New life for Blackheath Standard

Recent news reports have highlighted Marks and Spencer recent acquisition of Somerfield's store at Blackheath Standard. M&S have said that their plans are to put a food only store in Blackheath. Also they say that they will retain and retrain the 70+ staff as well as employ a further 30 people. This will be on top of revamping the store.

In recent years Blackheath Standard has gone from being one of the most popular shopping destinations in Greenwich to decline. This has been caused not only by new shops opening in other parts of the borough but also because of a lack of town centre management by Greenwich Council, this whist at the same time increasing the rents on the shops that the council owns has squeezed shop keepers.

Ward Councillor for Blackheath Westcombe, Alex Wilson said;

"It's brilliant news for Blackheath. I hope this will mean the area becomes a better place to shop than it has been in recent years, hopefully the new store will attract more customers to the area who will also use the other shops in the area."

Cllr Geoff Brighty, Blackheath Westcombe Councillor, added that unless this situation is well handled the local area will not be able to fully benefit from the new store;

"Whilst the M & S takeover could be good news for the commercial health of the Standard shopping area there may be some cause for concern. 

For example, will the new M&S store be stocking the same range of goods as Somerfield, Morrisons and Safeway have done? Will the prices be higher?  

There are a lot of rumours that there will be a long gap between the closure of Somerfield and the opening of M & S which could be a serious inconvenience for local residents - especially for those without cars.  It could also be both an opportunity for the smaller, local traders to fill that interim period or a further nail in their coffins - if shoppers go elsewhere.  Some of the traders are already reeling from a proposed 40% rise in their rents."