Subway opening in South Woodford ‘could kill the high street’, residents fear

PUBLISHED: 16:27 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:57 23 February 2017

George Lane shops and restaurants

George Lane shops and restaurants


A business owner has called for something to be done to prevent a fast-food chain “killing” the high street.

Plans for a Subway sandwich store on the former site of David Anthony Shoes at 116 George Lane have recently been submitted to Redbridge Council for consideration.

Joe Federico, who has run the Little Woodford Cafe next door to the site with his brother for the last 15 years, is worried the company’s green and yellow branding would be out of place in the area.

“We are worried that the character of George Lane is being degraded.

“They’ve already applied to take out the old Victorian shop front – which is something they should never be allowed to do.”

Staff at the cafe only discovered Subway was opening next door when a customer mentioned it in passing.

Now, Mr Federico is concerned that the late operating hours of a Subway will lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour in the area.

“There will be more litter, and because they sell food so cheaply there will be a lot more teenagers hanging around the area.

“It’s the last thing George Lane needs.It will kill the high street.”

Cllr Tom McClaren (Con, Church End) told the Recorder he has also objected to the stores opening.

He said: “On planning grounds I’ve objected to the removal of the Victorian frontage, but also the shop would be opening in a controlled impact zone, and I think there is a chance the proposed late opening hours would only exacerbate problems.

“Personally, I will always stand up for independent businessmen, but George Lane has taken a few hits and we do need to make sure we’re still capable of attracting big business to the area.”

A spokeswoman for the South Woodford Society confirmed it too was “concerned about a number of issues” relating to the Subway opening.

She said: “By approving this application for a modern shop front and related electrical works the Council would pave the way for the opening of a food chain which comes with its own problems of litter, noise and disturbance.

“Whilst we will always encourage new businesses to South Woodford, one of our main aims is to preserve the remaining Victorian and Edwardian character whilst at the same time supporting locally run businesses and services.”

The news comes just two weeks after Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith warned residents George Lane was “in danger” when he began a campaign to save the post office there.

A Subway spokeswoman stressed the new shop would create 10 jobs in the area.

“All franchisees are independent business people who strive and work to be responsible retailers and active members of their local communities,” she said.

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