Starbucks becoming Jigsaw clothes shop

Interesting that Starbucks has finally given up on their Blackheath branch. The council had prevented them from changing the use of the building to allow any more than two tables upstairs. I suspect that if any more suitable location came up in Blackheath, Starbucks will be back.


Filed under blackheath

43 responses to “Starbucks becoming Jigsaw clothes shop

  1. Anonymous

    That’s a shame.. Well done Blackheath Society… You’re sooo sad! Maybe others are thinking of giving up on Blackheath. Watch this space!!!

  2. Anonymous

    Oh now that is really disappointing. I know, I know, Starbucks is the source of all evil but I like it and every weekend I’d go and grab a coffee. Not surprised though – it was such a waste of space.

    Never understood how they couldn’t get a change of use to open up the downstairs. I mean haven’t Foxtons managed that (and assaulted our eyes with that tacky shop front.) Where were the Blackheath Society when Foxtons arrived?

    I do hope Starbucks comes back – I will miss them. I am certainly not going to Costa!

    • Anonymous

      Anybody going to Stsrbucks instead of the wonderful local coffee shop opposite is sad and knows nothing of coffee. Starbucks coffee is weka and tasteless and they pay no tax to UK. why oh why do you want to help US multi nationals – there is Costa (bad coffee but British ) plus Nero’s too.

      • Anonymous

        That’s black vanilla and that’s closing too!! Starbucks was a waste I a huge site but at least you could get a buggy trough the door!

      • Peter

        Do you mean the place that put their bottled water up 50% on Race For Life day? I’d rather not.

  3. Mo

    Oh now that is really disappointing. I know, I know, Starbucks is the source of all evil but I like it and every weekend I’d go and grab a coffee. Not surprised though – it was such a waste of space.

    Never understood how they couldn’t get a change of use to open up the downstairs. I mean haven’t Foxtons managed that (and assaulted our eyes with that tacky shop front.) Where were the Blackheath Society when Foxtons arrived?

    I do hope Starbucks comes back – I will miss them. I am certainly not going to Costa.

  4. Perry Luke


  5. Alan Burkitt-Gray

    There’s a former NatWest bank in the village whose latest incarnation as a restaurant has just closed. Do you remember it as the Flame Bar, as Troy, as whatever it was called as a Nepalese restaurant — under two sets of owners — and more recently as Venice, also with two lots of management? The quarter day arrived a week or so ago and the lights went out.

    What it needs is a brand that everyone knows. It’s dreadful as an independent restaurant, because no one can see inside well enough to judge it. It would be OK as a Pizza Express, but we’ve got one of those and it’s been there 30 years; and there are other branded restaurants around too. That or a very, very upmarket restaurant with a star chef that sells on reputation. However, it wouldn’t be bad as a Starbucks.

    • Every time I look at the Lloyds bank, I find myself amazed that it used to be a swimming baths and assembly room. What a spectacular combination. It’s such a huge building – seems a waste for it to just be a bank branch…

    • Venice’s lease is up for sale – see the John D Wood commercial website (as is Khan’s if you believe that, too). I commented on this to a restaurateur chap who lives in the area who laughed at the 100,000 per annum rent. Blackheath is awash with Italians and Curry Houses.

      A space that huge might benefit from having something like a steak/burger type place, although at the rental cost and size, I would imagine only a chain could get in there and profit. Inasmuch as I find their food relatively bland and I’m not particularly pro-chains, being pragmatic a Wagamama wouldn’t be too bad an addition to the High Street as there is little oriental choice in the Village aside from the takeaway which is pretty humdrum.

      Going back to the Starbucks issue – not problems for me, you can get a pretty nice coffee at Black Vanilla (in my limited coffee knowledge view)

  6. Anonymous

    Grabyourbucks clearly decided it couldn’t make enough profit in Blackheath. Plenty of smaller outlets dealing the same unappetising over-priced brownish goo will remain despite the global giant’s drive to satisfy unhappy shareholders. Or it could have moved to the Venice or Cactus Pit, both of which have oodles of space for Yummy Mummies to park their tank-like prams. Never mind, that leaves the field clear for McDonalds, which is working hard to grab one of those prime pitches.

