Shopkeepers on 'Britain's worst high street' vow to fight plans for giant supermarket

“Proud”: Les Metcalfe outside the Faction book and record shop

Updated: 11:33, 06 August 2013

Shopkeepers in a south London high street called the worst in Britain today vowed to fight the threat of their businesses being demolished to make way for housing or a supermarket.

Three years ago a third of all shops in Lee Green were vacant. Under government proposals unveiled this week, shops could be turned into houses and flats after a decision that some traditional high streets are no longer viable.

Planning minister Nick Boles believes local authorities should give up trying to revive town centres that are blighted by rows of boarded-up shops.

His policy would put Lee Green’s shops in the firing line.  The proposed relaxation in planning restrictions means entire terraces of shops could be turned into housing. In a double threat, property developer St Modwen has applied to Lewisham Council to demolish the shops in the Leegate precinct to make way for a giant Asda.

Les Metcalfe, 48, owner of the Faction book and record shop, said: “We will fight any plans for a supermarket or housing being built. We are an independent shop and are proud of that.”

Susan Kinahan, 50, of optician In-sight, said: “This used to be a nice little hub which attracted locals.”

Three years ago the Local Data Company said Lee Green was the worst UK high street. The area has struggled with charity shops taking the most prominent shop fronts.

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