TL; DR Chrisp Street market shop closures will begin at the end of January when the Co-op shuts its doors. Where will people do their shopping?
The Co-op, Post Office and Barclays branches in Chrisp Street will be closing in early 2022 due to the Poplar HARCA redevelopment.
Rumours that the Co-op might close have been circulating for years but finally the rumours have become fact.
The Co-Op will close by the end of January.
It is understood that the shop is profitable but it’s commercial viability is not the primary consideration, it has to make way for the redevelopment.
While the relevant organisations are taking some measures to reduce the impact of the closures there seems a real risk that Poplar residents will have nowhere to shop.
The nearest large supermarkets are Asda on the Isle of Dogs and Tesco in Bow, neither of which are near enough for many to walk to or want to get the bus.
Many older people shop at Co-op as they live nearby and a shopping trip is often a welcome chance to get out for a short walk at their own pace and talk to people.
Closure of Chrisp Street Co-op for redevelopment
Telford Homes is the current landlord for Chrisp Street. In a media statement issued through Poplar HARCA it said that the Co-op store at Chrisp Street will close in January 2022 but that the store will continue to trade until its closure.
Convenience store to replace Co-op Poplar?
Telford also said that “We will soon be launching a new convenience store at Chrisp Street” and that Iceland will remain open until the new supermarket to replace the Co-op opens.
The Enquirer has yet to find out exactly what a ‘convenience store’ might be in this context.
Chrisp Street Market Post Office Closure
When the Enquirer first contacted Tower Hamlets Council about their views on the impact of such important shops and facilities the response was ‘What does this have to do with us?’
Even Mole found this attitude surprising.
Since then the Council has issued a statement say that it is in discussion with the Postmaster for Poplar about providing alternative premises to maintain Post Office services to the community but these plans are at a very early stage.
Barclays All Saints 159 East India Dock Road
The All Saints Barclays branch at 159 East India Dock Road opposite the fire station will close on 4th March 2022.
A Barclays spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking.
As a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK. In addition, nine out of ten customers at the branch are also using different ways to bank.”
Barclays also promised that it will work with customers to provide alternative options to ensure they can continue to manage their money and receive financial expertise when required.
Apparently there are 40 free-to-use ATMs within one mile of the branch. But how many of these are in Canary Wharf?
One very pertinent fact that Barclays shared is that only 68 regular customers use the branch exclusively for their banking and that these customers do not interact with Barclays in other ways and that only 10% of all interactions take place inside a bank.
Virtual ‘tea and teach’ lessons
Free virtual ‘tea and teach’ sessions for Barclays customers who want to explore digital banking and other alternatives to branch banking will be offered.
The redevelopment of Chrisp Street has already started with hoardings going up and some empty buildings like the youth club just past the Co-op on Chrisp Street coming down.
600 new homes are part of the development but it is not clear if these are for the wealthy incomers or the less than wealthy local residents.
On completion there will be over 100 new shops and restaurants, a cinema and a “revitalised” Chrisp Street Market, and it is claimed that these will support up to 900 local jobs and hundreds of local associated businesses.
That’s all well and good but when the Co-op closes Chrisp Street market square will become a no-go zone after dark. Many considerate it to be off-limits already because of their fear of becoming mugging victims.
The main fear is that the regeneration of Chrisp Street market will destroy the local community and lead to a large increase of wealthy professionals who want to live in an ‘up and coming’ area. But not for very long.
London is defined by the huge variety of different types of people and cultures that call it home but without a sense of community, created by people and families who live in an era for decades, sometimes generations, it could soon be a city devoid of ordinary people.