Dame Janet Suzman tells Co-op to ‘leave Belsize alone’
Oscar nominated actress backs campaign to stop supermarket opening
24 September, 2018 — By Tom Foot
Janet Suzman believes the Co-op is not behaving cooperatively
OSCAR nominated actress Janet Suzman has hit out at “utterly depressing” plans for a supermarket chain opening in Belsize Village.
Ms Suzman DBE said the Co-op’s plan to open a store in the former XO restaurant in Belsize Lane would be “tough on established shops”.
She said: “Go away, Co-op, find a nice high street or some other lonely corner where you could serve a purpose, and leave Belsize alone.”
Ms Suzman, who lives in Hampstead, has backed previous campaigns to stop Tesco and Sainsbury’s opening in NW3.
She added: “There are only two villages left in the Hampstead area and Belsize is one of them. How utterly depressing to have a large conglomerate branch thunder its way into a close interdependent little community and think that is a co-operative thing to do.
“It’s going to be tough on the small established shops already serving the needs of the Village and most likely put them out of business. What a rubbish way to find your profits – on the back of the ruination of others. And the trucks clogging up that narrow street? And all the unnecessary booze they’ll stock. What for?”
The campaign to block the Co-op opening in Belsize Park has been criticised as “snobbery” by NW3 residents who say shopping in “the village” is too expensive.
The New Journal revealed last week that Co-op has applied to open another branch in the former Marine Ices building in Haverstock Hill, Chalk Farm.
The company – which says it had a branch in every postcode in the country – said in a statement: “We believe that a new Co-op store on Belsize Lane would enhance shopping options for local people, providing a wide selection of fresh, healthy foods and meal ideas as well as creating a number of full and part-time jobs which would be targeted at people living in the immediate vicinity. The Co-op is a proud community retailer and would also provide members and customers with the opportunity to raise funds for local groups and organisations through its highly regarded Membership Scheme.”
Ms Suzman played many roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and was nominated for best actress at the Oscars for her Empress Alexandra in the film Nicholas and Alexandra (1972). She is a niece of Helen Suzman, the South African politician and anti-apartheid campaigner.