Tesco comes to Camberwell

And so it has finally happened: Tesco has broken into central Camberwell.

New Tesco Express Camberwell New Road

When I walked past today they were putting the final touches to a new Tesco Express store (pictured) next to the bus garage on Camberwell New Road. It is on the ground floor of the new block of flats being developed. The new shop is set to open shortly

As far as I can see it there are positives and negatives in this situation.

First the positives: it will generally bring reasonable good quality food to Camberwell, it will help to regenerate a part of Camberwell that is looking a bit down at heel currently and it is not a betting shop or fried chicken shop, of which we seem to have many already. It is also positive that the new development, of which the Tesco is part, will bring more people into central Camberwell which will, I hope, eventually lead to regeneration of the whole area and demand which will longer term make a reopening of Camberwell station/ improved transport  more viable.

Negatives include the concerns about the perceived creeping take over of the world by Tesco, the effect on the existing independent Camberwell traders and possible increased traffic.

What do you think? Let the debate begin…

86 thoughts on “Tesco comes to Camberwell”

  1. There’s a newish one on Southampton Way that looks busy almost everytime I go by. Clearly, there is demand. They installed the first cash machine for miles around at the same time, which is handy.

    But I don’t like Tesco, so I don’t shop there. The supermarket supply chain is all screwed up. Tesco is reputed to be one of the worst.

  2. Reasonably priced good quality food to Camberwell??? Tesco??Are you joking??When I was walking past Tesco on Southampton Way in Camberwell,the offers in the window were for Cheap beer,Nappies and Coca Cola cheaper than water!! Nice.! Know their market I guess..
    Do we really want to start the march towards a totally faceless Camberwell?What do you want?A tube station,Starbucks,Neros?
    Move somewhere else if this is what you want.We dont need more transport links to Central London.The West End is 20 mins by bicycle! Get a bike or bus lazy!!!!
    So thats my view,Camberwell is Camberwell,more independent food shops please,more affordable housing,and please no more megashops flogging sugar and booze cheaply to us at cost prices…
    Rod x

  3. The planning process is well under way for another Tesco express at Loughborough Junction on the ground floor of the old Warrior pub building on Coldharbour Lane, anyone got an update on that one? The cash machines in these Tesco Expresses are a significant benefit, as are the 8 or so new jobs each creates. And for the first few weeks there will be plenty of reduced price food bargains as they sort their stock levels out.

    But beyond that, if enough local consumers want their independent shops to survive, they will do, and if they don’t… they won’t.

  4. Good to see some new life in Camberwell. The area certainly needs more variety, a better variety and cost effective places to shop. As much as we all like to support the local family run businesses, its time they started to up their game, better customer service ( a smile and a thank you would help), cleaner stores would be nice too! The Tesco on Southampton Way is not perfect by any means but the staff are great, its clean and bright and the variety of product is good. The Costcutter on Southampton Way is decent but the service is awful, its like customers are an inconvenience, its dark and could do with a decent spring clean. More competition can only help and breath new life into Camberwell which is what all of us local residents want.

  5. I agree we need more life put into Camberwell, would have preferred Sainsburys myself, what I’m fed up of seeing is not only the Betting Shops but also the Cash for Gold [Pawnbrokers] that are springing up all over the place.

    And I agree with Stephen about the customer service/cleanliness in some of the smaller shops e.g. Costcutters on Denmark Hill

  6. Hi, Don’t forget we already have Morrison’s and Co-Op at the Green, and one of the UK’s largest and most profitable, Sainsbury’s on Dog Kennel Hill. In the 20 plus years I have lived locally, there have always been multiple retails in Camberwell and surrounding area. It is a no brainer for local businesses to survive, as many do, just shop them if you want them to survive. But I see no one selling any premium food ingredients, we could really do with a small deli with good oils, vinegars, cheese and cooked meats. Now that I would shop.

  7. @Ben, Tesco at Loughborough Junction is under construction.

    Both will be useful for those last minute forgotten ingredients on a Sunday evening when Co-op, Morrisons etc are shut and the local shops don’t always have what you need. Would have preferred a Sainsburys, but I’m not going to grumble.

    I don’t mind the odd big brand as its shows that an area is worth investing in and Camberwell needs more investment of the non Pawnbroker / Betting shop variety. I can’t see Camberwell turning into identkit bland high street any time soon!

  8. It would be great if M&S upgraded their store on the Walworth Rd, something similar in the Camberwell Green area would be great. I see a Waitrose is opening in Vauxhall, shame is not a little closer to Camberwell.

  9. I would prefer to use independents and have recently become a fan of the Turkish Food Centre on Camberwell New Road. But I understand people’s concerns with the state of most independents in the area. Bar a couple (e.g. Camberwell Daily on CNR) I wouldn’t consider many.

    That all said, isn’t this part of Camberwell already well served by nationals? Morrisons and the Coop are already in the area. Do we really need a third?

