By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter
A Central London Tesco saved from demolition by local councillors earlier this year has been granted additional protection from any future applications.
Westminster City Council has formally recognised the Dean Street store in Soho as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) following a nomination from the Soho Society.
Councillors sitting on the local authority’s planning committee voted four to two in October to reject plans to knock down the Tesco and an Art Deco building and replace them with office space and retail units.
Chair Cllr Ruth Bush said to members there was “no concept” behind the submission, while locals raised doubts about the need for offices and an ‘art bazaar’ in place of the supermarket.
Resident David Bieda said: “You can’t buy your fruit and vegetables with a bit of public art.”
Following the committee’s decision, the Soho Society, which works to promote and protect the iconic London district, nominated the Tesco to become an ACV due to its contribution to the local community. The council has since agreed to recognise the store as such, describing it as offering the “best range of products and price points” in the area.
The designation of the Tesco as an ACV means if the property it occupies goes up for sale, the community will be offered the chance to purchase it first. It will remain an ACV for five years.
Cllr 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.”
The Dean Street Tesco becomes the sixth active ACV in Westminster. The others are The Coach and Horses pub in Greek Street, the nightclub Heaven, Queen’s Park Hall/All Stars Boxing Gym in Harrow Road, Prince’s Square Gardens, and the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair.
(Local Democracy Reporting Service)