Mega Greggs faces sausage roll critics

Big store in iconic location sends out poor diet message, say objectors

Friday, 29th July — By Tom Foot

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LICENSING chiefs should be doing more to encourage healthy eating, say critics of a mega-Greggs shop which is expected to get the go-ahead to open in Leicester Square.

The food firm said its 24-hour flagship store, taking over four retail units beneath a luxury hotel in the West End, would be launched with a “premiere red carpet opening event”.

But objectors argue the council is in danger of approving “essentially a sausage roll factory ‘plonked’ in the middle of the West End”.

One said: “Leicester Square is a very prominent unit, in one of the most iconic tourist destinations in London. It is visited by 250,000 people every day – many of whom are families with impressionable young children. Given the worsening obesity crisis in the United Kingdom, I believe that this is not in the best interests of the health of our nation.”

Critics said it was up to the council – which is currently waging war against US-style sweet shops in the West End – “to encourage people to make better decisions regarding their diet and lifestyle, and educate the next generation to this end”.

Another objection added: “The plan does not allow any seating areas for customers to consume their purchases.”

Greggs does display nutritional information on its food and has made pledges to reduce the calories and salt in a third of its products in line with public health recommendations.

The new Greggs would take up the retail space between the theatre-inspired Indigo Hotel and faces the statue of William Shakespeare and also the “M&Ms World”.

The Met has also objected, saying it could undermine its ability to prevent “crime and disorder”. But the company’s application said: “Greggs already has two late-night shops open in Newcastle city centre; both close to clubs and bars. People come out of pubs and clubs at various times in the night and drop in for a pastry or sausage roll.

“The products that typically sell after 11pm are sausage rolls and pizza that are not held hot. Breakfast sandwiches are popular between 3.30am and 4am.

“Greggs caters to a wider range of customer types and there is no particular demographic that is disproportionately represented, and certainly none that would be associated with anti-social behaviour.”

The application said guards and CCTV with a panic facility would be brought in, including a “24/7 monitoring centre”.

Licensing chiefs are due to debate the application this morning (Friday).

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