    I live on Councillor Street. According to the Tesco site there are 10 — YES 10 — Tescos within one mile of me. I cannot fathom how any of these are necessary with existing grocers in the area. Its a Tescopoly.

  10. Personally, I don’t like Tesco as an organization and don’t feel too excited about their presence here but I can understand why others might like them.

    I’m pretty sure that any number of the other proposed apartments/flats planned for central Camberwell could in future accomodate a new community library in one of the vast ground floor retail spaces.

    It’s good to have a healthy, open debate and raise the possibility of many other credible options.

  11. I am a Co-op girl, myself. They are the right business model for our times. They reward members for loyalty, like any mutual, and their sell-by shelf is the best in Camberwell. The 99p shop is also excellent. The best bookshop in Camberwell is the Scope shop.

    Highshore Road Open Space — the smallest park in Camberwell, with the longest name — is looking great at the moment with a large pink rose bush at its centre. It has just been primped and prettified by two lads who also pruned and plumped up Holly Grove Shrubbery today — pound for pound the longest and thinnest park in Camberwell. Well done, those two men. They are the games makers of Camberwell.

    Asda’s is the best supermarket. You have to drive there to the Old Kent Road to get there, but once you are there, there is no need to go anywhere else.

  12. It’s quite a nice walk to Asda from Camberwell through the park now it’s reopened. Good for a Sunday.

  13. I was wondering about the Tesco’s too — I’ve been wandering past it every day. Has it just been slotted in as a new part of that flats development? Personally, I won’t shop in it simply because I automatically go to Morrisons or Co-Op when I get off the bus after work. I like ambling around the aisles. Tesco’s isn’t close enough to Myatt’s Fields for me to bother using that as an alternative.

    Dagmar, I’m also a big fan of the 99p shop in Peacocks Walk, and the bargain store across from it. The latter particularly has really nice, helpful staff.

  14. Seems that they are going to submit a planning application for the Southwark Supertram.


    I don’t suppose there is any funding for it so far, but without planning permission they were never going to be able to get into serious discussions with potential funders. Or possibly the local Lib Dems want to see if the Labour council will block it and then make political capital out of it.

  15. People who live round here don’t have a say in anything that happens round here. At all.

    It just happens to us.

    My money’s on more betting shops, nail parlours, Big Supermarket locals, pawn shops, fast food takeaways, payday loans and etc

  16. Kat — I bet they’re nice to you in the shop opposite the 99p shop, you are so pretty! But they think I’m an old tramp! Maybe that’s because I tramp in carryin’ me 99p shop carrier bags!!!

    Giles — you WALK to Asda’s’s? Blimey, I now feel like a princess bumping over the speedbumps buffeting me arse darn Commercial Way on the way to the Old Kent Road in our old jalopy

    Dodds, prawn shops — we are all prawns on the chessboard of life. What are you going to prawn in the porn shops to afford that party at the Rec? What night is it in November? Tell us again. This is the must-go-to night of the Camberwell winter season.

    Things are looking up.

  17. @Dagmar: I put my pet lobster (stuffed) down against damages and Marco, the boss at The Recreation Ground, 65 Camberwell Church Street, formerly the Sterling Castle; then Pacific; Babushka; Snug; The Castle and now the Wreck, upstairs, and the Rec at ground level, said “leave off with Norman the Crustacean on the bar, put him away, and you can have it for the night mate. It would be lovely to have some of those respectables from over the other side where there’s not even pawn shops to prawn your stuffed lobsters to.”

    ON Saturday the tenth of November, that’s 10/11/12 to you Dags.

    Rumours of Magnificent Sevens from Seven to Nine Pee Em.

  18. @J Mark Dodds

    Party sounds good — it’s exactly 8 days before my birthday!

    I agree that Kat is very pretty indeed — although, as yet I can’t recall seeing a 6“1 redheaded lady cutting a dash around central Camberwell.

    Just as well really, I’d only make a show of myself and somebody would have to take me up the hill to King’s A&E to get my tongue rolled back in…

    I drink my tea 😉

  19. This is unravelling. Kat is Kat Brown, a 6′ 1″ rusty-haired writer living locally. The Stirling Castle is spelt Stirling Castle, not Sterling Castle. It used to be an old man’s pub, it was great, with tall pealing ceilings. The lobster? Mark Dodds strolls round the Bois de Boulogne leading a lobster on a silk string.

    More SE5ly, there was a spectacular accident this morning at the traffic lights at the crossroads of Wyndham Road and Camberwell Road. A new Honda Civic Type R with a personalised number plate had a semi-head-on with a debadged but obviously (from the tailpipe) powerful ‘O8 plate BMW 3 Series.

    Both cars were write-offs. Both were airbag heaven.

    The airbags looked like the ghosts of the passengers.

    Drivers become angels.

    Some people, not me obviously, blinking in the bright morning light, thought it was art.

    CRASH — The Collision of Risk and Trust.