    • Anonymous

      You don’t by anychance belong to the BS? You seem to have their attitude.

    • Jon

      Where has this cynicism about profit come from in modern Britain? Reality check – businesses exist to make profit!

      It would be fantastic if you started up and bankrolled some sort of social enterprise / staff-cooperative / ex-offender rehabilitation / young apprenticeship coffee shop.

      If you choose not to, I suggest you come to terms with the facts of life!

  7. Village Dweller

    While I don’t have a “tank-like pram,” I am a mother who drinks coffee and Starbucks is the only place in the village where I can get in and out with children swiftly. I’ve tried all the village outlets and while some make better cup of coffee, it’s impossibly stressful to get a latte with a well behaved toddler (and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way). I support the village businesses as much as possible, so I hope something comes along soon to fill that gap.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree! I too have a couple of littleys and as a stay at home Dad… It’s nice to get out and enjoy a coffee… BUT it is difficult even with the bestest behaved child!

      I would however recommend ‘Moca’ just off of Blackheath Standard on Old Dover Rd. Charming and VERY accomodating for Tots.. Babycinos are free!

  8. Meems

    Unfortunately Starbucks rented their space from the deli/cafe next door who, unsurprisingly, would not permit extra seating.

    Shame as Starbucks did good things for local community events.

    • ******

      Not sure where you get your info Meems but the Deli has absolutely nothing to do with the building Starbucks occupied. Starbucks took on that building knowing before hand that they would not be able to use the extra space. This is purely conjecture on my part but did they think that once in they could bulldoze the council and B/S into changing its registered purpose?

  9. SE3 Dweller

    Grabyourbucks – ha ha! Originally coming from the North (of London, NW3) I was amazed at how snobby Blackheath-du-Roy residents were/are about Starbucks. Over-priced? Yes. Totally-chavvy-naff? Well no, actually. Commercial and everywhere? Guilty, but then aren’t Gregs, Rymans, Pizza Express, Giraffe et al also? The place really was no less charming for it. But then, I live in the ‘wrong’ part of SE3 – apparently – so perhaps I’m utterly missing the point……!! I actually won’t notice it’s gone, but I’ll watch with interest to see what comes next.Judging from the latest stylish newcomers I’m sure whatever it is it’ll meet with the approval of all!

  10. Blackheath resident

    Babycino’s can’t be charged for because they are an Australian import that unfortunately caught on here and if it isn’t on the list, legally you cannot charge for it. Intensely annoying ping calling some frothed milk by that name

  11. Anonymous

    For a lot of people in this country, being American and successful is about as bad as it gets. I am not surprised the people at the council and the Blackheath Society want to drive out Starbucks. The excuse of not wanting chains is just a sham. How about Costa, Pizza Express, Strada, Fat Face, Holland and Barrett…..

    Starbucks is part of our lives, like it or not.

    To the Starbucks Blackheath team, thank you for being part of our neighbourhood. You shall be missed.

    • Anonymous

      No-one ever tried to “drive out” Grabucks. BlackSoc and planners merely refused to cave in and allow agreed planning policies to be ignored. The US giant knew the score when it moved in: a limit on tables to prevent yet another shop being turned into A3 use. But it decided to plough on, expecting to out-muscle objectors. There has been no campaign to oppose chains, otherwise the others you point out would have been fought.

      It boils down to the fact that Grabucks is rationalising its UK property portfolio after over-extending in the boom and annoying private equity shareholders, so the lower-profit premises are being dumped.

      This may be painful to those with a coffee fixation but please don’t assume it was part of everyone’s lives. Loss of butchers, bakers. fishmongers and greengrocers over the last 20 years have been far more damaging to the neighbourhood.

      • Anonymous

        Starbucks is a publicly owned company. I would not be surprised if some of its shareholders are private equity investors but Starbucks is not owned by private equity. If you dislike private equity, then please note Pizza Express, Fat Face, Cafe Rouge, Strada and Holland and Barrett are all owned by private equity. And I do mean “owned”.

  12. Anonymous

    In pure coffee terms Black Vanilla is miles better than the insipid weak and tasteless rubbish at Starbucks. Even Costa and Nero’s are better. Only Pret of the Chain’s mAkes anything resembling real coffee. Any of you Mum’s ever tried Monmouth Coffee ? If so you would not mourn the death of these American non UK tax paying multi- nationals.

