OK, so not strictly Hampton but does anybody have any information with what's going on there? I cycled past this morning and there were signs up saying closed until further notice. Even the cows have been taken indoors.
Just took the opportunity to have a squint through the windows this morning. Looks like all stock has been removed so I assume that this is the end. I suppose it was tricky to compete with a Tesco, Sainsbury and Budgens all within yards of each other
What a shame. Although quite expensive, the produce in the Farmer's City Market was excellent for those special treats. Clearly that was not enough to keep it afloat. I expect the arrival of Sainsbury's was the final nail in the coffin. Whoever approved that planning application wants their head examining. The Sainsbury's has been next to useless whenever I've tried it, with their stock levels outclassed by Budgens. The space could have gone to create a new Hampton Hill Library double the size of the one planned in the unit next door.
Clive is right, how could anyone imagine that Hampton Hill could sustain the number of mini supermarkets. The adition of the Sainsbury store will mark the beginning of a number of closures of some other smaller outlets nearby.
Well I suppose it's rather tricky, isn't it? I don't support these massive companies coming to Hampton Hill, quite the opposite, however I imagine that there is little that can be done to stop them. I imagine it would be difficult to deny planning permission because there wouldn't even need to be change of use as it would be retail becoming retail. Of course I suppose that permission could be refused but I imagine it would be appealed and probably appealed succesfully by very expensive lawyers.
Of course it's rather nihilistic to start suggesting that the closure of small shops will be unavoidable. Those people who care about the small independent stores continued future need to keep supporting them and not using the mini supermarkets. There's a good self service green grocer right next door to Tesco. Use it! The Cavan Bakery. Use it! I cycled past Sainsburys today and saw a woman browsing the magazines and newspapers near the door - there are plenty of newsagents the length of Hampton Hill High Street which sell exactly the same papers for exactly the same price. Use them! Yes, it does take a little longer and is certainly less convenient than simply getting everything in one easy sweep in a single store but that's often the way with things that are worth having; they take longer.
I've got guests this weekend (Mr & Mrs Roberts Senior, for fact hungry readers) I shall be buying the meat from either Grimditchs or Seans, the vegetables from either St Johns or the grocers on High Street Hampton Hill (I'll probably spread the trade about), the wine from Noble & Green wine merchants and if I can tempt Mr Roberts senior out for a pint it will be in the Jolly Coopers. I'll probably load the whole lot into the bike trailer I bought locally from Birdie Bikes. It'll all take a little longer but I'm sure that it will be worth the time and will do wonders for my blood pressure which would otherwise go through the roof schlepping round Sainsburys.
What we need to do, and encourage others to do, is to Think Locally and Shop Locally; that way we can help our small businesses to survive in the face of aggressive encroachment from faceless corporations.
As to the change of use issue, the previous unit was a petrol station. A change of use was required in spite of the small garage shop. The volatile liquid storage tanks had to be removed, which is a requirement of the change of use. This must all have been presented to and passed by the Lib Dem council, but at what a cost to the local community.
I agree with Gareth that we should support local shops, we both do and I'm sure most subscribers to this forum will too, but let's be realistic, we are in the minority. Gareth has pointed out that it's easier, faster and more convenient to buy everything from a one-stop shop. busy hardworking people sometimes behave like water, i.e. follow the path of least resistance and nowadays pennies count, so I reiterate that I think the Farmers Market is only the first retail business to fail due to the Council allowing Sainbury's in. Let's wait and see how many more shops fail before the elections in May 2010.
It's one thing to say we should use local shops, but wouldn't it have been better to have protected them in the first place by preventing this sort of unneccessary development. As Gareth points out, there is a bakery, grocer and newsagent nearby and two mini-markets so why the need for Sainsbury's too? If anyone specifically wanted to shop in Sainsbury's, St Claire's is only up the road.
I want to protect Hampton and Hampton Hill's village character, but the Lib Dem Council allowing this form of development is eroding that brick by brick.
I wish Gareth an enjoyable weekend and I'm sorry he will no longer be able to source those special items from the Farmers Market.
Just to give you the update - Saturday's Bike and Trailer expedition was a great success. Lovely veg from the greengrocers, smashing wines from Nobel Green including the chance to grab a cheeky sample from a chap who was doing a tasting session in store - quite how the bottle of Lindeman's Pecheresse (lovely Belgian peach beer) got into the basket is a mystery to me and I maintain that position however closely Mrs Roberts may question. Then off to the Hardware shop to pick up a feather duster before heading down into Hampton for a loaf from the bakery and a very nice leg of lamb from Shaun's which was whipped off the whole carcass before my very eyes. Some bits and pieces for the Thai Green Curry (Nigel Slater's recipe for the paste will make sure you never buy a jar again) I made for Saturday Dinner and back home
Picking up on the food theme and the Jolly Coopers and shopping locally. Did you know the Coopers have a wonderful new tapas and Spanish food menu and new seating? It looks lovely and the food is sublime. Nick, the landlord, was always a great host. My husband and I (gosh aren't I royal? Not) had a lovely romantic meal there on Saturday night. He had Spanish Chicken, Chorizo and Squid stew ( but don't quote me) whilst I had patatas brava with aioli, Spanish prawns and mushrooms in an incredibly garlicky creamy sauce with toasted almonds. Followed by a delicious creme catalana or brulee and husbandly one had a huge chocolate brownie mess. All tasted delicious with fresh local ingredients. And the bill for food alone was only about £35. Bargain. Plus, we got to sit outside in the lovely courtyard; candles and cushions no less. And it was just great. It's easy to forget it's there for dinner but please check it out.
No, but just started work as the Town Centre Manager there. I know, I didn't know it was a town either! But I hope to find out more about what's going on and what opportunities there are there to bring something of similar quality to that site. Difficult in these tough times, it was a huge floor space.