    There were loads of police cars, ambulances and fire engines. One of the paramedics used to be a teacher at a local primary school. Some nosey parker, not me obviously, asked her if anyone was hurt, but no-one was, the airbags had done their stuff.

    It is interesting that each driver has his own ambulance — in case they fight, presumably. They both seemed a bit dazed, maybe worried about their insurance claims.

    People who drive like that do have insurance, don’t they?

  20. @Eilean — great about the clock!! love things like that!
    Personally I hate tescos, and part of me wished it was waitrose — go on knock me for it! ;o) but id be even happier if it was a independent deli or a proper organic butchers. I love Cruson and wished there were more like it! all said and done I prefer tescos to another betting shop or hairdresser/money exchange.
    Has anyone been to Flock & Heard in bellenden road? the Begging Bowl is worth a visit too!

  21. @Eilean ditto Frazzle’s excellent clock spotting. I wish the clock on Camberwell New Road towards the junction would work — any of them, really.

    Er, thank you for the kind words. I promise I am about 70% less pretty in real life, when I tend to be listening to Poison by Alice Cooper while shopping in Morrisons.

  22. Looks like they’ve started work on renovating the Sun & Doves. Saw some builders in there yesterday clearing it yesterday.

  23. I know this is not Camberwellian news but Sarah Ward is back on Jazz FM this evening. She has been away for ages, presumably ill, and I was really worried about her. But there she is!

    Is it me or are our pavements less well maintained and cleaned than those in East Dulwich and Bermondsey and if so why? There are areas that clearly haven’t been cleaned properly for a hundred years and loads of antique chewing gum ground in.

  24. She was away for 9 month. Perhaps she has had a baby.

    The pavements round here are neglected because they are underused. Nobody walks anywhere. The well-off whizz around in space bubbles like the Smart Car and have lost the use of their limbs. One may feel nostalgic about the days when people could actually chew chewing gum

    H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell and many other crusty old seers predicted this.

  25. @Dagmar

    There is a chap in North London who actually paints artworks onto pieces of dried-up stuck down bubble/chewing gum which are left on pavements…

    Who’d a thunk it?

  26. Well, I think the video gives you enough tips, dear. Shall we see you on Camberwell Church Street on your hands and knees doing tiny Mona Lisas and Campbell’s tinned soups?

  27. That’s a rather grim image, excellent. There could be a musical at the new Camberwell Arts Centre at the old cinema, not “Paint my Wagon” but “Paint My Crust”.

    “When I die, I want a Rothko on my crust.”

    But then I suppose some dolt would scribble on it.

  28. Six days later almost to the second there has been another accident at the crossroads of Wyndham/Camberwell Roads at about 10.30am.

    The remains of a motorbike is bang in the middle of the box, with pieces scattered all round and a leather bike jacket by the tangled machine.

    A Zaifira is parked with its passenger door stove it.

    Cop: “We don’t know yet. He’s in a bad way.”

  29. People belt through the lights hoping for the best. Looks like the Zaifira was turning right into Wyndham and the bike was coming from the Green. An exceptionally nasty collision.

  30. @Peter

    “That stretch of road sees a lot of accidents. No idea why”

    Perhaps it is because there are no other transport options other than Bus and Car plus a train station which is a little out of the way up the hill.

    Roll on the Southwark Supertram!

    or a Rail Station on Medlar St

    The Bakerloo line would be nice too 80+ years since the extension work was abandoned due to war — and counting…


  31. On Monday evening a fire engine on an emergency call smashed into the railings and demolished a lamp post at full speed on Coldharbour Lane by Northlands Street.

    Didn’t see it happen myself but am told it swerved to avoid a lady crossing the road, just avoiding killing her but still running over her foot. Major damage to the front of the fire engine cab, glass everywhere. £20k damage minimum?

    I hope another fire engine got to whatever incident this one failed to make it to on time. And I hope the pedestrian who caused the crash learns to cross a bit more safely in future. Look both ways — it’s not that hard.

  32. Major incident opposite next to Peckham Fire Station this evening, almost opposite the South London Gallery, many police vehicles, many police including those wearing riot helmets.

    There was a stabbing at the bottom of Talfourd Road- a blue sheet hides the crime scene — and the stabber ran into the block of flats opposite the fire station. The incident continues.

  33. Actually, it’s interesting to read the comments. My tuppence worth is that while it may create some jobs, it may also damage other businesses and thus in the long run cause people to lose jobs.

    I would rather have the personal service of a shopkeeper, even if it is a bit tatty, over a bland supermarket anyday. Especially as the local shops are usually cheaper (not counting for the one off special promotions.

    Having said that, I will be doing my bit to help create jobs and frequenting the Tesco every time I have a minute when passing.

    I will fill up a trolley with stuff, move lots of products around, and then leave the trolley at the door, and depart without buying anything. If everyone could do the same, it would create a few more vacancies for shelf packers!

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