Monday, August 3, 2009

Tesco come to Deptford

Deptford Se8ker spotted the signs on Friday. A Tesco express store is opening on 30th September at 20-22 Deptford High Street (south end, east side). Opinions may differ as to whether or not this is a good thing for Deptford. Some shops will think that Tesco will bring more trade to the High Street and others will think that Tesco will take their customers. It is the first investment by a major national retail chain since Iceland arrived.

A quick rummage in the Creekside basement reveals that 20 Deptford High Street was, in the 1870s & 1880s, the home and shop of Brighton born bootmaker William Buckwell who also owned land in Bexleyheath. Widowed furniture dealer Ellen Cooper lived next door at 22 Deptford High Street with her daughter Elizabeth.

From at least 1913 up until 1920 funeral directors John Chappell and Sons occupied number 20.

Mitchell & Sons Furnishers were at number 20 from 1938 to 1950.

In more recent years the two shop units were computer training centre Esstech College, before planning permission was granted to extend and refurbish the flats above.


  1. My initial reaction was that this was a bad thing, but since Tesco Express mainly sells ready-meals, I'm not sure how much it will compete with our existing shops. On the plus side, it should offer a wider selection of cheese and wine that we currently have access to.

  2. yet another case of TESCO buying up existing A1 retail units so they only need planning permission for the signage and ATMs, not anything else. Plus a licensing app for selling alcohol etc of course. They did the same on Lewisham Way.

  3. I went on a walking tour of Deptford a couple of months back, and one of the points made by the excellent tour guide was that the real value of Deptford High St was that unlike most UK high streets, its shops are privately owned and give Deptford a truly unique flavour. This flavour is something that visitors come from afar to experience. The guide made the point that as far as she knew there was only main stream invader - a Cost Cutter at one end of the road. I was so impressed with all the different stores - butchers and fishmongers and hardware shops - all types which seem to have died out everywhere else under the onslaught from places like Tesco, WH Smith, etc. Every high street seems to be a duplicate of every other one. I live in Surrey Quays but I am a regular visitor to Deptford precisely because of the character of the High Street. I really hope that the Tesc Express is not the thin edge of a very unattractive wedge. Sorry to rant! Andie.

  4. Andie,
    Chains used be very much part of the High Street scene. 5-9 was a purpose built post-war Marks and Spencer and Woolworths were near where Iceland is now. Costcutter are not a chain, but a franchising operation (albeit far looser than most). Worth spending 10 -15 minutes looking around .

    Kennedys the butcher and Goddards & Manzes pie and mash shops were all part of late 19th / early 20th century south London chains. John Chappell and Sons the undertakers referred to in my origianl post had six other locations in 1913.

    The real underlying strength of Deptford High Street is the diversity of land ownership - Many shopkeepers own their freeholds and if they don't then if the cost of renewing a lease is too high then another property owner a few doors down will give a better deal.

    The weakness of the High Street is that it is difficult to buy a pint of milk that has been kept refrigerated between delivery and going on display in the shop. Tesco will clean up on the cow juice front.

  5. True, milk is about the only thing I go in Iceland for! That and their 'three for £1' frozen garlic bread which is surprisingly good!
    On the 'chainstore' front don't forget we also have a Peacocks, Percy Ingle (a SE London chain albeit small) and Greggs. If you include the betting shops there are a lot more, but it is reassuring that our independent shops can still flourish. I don't believe we are at risk from any larger stores, simply because the existing properties are too small to suit them.

  6. To my knowledge, there's no legislation that can be applied to prevent tescos from having a store there. Whether or not objection to the bland predictable branding (proposed to be plastered over one of the few new shopfronts on the high street that the planners have been able to control the look of to some extent) will be listened to remains to be seen. Tescos argument for internally lit, garishly coloured signage would I assume be that without it, people might not know its there! I think we will all know its there and will be suggesting that the signage ought to be as minimal as possible and mounted internal to the glass shopfront as is often the case in conservation areas.
    3 objections would be sufficient for the application to be referred to committee

  7. Keith - I am torn two ways on this one. Tesco's should not get permission for an internally illuminated sign, but I know that if they had simply put one up without seeking permission Lewisham Council would have turned a blind eye, as they seem to have done in regard of nearly every other breach of planning legislation in Deptford High Street in the last three years.

  8. thats true but shouldnt tesco of all people show that they can respect the conservation area and its planning restrictions - set an example?

  9. I can't argue with that. They have adapted their signage elsewhere so I will do a post with some examples.