Forest Hill ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ (Home Accessories Extra) becoming Costa [Now open]
Sad news another coffee shop really! This was a great place for odd tools and fittings cheap too.
Perhaps it could be a pizza place? Lots of room for moped parking!
Aw I hope not - this is a terrific go-to shop for EVERYTHING! We have enough fabulous coffee shops we need this shop to stay!
That’s a big coffee shop. Perhaps a chain?
That was my first thought - perhaps a massive Costa. There’s nothing on the planning application to suggest a change of owner. Do Costa operate as a franchise?
It’s big enough to be a Waterstones, never mind a Pret. It is almost a double frontage, so I’d be interested to know if the address of 9 Hamlet House related to the entire floor space.
You can see the details here: http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_LEWIS_DCAPR_92631
Appears to be the full (very large) floorspace. From the drawings you can see that they’re using a local architect, which is a good sign, maybe?
Pick of the comments on the SE23.life Facebook page:
Regardless of what it will become I thought the loss of this shop was already a given.
I am sorry for those who works there.
Once said that I would not mind having a coffee shop there. Love coffee. It would be perfect I think.
But don’t we think that we have more than enough coffee shops? I think this is a disaster. We don’t have another treasure-trove shop in the area and this place literally. Sells. Everything.
And if it’s a chain, that’s bad news for the existing coffee shop business, all of which are currently independent with a great reliance on passing trade as well as loyal regulars.
I once bought a pack of ‘jumbo’ balloons in there that were the smallest balloons I’ve ever seen. It’s now a running joke in our family.
Anyway, what about a Nando’s?
Looks a lot like a Costa to me. Who else could afford that size premium for a coffee shop outside of central London? But it would be big even for them.
If it is them, it does make me wonder whether they have intel on the future of the Capitol.
ETA: the coffee shop bit could be a smokescreen. This looks like an application from a developer called Halbury Estates. Big chain sort of behaviour IMO.
I definitely think it would be a shame. This is a super useful shop. Am surprised that investors think there is a market for another coffee shop. In the last few years two have opened and closed. I’m surprised they’d think there was enough demand.
I really don’t know how these applications get approved. FH already has many good coffee shops and this was one of the few decent shops left.
I would be very surprised if it really turns out as a coffee shop in the end
Are they allowed to do that? Mislead on the application?
Such a shame its been really useful shop for random odds and sods…coffee shops on the other hand almost as many as estate agents
As noted before I was on the understanding that Home Accessories Extra was on its way out anyways. There could be many reasons for this. Lack of business is perhaps a big one 'cause let’s face it… it’s never busy in there and for such a prime location they must need to push out a lot of low value goods. I’d imagine the new business rates may have something to do with as well. I can only imagine what the hike would be on a shop with that much frontage.
So it’s unlikely that a coffee shop proposal is pushing out our beloved ‘Aladdin’s Cave’.
But as a replacement I could think of worse tenants. Another estate agent maybe? Or how about a beauty salon?
For me it would really depend on what type of coffee shop this may become. Because while we have a few, they aren’t for everyone? St. David’s may have the best coffee around but it’s small, cramped and not really great for a group of friends. I love the Archie Parker and it sits well at the mid-range level but it’s best for couples or singles with only one big table on offer. Ada’s Deli has in my opinion the second best coffee in FH but it is too small.
So a mid-range coffee shop like Costa Coffee would be a great addition focused singularly on coffees, pastries to go with coffee and a few savouries for the peckish. A shop of that layout could be really fitted out really well with sofas, comfy chairs, low tables and be a really great meeting spot for friends.
Cause right now there is no real place in Forest Hill for a group of five or six friends to meet in the afternoon, enjoy a few laughs for an hour that doesn’t have booze. Okay, there is Coffee and Cream but which I love but sometimes you don’t want to pay these higher prices, and maybe once in a while have a choice without having to head to East Dulwich.
One coffee shop is not like another coffee shop. Just like one (of our five pubs) is not like another pub. Or one of our may restaurants is not like another restaurant. There is no reason a Costa… or even better an independent emulating the cafe setting can sit comfortably within our highstreet and in fact add to the experience.
There are wonderful shops in Forest Hill. From Bunka to the Butchery. From Wild Horses to Farr ‘n’ Wyde. Sugar Mountain to Il Mirto’s. We could do with some more but I wouldn’t be quick to talk down our high street too soon.
