Sure, everyone loves their trusty local supermarket with its oh-so-handy walking distance location from your front door, and the saving grace when you’ve forgotten to buy that one crucial ingredient to the meal you’re in the middle of cheffing up. For some of us it’s the furthest out we’ll go outside the house with our dishevelled pyjamas with a jumper thrown on top and trainers hardly laced look to grab some eggs and milk in the morning.
Yet it’s not every day that your local supermarket receives an official asset status from the council, apart from Dean Street’s Tesco Express that is. Starting the new year on a high, Westminster City Council has given Tesco in Soho an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV) status which gives that particular supermarket protection against development.
The ACV status means that if the property goes up for sale, the local community will have a right to bid on it and buy the property for themselves. The Dean Street Tesco Express will remain an ACV for five years. The formal recognition follows the site’s nomination from the Soho Society, a committee of residents who work to promote and protect Soho.
Last year the Soho Tesco was under threat of demolition by developers who wanted to replace the site with offices and retail units, until October when the council voted to reject the proposal. Part of the reason why the Tesco is being given protection is that it is the only large supermarket within Soho, a district who’s a third of its residents live in social housing and are vulnerable to rising costs of groceries.
Councillor Geoff Barraclough, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “Local supermarkets are staples of daily life, and it is well known that there are fewer places in central London for grocery shopping. That is why I am pleased we can mark this supermarket in Soho as an asset to the community, acknowledging that it is serving local people by providing space for a wide range of affordable food.”