As ever I know people will have different opinions about this ( ! ) but for anyone else who feels the balance between retail and restaurants is tipping too far in the direction of restaurants, the planning application to turn the old Londis into a restaurant closes on the 18th May. It's a really key retail site and it's hard to see why we need another restaurant..
If Pizza Express was to open this would cannibalise their restaurant in The Village - which is larger (2 floors) - I would guess once cooking and storage areas are taken into account. And lavatories. It's often quite full so I can't see them voluntarily downsizing. Maybe they are losing this site? - but if not it doesn't make sense to move into an area already well served for pizza - and where the passing clientele may not match the target market (families with young children but not babies) - I am not sure the joint in The Village is so full so regularly that they are needing an overflow.
If youíre going to put a chain restaurant in this space, how about a Las Iguanas with a nice cocktail bar, or a CŲte Brasserie with a decent wine list? God knows why Pizza Express would even entertain this space.
I agree with earlier posts entirely, there are already plenty of pizza restaurants in the area. However I believe one upshot of a Pizza Express (vs a Nando's or Costa Coffee for example) is that they don't seem to have the same impact on their surrounding area when it comes to litter.
I was under the impression that there is something in place to try and limit the number of nationwide chains vs smaller independents on LL, is there any truth to that or have I just imagined it?
Having said this, the Londis plot is prob too big for anything but the larger chains, and Londis was itself a nationwide chain so it's a difficult argument to make in this case.
> The applicant PNAM Limited does not appear on
> Companies House website or on the internet except
> in connection with a couple of other planning
The PE chain was bought by a Chinese company called Hony
What we REALLY need is a decent chippy.
> what do you mean 'too good'?
> I think it's about variety and opportunity to have
> something exciting. Another chain is a bit like
> getting socks for Christmas.
> The icing on the cake would be a Starbucks/
> McDonald's/ Pret a Manger/ Top Shop/ another
> estate agent/ another indian/ another pizza
You can never have too many socks...
No seriously I do think the site is a bit small for a Pizza Express, if indeed these rumours are true, but they must have done their research on the place and think it a viable option.
I think it's good to have competition between similar food type restaurants...it's keeps them on their toes and maintains standards.
I like Pizza Express. You know what your getting, you can get some great discount vouchers almost all the time which makes it an affordable place to eat, especially for the family.
Anyway a few of the business you mentioned above did start off as independents once upon a time...
I think the sad thing is that once landlords push all their rents up to amounts that only really big chains backed by corporate hedge funds can afford, then no-one can afford to have a small local business. Even successful Ďmicro chainsí which were born from a real passion canít afford rents at those levels. I like variety, I like balance, but itís a shame greed has such a detrimental impact on local business people with good ideas. If anything, these chains are the product of gentrification. The Lane has always been full of local businesses and if that now changes because big investors want to make a quick buck, we will lose diversity. Chains are a bit like Japanese knotweed; pretty and innocuous looking, but ruthlessly suppressing all other growth.
I see this is your first post on the forum, ED Boost! And extremely fond of pizza express, it seems?! 😉. Well, vested interest or no, I absolutely agree with your point about rents being so high. Which is why a pizza express, one of the few chains still able to afford sky high rents (unlike Jamieís etc which have been closing branches) will lead to neighbouring rent rises and obliteration of the lovely long term traders on the Lane, except the ones who own their Freehold. That seems a shame. Change and progress are different entities. A proliferation of chains leads to exponential increase in rents, leads to failure of local businesses, leads to the same boom/bust cycle in commercial property portfolios happening all over the country, reflected in homogenous high streets, or empty ones. Thatís why when Sugar closed on the roundabout, itís being replaced by another charity shop. I get stuff from charity shops, and itís great that those worthy causes are receiving income from them, but iím sad to see it wasnít taken on as a shop paying staff wages and offering something different. And we now have so many of them. So whether this economic micro climate of heated growth is progress, or simply change, is based, I suppose, on whether you prefer to see holistic sustainable growth in an area over the long term, or a sudden explosion of inflated rents and City backed business ventures with a focus on investor dividends.
The one positive I would take from this is that Pizza Express has not yet confirmed or denied the occupation of this space. Chain restaurants at affordable prices arenít always a bad thing. But when a a place is saturated with the same type of offering already, it seems a pointless exercise adding to that. The one in the village is perfectly nice if you enjoy their offering, and isnít so busy that it requires another branch so near.
I totally agree chains arenít always bad news, not at all. They can offer really good value. I donít necessarily think pizza expressís pizzas (they vary their prices according to location) do offer better value compared to Olivelliís (a Ďmicroí chain) or Il Mirto or even Franca Manca, which is perhaps so successful because it does a pizza for about £8. Which is great! Pizza Express generally charges between £11.50 and £14 for a pizza in Dulwich Village which is not as affordable. If a place is born out of real passion for food I donít mind paying more on occasion, if iím able, but I do baulk at paying on average £13 for a pizza from a restaurant which functions primarily as a corporate investment tool and drives up surrounding rents. So while PE markets itself as an affordable neighbourhood eatery, in reality itís not particularly affordable, in relative terms, and has a palpably negative impact on local businesses, which I think is a sad combination.