Xanthe Clay recently wrote a thought-provoking article bemoaning shoddy local shops in a great piece in the Telegraph. But her comments really wouldn't apply here. Bumblebee is the glue that holds the shopping trade of Brecknock Road together. It is a large part of a small area of diverse and independent shops, including one of my favourite Italian delis, Salvinos. Bumblebee, which now comprises 3 shops along this short stretch of road, has been selling natural, vegetarian and organic foodstuffs since 1980. There is now a vegetable and dairy shop and a bakery which sells cakes, bread and hot meals at lunchtime - takeaways that people are prepared to travel for, particularly on a Saturday.
Unfortunately the freeholder wants to covert one of the buildings into flats and Bumblebee's owner, Ian Ogilvie, fears the loss of his business.
The original application was thrown out by Islington Council in March 2011 as there was a well-organised petition against the application, by Bumblebees' staff, local residents and people who are just interested in buying natural foodstuffs locally, because they feared the plans could not only mean the loss of jobs, but could be detrimental to local shopping as well as losing one of the areas nicer assets.
The revamped application is, unfortunately, more of the same.
Owner, Ian Ogilvie, writes
"I moved into the neighbourhood two years before Bumblebee first opened in 1980, and I can vouch for the enormous difference its presence has made to our local shops. This area on the Camden/ Islington border is not exactly rich in amenities; all my neighbours say that Bumblebee provides a precious service which we depend on. Without it, quite apart from the immediate loss of employment in its three shops, the rest of the shops along that part of Brecknock Road would inevitably deteriorate - because Bumblebee is the focus of the whole row and brings many customers who then go on to shop at Universal Dry Cleaners, our valuable Post Office, the picture framer's and the excellent Salvino's. All these businesses benefit from Bumblebee's existence. The long-term consequences of its closure will be disastrous for the entire street - and cost many more jobs than those immediately at risk. This is all because the owner of the property wants to maximise his profits without any thought for the needs of the community."Please help to save Bumblebee and voice your objection to Islington Council - Planning application P110982