New Tesco Express store in Lower Clapton opens amid legal row

A supermarket chain sparked fury and frustration this week when it opened a new Hackney store apparently before legal agreements had been finalised.

Tesco Express in Lower Clapton Road began trading at 8am on Friday (February 10) after months of protest from residents and businesses.

They feared it would kill off family-run shops nearby, create noise and traffic, and damage community spirit.

The housing association that owns the freehold on the unit asked Tesco to remove posters announcing the opening last week as the required paperwork was not completed.

A spokeswoman for Family Mosaic, which runs Alva Court and Shire Court in Lower Clapton Road, told the Gazette on Monday: “Tesco have opened before they completed the paperwork. We are just in the process of trying to resolve this issue with Tesco and we are taking legal advice on it.

“We will work together for the residents’ best interests and for a mutually agreeable outcome.”

Protesters took to the streets last May to fight plans for the new store. They also collected nearly 500 signatures on a petition to the council to reject the plans.

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Lower Clapton Road resident Emily Webber, 33, said: “This is in line with the way they have been behaving during some of the application process.

“It seems they are behaving like they can do whatever they like.”

And Leabridge ward councillor Ian Rathbone said: “This is typical of Tesco who act like a law unto themselves when it comes to the local community, so eager to get their business open they have not bothered to fill in the paperwork to get permission to be there first.”

Tesco Express donated �500 to The Huddleston Centre, a Lower Clapton charity working with disabled young people, as part of its opening celebrations last Friday.

But Tesco spokeswoman Carol Leslie refused to confirm or deny whether the legal paperwork had been completed in time for the launch.

“As a company we would not comment on negotiations and agreements with landowners or agents as these are confidential,” she said.

“However, the store is extremely popular and the feedback we have received from customers has been excellent. People were queuing to get in on opening morning.”

Both Tesco and Family Mosaic told the Gazette that the legal paperwork for the store was now complete.