Corporate capitalism: my part in its downfall

Like most of the country, I have been following the twists and turns in the ‘Occupy London’ story with great interest.

Occupy Finsbury Square

What are the alternatives? Plenty of ideas at Finsbury Square

Yesterday’s developments, with St Paul’s Cathedral and the Corporation of London both stepping back from legal action and the Cathedral agreeing to set up a taskforce to look into the issues the protesters are raising, were very encouraging. St Paul’s was not the originally intended site for the occupation, but it has turned out to be an excellent choice as it has brought the Church of England  into the debate and the moral issues are now getting a thorough airing.

I joined the occupation on the first day, with others from Redhill Coalition Against Cuts, and went back during half term to stay for a couple of nights at the second occupation site at the north of the city.

The Reigate Peace Groups website asked me to write a blog post about my times at the protest camps.  As so much is being written about the protests and the issues they raise – and the story is evolving so fast – I kept it to a personal account of my own experience at the camps.   It’s more about the housekeeping than the politics.  You can read it on the Reigate Peace Groups website

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  1. Valerie Evans
    Posted Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi Sarah, What is the situation with regard to the plans for re-developlment of Redhill? I was horrified when I saw the picture of the artist’s impression with Sainsbury’s holding the most prominent position when coming from the North. Supermarkets are a mixed blessing at best and destroyers of local life and other small industries at worst. I would hate to be greeted by the sight of any supermarket as I approached a town and I don’t know of any other towns where this happens. It’s not an impresion I would want to give of my town – ruled by money. How much better to be greeted by the current Lombard building or, even better, a theatre. We know that Sainsbury’s are contributing to the development for which we are grateful but we should never forget that it is a purely commercial decision on their part.

    Personally I don’t believe we need a larger Sainsbury’s. It serves the local and working population perfectly adequately and the locals can easily get to several other large supermarkets, all of which are on out of town sites. I would like to see the evidence that having a larger Sainsbury’s will attract more, useful, businesses to the town. Can you really see Phase Eight opening a shop here, Monsoon perhaps. Why can’t the Council offer an incentive to the types of business they would like to see here and then let the business bid for the right.

    Is it too late to get the siting of Sainsbury’s altered?

    Valerie Evans

    • Councillor Sarah Finch
      Posted Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Hi Valerie – yes I am afraid it is too late. The application was approved by the Planning Committee in August so, subject to a few details, Sainsbury’s have planning committee to build the store and hotel.

      I have misgivings about several aspects of this proposal – including the way it will dominate the view from the north as you say. At the Planning meeting I proposed deferring the application so we could look properly at aspects that hadn’t been fully considered, such as the impact it will have on other shops in the town, but the rest of the Committee approved it anyway.

      Of course Sainsbury’s may never build the store. They got planning permission to expand the store in the past which they didn’t use. And before knocking down the Lombard building, the current occupants have to move out. So there is still a chance it may not happen.

      Now we have another proposal for a large supermarket – Asda wants a 24-hour superstore on the corner of Cromwell Road and the High Street. See some details here: So far they have not submitted all the information needed for the application to be processed. I will be examining the proposal and listening to views from all sides. I will post here when the application is OK’ed so that people can respond to the Council.

      Best wishes, Sarah

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