 jobs’ doesn’t either.

    If there wasn’t already two major and three smaller supermakets between the Morrison’s in Stamford Hill & the Sainbury’s in Dalston you simplistic binary arguments would probably seem pretty strong, but this isn’t about supermarkets = bad, posh shops = good no matter how many time you others repeat it.

    This issue IS COMPLEX & I’m more than happy to hear arguments from both side, but this blog & your comments are more about a cynical attack on groups of people, so at least you’re not like those snobbish middleclass class wankers, eh, whilst relying on the flimisiest of factual arguments.

    If someone write similar fact free clich crap about ‘chavs’ strewn with stereotypes about such terrible people, you’d be down on them like a ton of bricks.

    What to convince people of your pov, try presenting an actual argument rather perjorative rant. Go along to a meeting, accept the others might have a point, and engage.

    I doubt you’re interested in that though, much easier to sit back and sneer.

    Comment by Resident on 26/07/2011 at 11:07 am

  28. Hello all,

    I’d like to start by saying this conversation has led me to blog for the very first time.

    Remi have you never heard of the saying ‘If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all’? In your case it would be more fitting to say if you have nothing constructive to say, please don’t bother.

    I do most of my big weekly grocery shopping at either sainsbury’s or tesco. The worry many local residents have with the new development (and lets just get something clear, it’s not sainsbury we are anti, it’s any development of that size and kind) is that due to its proposed underground car park it will create more traffic in the area. Rather than people like me walking or taking the bus to SN at the weekend which then naturally encourages strolling into the florists, bakery, pharmacy, wine shop, newsagents, this wont be the case, people will do a one-stop-shop. Take the car to the supermarket get the bunch of daffs, bread, pick up prescription, do the lottery, get the paper, a bottle of plonk and drive home!

    It is this ‘convenience’ that will reduce foot traffic to the highstreet/Church St.

    I don’t have a car myself but the temptation to pop to sainsburys on the bus would be there, there’s already over 80 buses an hour (in peak times). Add increased bus service, delivery vans and council waste pick ups and the area will no longer be particularly pleasant to take the kids for walk and have a coffee/ dinner on the pavement.

    That’s just the start of the problems the increase of traffic will have on the area but I’m sure you are educated enough not to need them spelling out!

    Comment by simplefolk on 26/07/2011 at 11:58 am

  29. “Resident”, so many words with such little said!
    Anyway I’m pleased that you and Jaimie admit that the Sainsbury’s would be very popular amongst the community as a whole – at least that’s progress.
    Pointing out the predominant socio-economic background of a campaign group is vital context when discussing their campaign which relates to socio-economic factors. It certainly isn’t abusive. Furthermore, if you can’t tell the difference between vital references to socio-economic groupings and abusive hate-speak like “chav”, then I suggest you log-off, sober up and have a long think, before you get yourself into trouble.

    Comment by Ben on 26/07/2011 at 5:40 pm

  30. Hi,

    Im a first time commenter as well.

    I recently moved to the area and came across this article and discussion thread while looking for more information on the topic. i guess you could say im a neutral, but thats because i dont know enough about it (yet).

    all i wanted to say is that i think its disgraceful how remi and ben are behaving in this discussion. the formula seems to be – write an ‘article’ (everyone is entitled to an opinion) and then shoot everyone who comments down with irrational (bordering on abusive) comments which clearly indicate that they are not willing to listen.

    JamieB, Resident and simplefolk seem to make a lot of sense, which is unfortunate in a way, because they seem to be arguing the same point.

    I’d really like constructive comments/opinions from the other camp but it seems to me that Remi and Ben’s involvement is doing more damage to the cause than good. What a shame.

    I’ll continue seeking information elsewhere.

    Comment by newbie on 13/10/2011 at 2:32 pm

  31. “newbie”, unless you can demonstrate why the comments are “disgraceful”, “irrational” and “abusive”, you don’t seem very “neutral”.

