I lived on the Erskineville / Newtown border for about 12 months and I loved the schizophrenic nature of the bustling King Street if I turned left, or the village atmosphere of Erskineville if I turned right. Erskineville had our deli, a great Thai, a fantastic florist, and several places to have a beer.
There is a building on the corner of Gowrie and Erskineville Road called the Hive. I prefer to call it the building from Xanadu – I’m not sure what the building ever was, but it has that great “the-future-is-here” feel about it. It was going to be renovated into offices, but Woolworth’s of all people wants the site. And they want it BAD!
Their efforts to nab the site for a local supermarket was stopped primarily by the efforts of locals who were co-ordinated though this group. The Woolies development application was blocked by Sydney Council, but I got an email from village friends saying that they have lodged an appeal. Only last night I asked mm why he thought they were so vicious on wanting to get that site. And only an hour ago I had a HUGE derrrrr moment. They need it because we are changing.
The old fashioned shop our Mum’s did once a fortnight is dead. Long live the top up shop! People are now shopping more frequently and the types of shops that are experiencing growth are the smaller, local specialists – the delis, the butchers, the fruit shops, the IGAs and the Foodworks. They are just easier to run in and grab your bits for dinner that night, than your big, unwieldy supermarket, with their huge carparks and long queues. So Woolies and Coles are after our neighbourhoods. They want us to come to them instead of the little mixed buisnesses on the corner. They want to get local.
But do locals in places like Erskineville want them? They have successfully blocked them so far, and I hope the appeal fails. But expect more and more attacks on our neighbourhoods by Woolies and Coles. We are changing and they don’t like it.