Waitrose coming to West Hampstead

It’s been the most persistent rumour in West Hampstead since I’ve been running this website… Pizza Express is closing and Marks & Spencer is moving in. It had such traction that I wrote to Pizza Express a few years ago to see if it was closing down. I was reassured that this was one of its more profitable branches and no closure was imminent.

How times have changed.

There is a small sign up next to the door that announces in a rather oblique way that Waitrose, not Marks & Spencer, is applying for an alcohol licence. The licence application can’t yet be viewed online.

According to a local resident, James Leslie, the staff at Pizza Express have confirmed that Waitrose will be taking over the premises in the next three to six months. Surveyors have also apparently put a mirophone on the roof to measure the current sound levels. Could this be in advance of planning nighttime deliveries?

The application signs were also on nearby lamp posts and railings yesterday, but were removed last night.

This would give us four metro-format supermarkets, with another one set to open in West Hampstead Square. Ballymore had namedropped Waitrose, as well as Marks & Spencer, and the less well-known “grocer to the royals” Partridges. M&S would now seem to be the prime candidate for that location.

Waitrose is expanding fairly rapidly. According to its website, “This year we have set our sights on opening up to ten new supermarkets and ten new ‘little Waitrose’ convenience shops.”

Reaction on Twitter was fairly predictable:

@WHampstead Great news. My quality of life has just gone up a notch.
— Marc Fink (@martifink) August 24, 2013

@WHampstead there go my savings.
— Joshua Green (@JoshuaCGreen) August 24, 2013

@WHampstead Best. News. All. Week.
— Philip Hewlett (@PhilipHewlett) August 24, 2013

@WHampstead Yay, fingers and toes crossed!

44 replies
  1. swayne says:

    Waitrose used to only open in ‘posh’ areas, not sure they have that cache any more. Current building is certainly not one of Pizza Express most characterful restaurants. Would prefer an independent, but if swapping a chain for a chain could have been a lot worse, and certainly not a shortage of restaurants in Whamp. On plus side, can get my Waitrose toffee/mango yogurts easier : ) .

    Feel for the residents though. Used to live in small flat opposite Panzers (next to Barclays) in St John’s Wood and what a nightmare that was re 6a.m deiveries. Never, ever again.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous says:

    For myself there is more to the “character” of an area than the establishments I can frequent. No doubt you won’t mind the inevitable double parking, delivery lorries, litter and so forth.

    Why you should believe the addition of a Waitrose to an area would somehow attract “better quality” retailers is anyone’s best guess.

    But let us not miss an opportunity to praise the rather edgy Nandos and ever reliable Nero for santitising our high street! GBK is a mere pretender and should be promptly dismissed, branches of McDonalds regularly get five-star hygeine ratings and let’s face it, if it’s good enough for Hampstead High Street, we want one too! As for that falafel joint with the gaudy yellow sign and the endless burning of flavoured tobacco on the corner -if we knock the entire parade through we might just find room for a Markses!

    Reply
    • WHampstead says:

      The gaudy yellow signed falafel place has long gone. It's now Schnitzel Chicken & More which, despite the faintly ridiculous name, actually serves very good schnitzel (as we recently proved in a Schnitzel taste-off).

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      To Anonymous:

      Are you for real?? I have been a resident of West Hampstead for over 15 years and sadly WEL is now becoming another “bland high street” and has quite lost its edge! I don’t mind the 5 charity stores however I DO mind 14 estate agents and 3 “little” supermarkets!!… Where are the independent artisans and shop owners to boost our local economy? We could learn a lot from the trendy independent foodie area of Bermondsey or Dalston!! I for one miss shopping at the local Butcher, Fishmonger, real Baker and Fruit stalls… Instead of the tasteless mass production crap supermarkets sell!! Thank God a few bastions remain in the neighbourhood such as David’s Deli!! Now here is an suggestion… if you don’t like the REAL West Hampstead take your elitist scrawny city yuppie bum elsewhere and PLEASE DO take with you all your “sort”, especially the Baby pushchair brigade and of course the Chelsea tractors invading WEL!! With residents like yourself West Hampstead is rapidly loosing its initial charms!!…

      Reply
  3. Anonymous says:

    Hard to argue adding waitrose and subtracting that pizza express isn't a net positive for the area. Hopefully this will encourage better quality retailers to come to the area – and get rid of most of the charity shops and haircut-related establishments in the process…

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      You're joking – right?