Canvas and Cream??
one of the only things I’ve bought here was some plastic stick on numbers for my bin. No idea where else I might find those… Yes they do sell everything under the sun, but there is at least one such place on Dartmouth Road, and it’s really not too far to get to Sydenham Road - where there are multiple shops like this.
Could not agree more.
Costa would get my vote, I like their products and environment.
It’s a shame the shop is going - I use it often. Lets have a Marks and Spencers! This will bring in plenty of foot traffic from The Perry Vale and Sydenham areas, benefitting the other local retailers, like the branch in Dulwich.
Maybe it isn’t entirely a coffee shop?
If its Costa, I would imagine something similar to the one opened last year in Peckham, which has been very succesful
Shame. That shop is super useful.
I’d hate a Costa or any other coffee chain but would welcome an M&S foods or a whole foods market Planet Organic.
We have wonderful indipendent coffee places here.
The coffee in Costa is pretty rank in my honest opion-I think people only like it because they can sit there for hours.
I never sit for hours in Costa, I simply find their coffees to be consistently smooth and good quality. And also very much enjoy the many independent coffee shops in FH and around.
There should always be choices and sometimes that choice is a chain. I personally would love to see a Costa in forest hill and think it will be good progress.
The barista in my local Costa makes one of the top 5 coffee’s I have ever had.
It will be good if it would be a big pound shop
I’d prefer it to be a Waitrose…
As long as its not empty I don’t mind, just because it’s an independent doesn’t automatically mean that they make better coffee.
love a poundshop!!
To pricey. Much prefer a 99p store.
I prefer the quality of the poundshop. The 99p store is a false economy - you end up returning at least one in 100 purchases.
I bought my stick on bin numbers from Amazon…
I made a nice number stencil and spray paint the numbers on mine.
Can’t remember where I bought the spray paint - probably a pound/99p shop.
I have bought a number of items from there over the years, but have to say it always seemed pretty empty, and maybe a little over stocked for such a small customer base.
Maybe the downsizing option is a win win for all, with a Costa would be dreamy for me, might even treat myself to a weekly hot chocolate and a slice of lemon drizzle.
New reply 26/2/18
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I would guess a partition , as it is not one of their usual associated companies, and not really what they want going on in the background.
Great news though, nice to have a mainstream coffee place coming.
another new reply
Good point about the rents etc, one of the side effects of an area rising through the ranks.
I guess somewhere along the way a compromise is needed to maintain the balance. How that is done I dont know. But at the same time, the chains hopefully bring increased footfall, which will benefit all the other businesses.
Would be interesting to hear what peoples aspirations are for the area, and what area they would compare its future to.
For some, keeping things as they are is desirable, for others a little growth and supply of what they want. Some of the terminology used is a little confusing at times.
Now if it could only become a shop like the Aladdin’s Cave in Lewisham, this would secure Forest Hill’s growing reputation as a retro/mid-century shopping destination. That would bring the shopper’s in from all over.
Particularly for shops like Farr & Wyde, Wild Horses, Crazy Man Crazy and Leaf and Groove all on Dartmouth Road along with Mabel’s Five and Dime and Behind the Boxes at the end of Dartmouth Road on Kirkdale.
Don’t forget Sugar Mountain and Stag and Bow. Both high street classics from another era.
I get the kind of tie-in with the retro/mid-century vibe, but I can’t help feeling that people who are minded towards these types of things would often also appreciate two of our other top shops, FINCHES and BUNKA, as well as the newest kids on the block, LEAF & GROOVE.
In Forest Hill Ward.
I tend to think of the bits of Sydenham that I like as the edge of the “Greater Forest Hill” region.
Or Forest Hill Adjacent. It’s how I envisage parts of Honor Oak Park.
Well sadly the real local Aladdin’s Cave you refer to is under threat:
If this proceeds, much more of a loss, in my view, than a bits and bobs shop in Honor Oak Adjacent.
Now that is truly sad.
My nosy wife asked in here a week or so ago what the situation is.
Apparently, only half the floorspace is being given over with the current shop remaining open. The other half WILL be a Costa according to the staff.
I wonder if there will be an internal partition wall to separate the two… or if the Costa would be open plan like in a Next or Waterstones. If so, Home Accessories Extra might have to clean up the displays a bit.
I’ve always quite like A.J. Farmer in East Dulwich. Presentation for pretty much the same stuff is much better. Much nicer shopping environment.
The last thing Forest Hill needs is another coffee shop, especially a big chain coffee shop potentially taking custom away from the brilliant independent coffee shops we already have in the town centre.
Any suggestions for action, or is this a done deal?
