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No Starbucks in Stokey: Update

cscag | 03.02.2007 09:51 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | London

As people may be aware the newly occupied Vortex Social Centre in Stoke Newington, London are campaigning to keep it open as a community based radical project.

We understood the owner of the property Richard Midda was in negotiation with Starbucks coffee chain to lease the property as a potential site for a new coffee shop. This caused concern within the local area and a campaign was launched (Church Street Community Action Group - CSCAG) to ensure Church Street retained its unique character and that people had an active say in shaping that character.

Starbucks have now done a u-turn and decided they are no longer interested in the site. We received this communication:

A colleague at the Guardian wrote to Starbucks and received the following reply this afternoon:
* * * * * * * * * *
31 January 2007

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

We have a very stringent process in place for selecting new locations and we are frequently invited to look at potential new sites around the country. The Vortex site in Stoke Newington was one of many potential locations that we have looked at during the process of site selection. However, we can confirm that we have no plans to open a store at this site.

We appreciate you sharing your concerns with us.

Yours sincerely

Daniel Forsythe
Customer Care Supervisor
Starbucks Coffee Company

* * * * * * * * * *

We see this as a victory not only for the social centre, the campaign to keep Church Street free from the further encroachment of corporate chains (CSCAG) but as a positive step when ordinary people can join together to have an impact on those things that directly affect us and the way our environment is used.

To date Richard Midda has refused to specify what he intends to do with the ground floor of the property.

We will continue to campaign against the closure of the social centre and support any self-organised community campaign that prioritises community need over private greed. We urge you to continue to sign the petition to keep the building a community space.

The Church Street Community Action group will continue to meet every thursday 7.30pm at the social centre

Vortex Social Centre
139-141 SDtoke Newington Church Street
London N16 0UH

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