    Glad Venice has gone too – was a poor replacement for the excellent Nepalese. Just hope yet another Chain like Cote or Jamie’s does not arrive.

    The best thing about Blackheath is the independents or do you all want MacDonalds KFC Burger King etc ?? If so go to Lewisham.

    • Monmouth coffee is pretty great, and they sell it in Handmade Foods.

    • Anonymous

      Starbucks have paid exactly what the law requires them to pay. They have broken no laws. We’d all rather keep our own money than give it to the government. Business is no different. We are in trouble when we think it’s up to well organised professional protesters to dictate how much a company should pay. It’s up to the government to tighten up the laws.

      As for evil chains……what exactly is Jigsaw? Hardly a small indie retailer. Probably the only people who can afford the rent are the chains.

  13. Anonymous

    Are independent shops better simply because they are independent? Have you ever walked past the “independent” fish and chip shop in Blackheath and experienced the stench of frying oil? I can’t imagine why anyone would want their neighbourhood to be filled with nothing but chains. A balance is needed. Let’s not forget one thing. Chains become chains because there is a demand for their products or services by members of the general public. They don’t become chains by themselves for no reason.

  14. ScottyD

    Sorry to ask, and excuse my ignorance, but what is ‘Jigsaw’? Food, clothing, furniture – I’ve no idea.

  15. Alex Grant

    The point that the Blackheath Soceity was making when they rightly opposed the opening of Stabucks was not just hositilty to that brand – it was about defendng the Village’s retail base. If we allow any shop to be converted to cafe or restuarant, then the rest mayy to follow.

    I have always found the Blackheah Villge branch a it soullss, and as lots of people have said, there are many better independent cafes nearby. Much better to have a shop that sells clothes than second-rate cafe in my vew.

  16. richard

    How is a society able to judge what retail base a particular area whould have?

    • Anonymous

      It’s not. It has an opinion – just like you. So do councillors when making planning decisions. Both BlackSoc and councillors are elected. So their opinions are judged by votes from people like you.

      • richard

        BlackSoc are a private members’ club consisting of middle aged middle class white people and their opinion should be treated as such. We have a perfectly adequate system for allocating which businesses should locate where, its called the price mechanism.

      • That’s not how planning has ever worked in the UK, Richard, and I disagree with the tone of your comment.

  17. +1 for Hand made food, I do like the coffee there. They also have tables upstairs. They usually let you put your buggy behind the till.

  18. Anthony Rear

    Sad to see Starbies go. I used to enjoy a chat with the staff and people-watching from one of the two tables by the window as I frapped up. I hope it returns soon.

  19. Alex Grant

    I note that the notice in the ex-Starbuck’s window says that customers can find the next-nearest Starbucks “just around the corner” in Greenwich Town Centre (actually well over a mile away). So geography is not their strong point!

    I think the Blackheath Society are being unfairly maligned by some of the people commenting here. Their opposition was not to coffee shops in general, or to Starbucks (and its customers) in particular. The society was concerned about the loss of retail sapce in the village to other uses, such as restuarants and bars. If the two councils’ rules on this were ignored by others, as Starbucks had tried to, Blackheath Village would have few if any proper shops left.

    • Heartofthevillageresident

      But wasn’t Black Vanilla’s premises a retail space before it took the lease over? Also it has A3 permission for selling ice-cream, coffee, etc – a bit like Greggs – but has as much seating space as Starbucks had. Don’t understand why Starbucks was opposed by the BS but not Black Vanilla which has bent the planning regs to the limit by encouraging its customers to consume its products on the premises – some would say beyond the limit. The initial planning application said there would be some seating for customers waiting for their purchases to be prepared – not consumed on the premises. Also, it places a sign on a narrow section of the pavement to the detriment of pedestrians. According to the BS that is illegal. And its selfcongratulatory posters quoting a reviewer nobody’s ever heard of somehow jar. Anyway, BS has achieved its aim: the ex-Starbucks premises are returning to their previous use as a ladies outfitter and haven’t become licenced premises which is what motivates the strategy of protecting the status of retail premises in the village. A good strategy in my opinion. In that sense this is a success story for the Society – its leadership should be congratulated on winning an issue for once. But I shall miss Starbucks which was spacious and open 7 days a week from 8am to 7pm providing a popular service to local residents and commuters at reasonable prices – also its baristas who were often interesting and likeable people. As a nearby resident I found its customer services really helpful and responsive to local residents’ concerns – for example, Starbcks changed its nightime delivery schedule after a residents’ group complained about noise. And as somebody else mentioned Starbucks did a lot for local community events. By the way somebody said BV is closing down – which is incorrect. That story was reported in a local free magazine – can’t remember which one. BV isn’t closing.