    Comment by Benjamin Counsell on 13/10/2011 at 5:07 pm

  32. Oh, and would Remi & Ben rather than ranting about the ‘stokey set’, and their bourgeious pretection racket care to address their concerns to Stoke Newington’s labour councillors, who happen to opposing the Sainbury’s?

    Either that or care to explain if the sterotypical cliches about smug class people are true, why these Labour councillors would care take the side of a small number of posh people, against what supposedly will benefit the majority of the residents of what remains overall a fairly deprived area?

    I mean it couldn’t possibly be they’ve thought about the issues, and come to the conclusion that another supermarket might not be the best thing for the whole community including poor people?

    Nope, couldn’t be that because as we know the only people anti the sainsbury, are hypocritical, self righteous white middleclass people.

    Comment by Resident on 26/07/2011 at 12:22 pm

  33. “Resident”, councillors always tend to support more affluent residents as they are far more likely to vote.

    “I mean it couldn’t possibly be they’ve thought about the issues, and come to the conclusion that another supermarket might not be the best thing for the whole community including poor people?”
    Why don’t you trust poorer people to shop where they want to?

    Comment by Ben on 26/07/2011 at 5:43 pm

  34. I am a male who lives in Stoke Newington:

    I like independent retailers
    I value education
    I care about my local environment
    I pick up rather than drop litter
    I am considerate to my neighbours
    I read a broadsheet newspaper
    I visit galleries and museums
    I am kind to people I meet
    Violence disgusts me

    Could you tell me what class I am please ?

    Comment by tedbixely on 26/07/2011 at 2:00 pm

  35. Smug and rather silly

    Comment by mary on 31/07/2011 at 9:52 am

  36. Final point (this is getting boring, and I suspect I’m responding to people uninterested in debating issues), just saw on twitter comment that Meat16 was unconcerned about opening the Sainsbury’s.

    I presume this is supposed to evidence that the campaigners are gettingworked up about nothing?

    Well d’ah, I presume you’re aware of the concept of a strawman?

    It’s yourselves that keep claiming the campaigners are ony concerned about these sorts of businesses, the repsonse from campaign themselves being far more nuanceed.

    I imagine boutique businesses likes this aren’t under threat, but those that are being the small local business directly competing with the supermarkets, and almost certainly being undercut by them.

    Of course supermarkets makes goods affordable, but as has already been pointed out we’re not talking about anywhere being a supermarket free zone, quite the contrary. Those who wish or need to shop at supermarkets can do, and I’m sure already do (me included), but this is about much more than some simplistic economic argument.

    Despite the local presence of a number of supermarkets within a few minutes walk there’s a thriving mixed community in SN. It would be a tragedy if that was lost, and in places where supermarkets have come to dominate it has been lost (you’ll spin that whatever you see fit, but I’m sure I can guess).

    Also, I’m curious that whilst you’re quick to suggest the campaigners don’t speak for everyone (somethign they’ve never claimed for themselves it would seem), on what grounds do you claim to speak for economically disadvatanged of Hackney?

    Comment by Resident on 26/07/2011 at 2:04 pm

  37. “Resident”, where did you get the idea that I’m claiming to speak for the economically disadvantaged of Hackney? I simply believe that people should be able to shop wherever the hell they like.

    Hackney Unites however does seem to think it knows the opinion of the whole community; “Hackney Unites are supporting the community campaign to ensure that these proposals are not just rushed through against the wishes of the local population”.

    Comment by Ben on 26/07/2011 at 5:50 pm

  38. ” am a male who lives in Stoke Newington:

    I like independent retailers
    I value education
    I care about my local environment
    I pick up rather than drop litter
    I am considerate to my neighbours
    I read a broadsheet newspaper
    I visit galleries and museums
    I am kind to people I meet
    Violence disgusts me

    Could you tell me what class I am please ?”

    Smug, self righteous, hypocritical, self entitled, trendy, guardian read chattering class…OBVIOUSLY, why do you even need to ask?

    Who else could interested in those things? If you didn’t fit the abovet you’d just be interested in morte places to get cheap stuff, nach!

