Councillor’s plea for rethink on shopping centre’s decision to oust food stalls

Published: Thursday, August 12, 2021

Leading councillors are appealing to bosses at the SouthSide shopping centre to reconsider a decision to remove some of the food businesses that have been trading successfully outside the centre’s Wandsworth High Street entrance.

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The shopping centre owns the pavement in front of the entrance and has allowed a number of food stalls to trade on this space.

The food businesses offer customers dishes from all around the world and have built up a considerable client base – creating a popular and busy food destination in the town centre.

But in a move that has only just emerged, the shopping centre has asked some of the businesses to vacate this space by the end of this month – although some will be permitted to remain.

The decision has prompted Wandsworth’s cabinet member for economic development, skills & employment to issue a written plea for SouthSide’s bosses to reconsider.

He said: “A number of people have contacted me to share their concerns about changes that are apparently going to be made in relation to some of the businesses that are currently trading outside the front of the SouthSide shopping centre.

“Allowing businesses to trade in this area in the first place was a fantastic initiative, so I would like to thank you for making that decision. However, I understand that there is growing concern from a number of residents because different options for how this space is to be used in the future are being considered, with their fear being that a number of businesses will be told to vacate this space.

“At a time when we know that many residents do not want to meet with others in indoor settings, and also during a time when many businesses are still struggling owing to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, it would feel like a great shame if any of these businesses were removed or relocated.

“I’m sure that the council’s Economic Development Office would be happy to enter into discussions with you if there’s anything practicable we can do to help support this ongoing initiative."

After sending the letter Cllr Morgan added: “It does appear a great shame that a venture which has supported a number of small business and brought pleasure and variety to the town centre could be curtailed. We hope the shopping centre listens to the concerns and wishes of local people on this issue.”