      5 charity shops within 10 storefronts on WEL can't be desirable

      Everyone complains about chains crowding out independent shops but same can be said for charity shops which operate on a completely different playing field than normal mom and pop operations – with tax breaks, reduced property rates etc etc.
      #UNFAIR

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      To Anonymous:

      Are you for real?? I have been a resident of West Hampstead for over 15 years and sadly WEL is now becoming another “bland high street” and has quite lost its edge! I don’t mind the 5 charity stores however I DO mind 14 estate agents and 3 “little” supermarkets!!… Where are the independent artisans and shop owners to boost our local economy? We could learn a lot from the trendy independent foodie area of Bermondsey or Dalston!! I for one miss shopping at the local Butcher, Fishmonger, real Baker and Fruit stalls… Instead of the tasteless mass production crap supermarkets sell!! Thank God a few bastions remain in the neighbourhood such as David’s Deli!! Now here is an suggestion… if you don’t like the REAL West Hampstead take your elitist scrawny city yuppie bum elsewhere and PLEASE DO take with you all your “sort”, especially the Baby pushchair brigade and of course the Chelsea tractors invading WEL!! With residents like yourself West Hampstead is rapidly loosing its initial charms!!…

      Reply
  4. Anonymous says:

    Whilst I didn't exactly frequent Pizza Express, it's a shame yet another chain supermarket is moving in regardless of prestige; The existing Waitrose on Finchley Road isn't exactly far away. I think this may well change the character of that end of the 'Lane for the worse.

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Change the character of that part of the 'Lane for the 'worse'??

      You mean that part of the 'Lane which includes, among other characterful establishments – a pizza express falling into disrepair, two chinese takeaways, a kebab shop, a rip-off computer repair shop, and a Gourmet Burger Kitchen which serves up moldy food??

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      To Anonymous:

      Are you for real?? I have been a resident of West Hampstead for over 15 years and sadly WEL is now becoming another “bland high street” and has quite lost its edge! I don’t mind the 5 charity stores however I DO mind 14 estate agents and 3 “little” supermarkets!!… Where are the independent artisans and shop owners to boost our local economy? We could learn a lot from the trendy independent foodie area of Bermondsey or Dalston!! I for one miss shopping at the local Butcher, Fishmonger, real Baker and Fruit stalls… Instead of the tasteless mass production crap supermarkets sell!! Thank God a few bastions remain in the neighbourhood such as David’s Deli!! Now here is an suggestion… if you don’t like the REAL West Hampstead take your elitist scrawny city yuppie bum elsewhere and PLEASE DO take with you all your “sort”, especially the Baby pushchair brigade and of course the Chelsea tractors invading WEL!! With residents like yourself West Hampstead is rapidly loosing its initial charms!!…

      Reply
  5. Anonymous says:

    Presumably the presence of a Waitrose will attract the "right sort" of consumer, which will in turn attract the "better quality" retailers to cater for that consumer's other needs and wants.

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Possibly but I do find the cashpoints very useful. Only a few years ago Barclays bank was the only place in West Hampstead that had a (free) cash machine. Now we’ve got them at the two Tesco Express stores and both the West End Lane and Mill Lane Post Offices (but it’s just dawned on me that we will lose the one at WEL Post Office when it moves to the church). I think cash points make it easier for people to spend their money locally.

      Reply
  6. Emily Turner says:

    No one has made note of the name 'Partridges' being dropped here. If I didn't have to go all the way to Sloane Square to buy North American-style baking ingredients, I would be the happiest person in the world. My fingers are crossed for that!!

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Typical expat comment… Have you tried online delivery?? better yet make it a day out in Chelsea! Right up your alley… LOL!

      Reply
  7. Anonymous says:

    Ps; Can their be some kind of evocation campaign to get rid of the intimating beggars contacting harassing me outside Tesco and Sainsburys…. Before it was a BIGG Issueeeeeeeee constantly one hundred times in my face! Now one eyed willy and his brown staffy dog swiggy his can while rolling his fags!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • WHampstead says:

      I don’t think anyone likes seeing people forced into begging on the streets – it’s rarely a life choice anyone would make after all. I can’t say I find them intimidating myself; in fact the guy usually outside Sainsbury’s is often fairly polite if you acknowledge him.

      We shouldn’t automatically conflate homelessness/begging with anti-social behaviour, though of course they can be related

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      To Anonymous:

      PS: I believe you will find YOU are the wrong sort of individual for WH. What a very sad, ignorant and stupid person you are… Pathetic really. With residents like you God help WH!

      Reply
  8. brianwernham says:

    People will be tempted to park and ‘pop in’. There is no parking anywhere nearby – it is a very busy and complicated junction with 3 zebra crossings nearby with zig zags running everywhere.

    Yes, there are commuters, but the footfall dies out the further you get from the tube/rail stations. Once past West End Green there is much less.

    I wonder if Waitrose have misjudged this?

    (Remember the Nisa grocers just up the road R.I.P.)

    Reply
    • WHampstead says:

      I agree it’s not as attractive a location as one might assume, though Waitrose does have some pulling power. Interesting that it’s chosen to jump on this rather than wait for the Ballymore scheme. I suspect it will do well with the Fortune Green crowd who walk up from the stations and might otherwise have gone to the FG Tesco, but for people towards the south of the area, the large Waitrose will be about as far away and will have more variety.

      I understand that the new “Little Waitrose” format does also focus on selling more prepared and hot food – exactly what people were suggesting a butcher should do, so if the product mix is right it could be attractive enough to offset the location.

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Yep – my family and i are up in FG and won’t be going to Tesco anymore.

