Is the Co-op returning to Lavender Hill?

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The former Ichnusa gastropub – boarded up after it closed

Many years ago, there was a branch of the Co-op at 47-49 Lavender Hill – a notably large open-plan shop not far from the junction with Queenstown Road, which still feels a bit like a supermarket inside.

It was later converted to a pub / restaurant, and over the years took quite a few names (the Puzzle, the Taybridge, Elephant on the Hill, etc).  Latterly it was Ichnusa, a Sardinian restaurant (which had moved there from a smaller premises further along the street).  This was a popular place and had been doing quite well until an inspection by Wandsorth’s food safety team which revealed “very serious and unacceptable health and hygiene breaches” including an “accumulation f raw sewage” and a “fly infestation”.  The owner was served with a hygiene prohibition order on February 20 at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, forcing him to close the business, as well as a hefty fine; it never reopened.  The premises has remained empty, looking increasingly sad and abandoned, ever since.

We’ve now heard that there’s a planning application for a change of use (application number 2018/1201), seeking to convert it back from a bar/restaurant to its original use as a shop – and, in an interesting development, the application suggests that if this gets the nod it’s set to become a branch of the Co-op again.

This feels like a welcome and relatively uncontroversial development – after all, this was a shop (indeed, a Co-op) before, the Co-op are generally respectable and not a troublesome neighbour, and a new business here could help the vitality of this section of the street.   It also counteracts the trend for shops in this area to convert to cafes and nail bars / hair salons, keeping some balance overall to the retail.  It follows a fair few recent openings by the Co-op in the area (Wandsworth road petrol station, Battersea bridge, Clapham south, two branches on the same day in Wandsworth town centre a few years back).

We’d welcome your thoughts on this.  Bear in mind that at this stage, the planning application is purely to ‘officialise’ the change of use – any details on changes to the premises to accommodate a supermarket, and what (if any) conditions would be attached, will no doubt be part of another planning application down the line.

(September update:  plans are confirmed and work is now underway)

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4 Responses to Is the Co-op returning to Lavender Hill?

  1. James Frew says:

    Given that building has been subject to so much change over the past few years, a stable business would be good for the area. It would also challenge Sainsburys/Tesco convenience store dominance around Battersea.

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  2. Pingback: Is major redevelopment ahead at Asda on Lavender Hill – and at Clapham Junction station?… | Lavender Hill for Me: Supporting Lavender Hill

  3. anthony eliasen van benschoten says:

    I remember the old Co-Op when we moved to the area in the 70’s and will welcome it back should it happen. It will finally be the kind of business that will increase footfall along this part of Lavender Hill and hopefully help stimulate the turnover for all the great little places already here.

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  4. Pingback: New Co-op supermarket confirmed for Lavender Hill | Lavender Hill for Me: Supporting Lavender Hill

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