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Archive for the ‘Local shops’ Category

By Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader and Camden resident

A letter in last week’s Ham and High from Anton Harding on behalf of Royal Mail illustrates effectively how we don’t want this service to operate, as a business.

We don’t want something “flexible and fleet-of-foot”, that’s what’s given us a steadily diminishing number of deliveries in recent years, arriving later, all too often delivered by casual workers who understandably struggle in Camden with complicated layouts of council estates and ancient Zone 1 street layouts, where once a regular deliverer knew their own patch like the back of their hand.

Privatisation is a failed model. We know from the long trail of disasters, from G4S to A4E to Atos to Harmoni, that outsourcing our public services puts public funds straight into private profits, cuts the pay and condition of workers and reduces the quality of service to the public.

This is an essential public service just like our water supplies, electricity etc. And just like those, it is a natural monopoly – it’s clearly nonsensical for several different companies to make the same rounds of streets and boroughs every day.

We all know how badly privatising water, gas and electricity has worked out. Let’s not make the same mistake with the mail.

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by Natalie Bennett

In a letter in the Ham & High of May 2, 2013, Mr Uys (Drivers faced with trolley jam) expresses eloquently the frustration of  Highgate High Street residents, workers and visitors with the thoroughly anti-social behaviour of the Tesco store there, but the problem is much wider than this one store.
Camden Green Party members talk regularly to residents near Tesco and Sainsbury stores in Kentish Town High Street, Fortess Road and Swain’s Lane, among others, who are plagued by trolleys blocking pavements, HGVs blocking roads, and noisy unloading at all hours of the day and night.
These supermarket chains are simply anti-social and abusive of the power of their size, and are being allowed to get away with behaviour that advantages them against their independent competitors – stores that are of far greater benefit to their local communities and provide far more jobs and business opportunities for suppliers.
Independent stores typically get deliveries by small vans, from a range of independent wholesalers and food manufacturers, and they have storerooms in which stock is held (on which they pay business rates).
By contrast the chains stock the stores straight from HGVs three or four times a day, using the public space of the pavement, and road, without any respect for the rights and needs of others.
When Camden Green Party had a pop-up shop in Fortess Road, the Sainsbury’s Local opposite regularly littered the highway with traffic cones, blocking off an HGV-sized space outside their store. They have no right to do that – only the arrogance of size and sense of entitlement that has infected far too many of our large companies, as demonstrated also by the way they continue to squeeze down staff wages, enforce casualisation on unwilling workers and employ unconsciounable zero-hours contracts.
The Green Party seeks on a national level to ensure that supermarkets pay the true social cost of their way of conducting business, or make major changes. On a local level, our councillors seek to ensure that noise abatement cases are brought by local authorities to address the nuisance that occurs.

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11am-1pm, Saturday 10th March
Starting from the People’s Supermarket, 72-78 Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N 3LP

To mark Fairtrade Fortnight (27th Feb–11th Mar) there will be a Walk for Fairtrade through the borough of Camden on Saturday 10th March.

The theme of Fairtrade Fortnight is ‘Take a step for Fairtrade’. It can be a simple step, like swapping your tea or coffee at home to Fairtrade, or a bigger step, like hosting your own Fairtrade chocolate tasting party!

There’ll be a yummy Fairtrade Breakfast from 10am at The People’s Supermarket. Then the walk sets off at 11am, arriving at Thorntons Budgens in Belsize Park for a celebratory photo around 1pm.

Organisers ask if you let them know you’re planning to come along: camdenfairtrade@googlemail.com / 07815 771 939

There’s also a Debate:’ Does Fairtrade Really Work’ at 7pm, People’s Supermarket, 72-78 Lambs Conduit St, February 29.

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The decision by Islington council to refuse a planning application that would remove the kitchen of the much-valued Bumblebee health food store in Kentish Town, threatening its viability, has been appealed, and there will now be a public inquiry.

The Islington Gazette explained earlier this year.

You can find out how to make your views known here.

The deadline for submissions is November 24.

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