      Btw we lived previously in both clerkenwell and islington where small waitroses were introduced. i can say with reasonable confidence that waitrose will be busier than numbers flowing through that particular pizza express (hopefully encouraging other retailers to invest in area).

      Also, I wouldn’t worry too much about cars double parking etc – those waitroses in N1 and EC1 had no parking and i didn’t see any of these issues at all. am sure the risk of getting fined by camden will discourage this…

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      GREAT! The invasion of yuppies and expats… the FG "crowd", phwwoar!! The neighborhood is sadly clearly going the Islington way! Over-hyped, over-priced and soul-less… :( Time to move to Hackney for a genuine taste of London life!

      Reply
  9. Anonymous says:

    What is it with people complaining about homeless people? They don't want to be homeless and I'm sure they're more intimidated by us than we are by them.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the forecourt. It would be a real shame if it becomes parking or a delivery bay (likely) considering that part of WE Lane has expansive pavement space (unlike the disaster of street planning around the transport interchange). I can’t see what Waitrose might do to it, but it would be good if they avoided creating a dead space. The wide pavements are a blessing in that part of WH, let’s not squander them but use them to increase the enjoyment factor of the street! (like in Belsize park). Pray for trees AT LEAST.

    Reply
    • WHampstead says:

      Yes, i wonder – there's lots of scope to use the space imaginatively, I don't think they'll be allowed to build anything permanent on it, but if they sell sandwiches and coffee then could be an outdoor café maybe?

      Reply
  11. Anonymous says:

    How does this fit in with preserving West Hampstead's "village feel"?

    We've already had news of lots of trees about to be chopped down and now we have an additional metro-supermarket arriving for those too lazy to walk to Finchley Road. I even heard one woman asking if there'll be a car park!

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Did national chain Pizza Express contribute to this mythical village feel? One retail chain replaces one restaurant chain. Both offering products widely available elsewhere in the area.

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly
      Am not sure how many people actually walked into that Pizza Express lately but it was falling into disrepair with cracks in the floor, yellow police tape all over the floors and the bathrooms were among the worst you’ll see at a reputable restaurant.

      Surely a waitrose can do better – hopefully enhancing the outside area in particular which arguably will create more, not less, of a village feel.

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Really?? Really?? Since when does Waitrose epitomise the "Village feel"??? What typical British countryside village would that be might I ask?? Clearly you are too urbanised…

      Reply
  12. Anonymous says:

    another chain………the end of west hampstead.

    such a different place now to 5 years ago.

    also, people genuinly homeless and in need should be cared for.
    Guys aggressivly begging saying they're homeless when they are not so they can get beer money is a different story…

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Well said! I remember the many independent shops of 10 years ago and indeed the NOT so mythical "Village feel". WEL is becoming ANOTHER cloned high Street! Of course, newbies would not know the difference…

      Reply
  13. Anonymous says:

    Scope for Pizza Express to move into the old Me Love Sushi site?
    I for one will miss that Pizza Express for the occasions that they email me a free bottle of wine voucher.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous says:

    The area around the sainsburys is a mess with beggars, drunks and rubbish.

    Why are Tesco allowed to cause congestion on WEL with their delivery trucks ? ? Strange.

    Reply
  15. @Marciamac says:

    I never liked Pizza Express (any of them) butam really, really sorry Waitrose (and/or M&S) is coming in here. For a start, as earlier posters said, the big Waitrose isn’t that far away. And I’ve been to a ‘local’ Waitrose. It tended to have mainly own-brand (no Tropicana, for instance, only own-brand orange juice) and be pricier than the big stores. The more the big stores come in, able to pay higher rents, the less chance there is of any independent store or cafe ever being able to afford premises in WH. And yes, what happened to the ‘village feel’ we were promised would be retained? It’s going, fast.

    My only consolation is that maybe Tesco will close.

    And Emily, try Panzer’s on Circus Road, near St John’s Wood station, for American products.

    Reply
  16. Anonymous says:

    Best news ever, I live in FG and use the Tesco only out of desperation, RIP OFF, it is more expensive than Waitrose on Finchley Road. Why do we have two of this disgusting chain, but hopefully the quality of Waitrose will put paid to that. What will go in the Travis Perkins site then, that was proposed as a potential Waitrose when the TP lease expires, those luxury apartments to replace the council housing office (woo hoo) will need their own shop I am sure, Markseys!?
    I am really chuffed about this, best chain supermarket in the UK… we are sooooo lucky!

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Don't need much to get chuffed eh? Get a life!
      Let's turn West Hampstead into a playground for cityslickers and desperate housewives! Can't wait for the housing bubble to go POP! Kilburn High Street is far more London like than WEL! No snobs just REAL people… Sorry did I hear you say a bit too far out of your comfort zone is it? Pathetic…

      Reply
  17. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully,good old Waitrose will consider the problem of deliveries by large trucks blocking traffic flow.Then maybe Tesco WEL will go out of business and solve just one of our problems.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

News


Features


Shops & restaurants


Planning & development


Politics


Business news


General news


Transport & travel


Education


Property


Crime


Sport