Stoke Newington is renowned for its diverse range of local, independent businesses. A mapping exercise conducted in late June of 2011 found that there are more than 60 existing businesses which lie within a half mile radius of the proposed site and which sell products which overlap with the products a new supermarket would sell.
Not a Clone Town
In 2010, the New Economics Foundation conducted their review of Clone Town Britain which assesses to what extent the country’s high streets are being taken over by supermarkets and chain stores, creating identical urban spaces up and down the country.
The survey found that “41 per cent of UK towns are clone towns and a further 23 per cent are on the verge of becoming clone towns”. The problem with this trend is summed up in the report:
“Without character in our urban centres, living history and visible proof that we can in some way shape and influence our living environment we become alienated in the very places that we should feel at home.”
It also covered 30 parts of London and found that Stoke Newington was the second least cloned town in the city.
Impacts on the local economy
The developers are under no obligation to undertake an economic assessment of the impact that their development would have on the community so they are unlikely to have any real idea of the damage which this development would cause, however the negative effects of new supermarkets on the revenues of existing businesses are well established.
In 2008 the Competition Commission conducted a detailed review of the grocery market in the UK. As part of this work they conducted some research which found that for a new supermarket of the size of this development, the revenue for businesses with a floor area of 280m2 – 1,400m2 located within 5 minutes drive decreased by 15% on average. Larger stores saw a smaller reduction in revenue, while smaller stores weren’t included in the study. If anyone is aware of research into the impacts of new supermarkets on small businesses then please get in touch.
Given the current economic situation it is difficult to see how many of the small businesses in Stoke Newington would be able to survive such a reduction in custom and revenues and this would also have a knock on effect on local employment.