    Comment by Resident on 26/07/2011 at 2:11 pm

  39. In trying to keep Sainsbury’s out of Church Street, Stokey Local are in effect attempting to keep consumer prices high in order to keep the less affluent out of Church Street and maintain its exclusivity.

    Comment by Ben on 31/07/2011 at 2:42 pm

  40. Hi Remi. Thank you for saying what a lot of residents feel but don’t say anything for fear of being branded as someone who doesn’t understand or belong in Stokey. What makes these anti Sainsbury residents think they are so right? I keep hearing there are enough Supermarkets here but I for one don’t like Morrisons and am not going to walk back from Stamford Hill with bags of shopping in one hand and a child in the other. I don’t like the local shops as they are not cheap. I’m unable to work at the moment but the opportunity of getting a job in Sainsburys is much greater than my any chance of getting a job in one of the local shops that are always all family run and employ mainly family members. The main concern I have is that I can’t se how the car park can be accessed from the High St – this sounds daft. Other than that – I’d love a new Sainsburys – but I feel so marginalised (comments on this forum confirm this view) that I’d never say this on the street! So much for an “open debate.”

    Comment by Debs on 31/07/2011 at 10:24 pm

  41. As a trendy white urban middle class Stoke Newington resident could someone please tell me where I sign the petition to get Waitrose to open a branch in the area? I don’t mind occasionally rubbing shoulders with the lower orders but I do like to shop in in a slightly higher class of supermarket without all the riff raff you get in Sainsburys (I simply couldn’t even contemplate the prospect of visiting Ridley Road!) and find it’s such a bore having to drive all the way over to Holloway Road….

    Comment by Stokeyblokey on 07/08/2011 at 2:32 pm

  42. I think we should ask the local Turkish shop owners whether they want a new Sainsbury’s – as after last night, when it was apparently down to them, that Stoke Newington was not attacked by rioters, this community owes them big time! Since it seem’s we have to declare our credentials, I am a middle class girl married to a working class bloke. I shop at Shaheen’s, Sainsbury’s Local, The Cookery and fishmonger, Lemon Monkey for when I fancy a nice bit of cheese and Iceland for oven ready chips!

    Comment by get her @43 on 09/08/2011 at 7:53 pm

  43. So what, you expect, a round of f*****g applause and some kind of reward for being ‘down’ with the people for shopping at Shaheens and Iceland? Get real lady, what those Turks did is what we are meant to do, but can’t because the laws in this godforsaken country tells you, you can’t protect yourself .

    I say screw the law and do what you have to do to protect your life, home and livelihood and if some scum bag gets brain damage or dies, to f*****g bad. I’ll do my time in jail and still be able to sleep at night.

    Comment by The Duchess of Hackney on 10/08/2011 at 7:48 am

  44. I fail to see any logic whatsoever in stating that shopkeepers who protected their own shops should have some sort of veto over where the rest of us are allowed to shop. It is just as irrational as the argument of Stokey Local who think the affluents of Church Street should have such a veto. Let people shop wherever the hell they like.

    Comment by Ben on 11/08/2011 at 1:14 pm

  45. Do you think if you just endless repeat the idea the people are only in protecting Church Street shops it will stop it being illogial nonsense?

    As it’s unlikely to have any effect on them, either they’re wasting their time or you might have to admit you proejection of their supposed motives says more about you than it does about them.

    Comment by Resident on 11/08/2011 at 8:31 pm

  46. Why do you say it’s “illogical”?
    If you think a new Sainsburys will not affect Church St then you need to inform Stokey Local that their argument is illogical, not me.
    Personally, I don’t care if it affects Church St or not, so long as the whole of the community can freely choose to shop where the hell they like.

    Comment by Ben on 12/08/2011 at 7:07 am

  47. Church Street is fast becoming the only decent place in Hackney. Of course we want to protect it.

    Comment by JohnnyC on 07/10/2011 at 12:05 am

  48. And your interpretation of decent is???? Protecting it how?

    Comment by The Duchess of Hackney on 07/10/2011 at 8:36 am

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