  20. uknowitmakessense

    i have no axe to grind… I just happen to live near the village so I’m in favour of fewer late opening licensed premises – though not against a restaurant that is licensed as I might well use it.

    On the whole I’d rather have Starbucks than Jigsaw, as I just can’t fit into their clothes (being male probably doesnt help).

    On a serious note, it seems a lot of people on here do not see that times are changing:
    Whilst it might be nice to have good quality retail shops on my doorstep, it would be unrealistic to expect a business to open a shop in an unprofitable area just because it would suit a few people who live nearby. The reality is that most people prefer these days to go to purpose-built multi outlet shopping facilities so they can get a number of different things, at competitive prices, in one trip. The chances of the Village meeting all those needs are slim. Next it’s internet shopping eroding the ability of the afore-mentioned multi outlet to compete, as shopping (for some things at least) at even more competitive prices, from one’s armchair is fast becoming more attractive.

    Against that backdrop, trying to artificially keep the Village for retail shops is a bit like Canute trying to keep the beach dry. Locally owned shops in the Village will die out. The number of retail chains who can make the distribution model work will shrink too. So, if the Village is to be anything other than tumbleweed territory there needs to be something to fill the space. Eating and drinking establishments fit that bill – better than charity shops, estate agents and small shops selling mostly stuff people no longer want or stuff they do want but at exorbitant prices.

  21. heartofthevillageresident

    I disagree – this is another version of the idea that the market if left to operate without restriction will give the community want it wants. An idea which brought us amongst other things the banking crisis and is now generally discredited after a brief resurgence during the 90s and early 2000s. Landords rents are determined by demand. An important factor in determining demand for commercial premises and therefore rents is what purpose commercial premises can be put to. Planning regulations constrain the purposes commercial premises can be put to. It follows that the planning regime can have an important impact on rents. The planning regime is intended to be an expression of the popular will which exists amongst other things to protect and enhance the social and physical environment of a community. High rents and business rates (which are strongly influenced by rent levels) make it difficult for retail outlets to survive in Blackheath Village because they are competing in the market place for premises with businesses – such as bars and restaurants – which have higher profit margins and therefore can pay higher rents and business rates. Therefore, if the community wants more retail outlets (including charity shops) and fewer licenced premises then the planning regime should reflect that desire. The result will not be “tumbleweed” but a thriving retail sector, less of the anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol consumption, less nightime noise pollution caused by night time deliveries and so forth. The losers will be the rentier class but I imagine few people will shed a tear for that. Personally, I have long been convinced that the solution lies in the creation of dedicated out-of-town purpose-built “drinking parks” where those who wish to wreck their health via alcohol consumption and over-eating should be allowed to do so without disturbing the lives of others. Medical and police services should be intalled there at the expense of those who profit from such commercial activities.

  22. Gabby

    As someone who shops at Jigsaw occasionally I am not surprised they are opening an outlet in Blackheath Village. Starbuck’s though was a waste of space in the village. There are stores in Greenwich and Woolwich and I wish Costa Coffee would reopen a proper Woolwich town centre store,

    Starbucks are closing stores across the country. The fact they could not get a change of use meant leasewise this store probably was worth more to Jigsaw as a retail shop for women’s and possibly men’s and children’s clothing than as a Starbuck’s with two tables inside. The cost of the lease probably didn’t help.

  23. Anonymous

    I worked in this store, it’s a shame its closed. It had a nice atmosphere and a good team. When I was still there 2-3 years ago, the council still allowed 4 tables and 8 seats altogether. (although there is a huge space downstairs…)

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