Primrose Hill Celebs Campaign to Protect Independents

Posted on 14 November, 2012 by Neil Bird

Celebrities Sadie Frost and Sam Taylor-Johnson (better known as Sam Taylor-Wood) are spearheading a campaign to prevent beauty chain Space NK opening a branch in Primrose Hill. They claim that their aim is to protect the independent retailers in the village and they hope their opposition will persuade Space NK to reconsider its plans.

Sam Taylor-Wood with husband Aaron Johnson

Frost is an actress and a co-founder of fashion label FrostFrench. Taylor-Wood is a Turner Prize nominated artist probably best known for her video portrait of David Beckham and her “Crying Men” series featuring, among others, Dustin Hoffman and Paul Newman. More recently she has moved into filmmaking, directing the 2009 film Nowhere Boy based on the childhood of John Lennon.

The two women are regular clients at the independent salon Lost in Beauty and are among the 350 people who have so far signed a petition opposing the opening of Space NK in the district, fearing it will herald a flood of chains homogenising the high street.

Taylor-Wood said; “Primrose Hill is full of small businesses that give the area such a strong character,” while Frost describes how the independent shops in the village make it “unique and special.”

She continues; “If one chain arrives, others will follow. We need to protect these businesses and not let it turn into another big-chained high street. I would hate to see Lost in Beauty go.”

Primrose Hill residents have been here before. Eleven years ago they successfully fought proposals to open a branch of Starbucks on Regent’s Park Road. Today the commercial property at the centre of that battle is home to Primrose Hill Interiors. Phil Cowan, the owner of the business, launched the petition against Space NK and believes his own experience proves they can be successful again.

He said; “My shop was where Starbucks wanted to set up. I moved in shortly after they pulled out – so I’m proof that protests can change things.”

Similar protests in other areas also provide evidence of this. Residents and businesses in Totnes recently succeeded in persuading Costa Coffee not to open a branch in the Devon town, proving that big chains can be forced to take local opinion into account.

A spokeswoman for Space NK says that the company is “very much a neighbourhood retailer” and that local communities have to adapt to maintain healthy high streets. But she refused to go into detail about the company’s plans for a branch in Primrose Hill, saying that nothing has been confirmed at this stage.

8 Responses to “Primrose Hill Celebs Campaign to Protect Independents”

  1. gillian says:

    Space NK will enhance Primrose Hill’s shopping street, it is welcomed by many more than it is opposed by!! Sympathetic chains are needed in Primrose Hill they will aide the existing businesses by bringing in much needed trade.

    • MOVEHUT says:

      Hi Gillian, thanks for your comment. We agree that they may bring in the much needed trade, but they could also damage the independents by drawing trade away

  2. Phil Cowan says:

    Would like to update you on our campaign to keep Primrose Hill free of Chainstores. We have found overwhelming opinion that both residents and business owners are opposed to the start of chains opening here. Contrary to the previous comment, vast numbers of people have signed our hard copy and online petitions.I will be revealing just how many very shortly. I will then approach Space NK and hopefully persuade them they are not welcome here. Will update you very soon

    • MOVEHUT says:

      Hi Phil, it would be great if you could share the results of the petition with us.

      I understand a colleague has already been in touch with you regarding this.

      Good look with your campaign :)

  3. Phil Cowan says:

    I have been in touch with your colleague to confirm that we have massive support for our campaign. I will contact you with the numbers of people who have supported our online and hard copy petitions on Wednesday 28th November. I hope the strength of feeling and sheer numbers of people who object to this outlet opening in Primrose Hill will persuade Space Nk to look to expand in an area that is more sympathetic to them.

  4. Phil Cowan says:

    Our campaign to prevent Space NK opening the floodgates for Chainstores opening in Primrose Hill continues! The exact number of people who have expressed their opposition will be published in the press tomorrow, 29th November along with other subjects of great interest on this topic. In the meantime I can let you know that our online and hard copy petitions have attracted the support of MANY thousands of people. Will continue to update you,

  5. Phil Cowan says:

    Our petition has 4,500 signatures to date opposing the opening of Space NK in Primrose Hill. Residents of our community are making their voice heard. Mary Portas has been quoted in the London Evening Standard 30th November 2012 supporting the vast majority of opinion locally on this matter. I have asked Space NK to meet with me and am awaiting their response. I am continuing to canvass opinion here despite attempts to make the right for people to have their say, mysteriously disappear…..

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