The best of all possible worlds.
I think there is plenty of scope for another coffee shop, especially a chain as it will offer something different. It won’t compete with St David for delicious rocket fuel coffee, or the Archie Parker for the best sandwiches in town. The Teapot is a deli as well as a coffee shop and offers hot food like baked potatoes.
Costa coffee shops are run as franchises so it could be a local business. Healthy high streets, to me, need a mix of independents and chains to attract and retain business. People who currently spend little time in our town centre may come to FH for the Costa and discover how much more there is on offer.
I half agree, although I’d never choose to visit any town centre based on it having a Costa - maybe others feel differently.
Surely what makes FH a “destination” is its uniqueness, as opposed to bland and mediocre chain stores which can be found anywhere?
What exactly does Costa offer that is different? I mean I don’t want to be glib but it’s coffee isn’t it!? To suggest it won’t compete with existing coffee shops just can’t be right. And I can’t imagine anyone coming to FH for Costa. If it had been something different like maybe a juice bar or something I would support it but I’m sorry to say I wish it all the worst and hope that people will continue to support the local independent businesses you mention.
There are people who are much more comfortable with familiar chains than independent coffee shops. While the reputation of our independents might be well known to us, I’m sure there are plenty of people in SE23 who wouldn’t risk the unknown quantity.
Plus having a Costa right on the south circular marks FH as a place that is affluent enough to attract chains, and will catch the eye of people passing through on public transport as well as cars.
I would never go somewhere on the basis of there being a Costa there, either. But I am not the target market. While there are plenty of independents to make FH characterful, there is surely also a place for more ‘vanilla’ offerings.
You know Peckham Rye is like SUPER trendy now? Or so I’m told.
I’m talking about people’s perceptions. I bet there are people who see that Costa in Peckham and their estimation of the area nudges up a notch, despite nothing else being different. The same with the large Costa in Catford. It feels at the moment like Costa are acting like Pied Pipers, snapping up large sites in areas that are ripe for development.
Anyway, just my thoughts. I could be entirely wrong. But I’ll be leaving my pitchfork at home for now.
Any shop that isn’t sponsored by LycaMobile would raise my perception of Peckham Rye
When we went shopping for a new house a few year’s ago we couldn’t afford Peckham Rye. We could afford Forest Hill. Maybe the Costa Coffee had something to do with it…
I agree with Rachael. A Costa is a sign a chain thinks FH is worth betting on. It is an advertisement for FH. Maybe not where everyone wants to go, but it could help.
I wonder if the existing shop will continue. I can’t imagine Costa sharing a unit with Home Accessories but the planning application is for conversion of the whole unit to A3 and no partitions (which would need planning permission). I like the idea of a small Costa rather than a big one but I’m not convinced that this is going to happen, despite the word of staff in the existing shop.
I also like the idea of aspirational chains moving into the area, but it is worth considering that this will push up rents and some of the best smaller shops may not survive. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but a double-whammy of competition from a national chain and rent increases can be hard for small shops to deal with.
Catford has two Costas.
And one in Thornton Heath… A very large one in fact.
From the horses mouth after I spoke to the owners.
Half of the shop will be a Costa Coffee, the other half as is.
If all goes ahead!
Sorry if anyone has said this before, I’m only recently asking about this as it may effect our amazing independent Coffee Shops which I think are ace in our community even though I don’t like coffee - yes I am in the minority in FH.
That’s a shame. Not keen on a coffee chain and of the chains, Costa is my least favourite. If we can’t keep the current shop then an M&S would have been fab.
Interesting, though how the half and half situation would work with a shop like that I can’t quite see! I guess if you’re in dire need of string, fuses, a velour throw of a dolphin and a coffee all at the same time…
I seem to remember that after Blockbuster closed that store was empty for quite some time. I would rather a mediocre coffee and string than an empty shop.
I assume they will physically separate the two spaces with a wall and separate entrances.
I would think the same too, makes perfect sense. IF that is indeed the outcome of course.
On another note, I don’t think we are likely to see the likes of M&S or Waitrose around here for a while, based on their lack of interest in the proposed Co-op redevelopment. Hopefully some of you guys get your wishes soon
With Santander going soonish too, London Road is about to change a bit, hopefully for the better.
I digress a little. (a lot)
So yes, I would imagine two shop fronts.
I was born and brought up in the area and moved back six years ago. When I was a nipper of course there were butchers, bakers, hardware shops and all kinds of emporia where you could go and buy things, but doodly-squit places where you could go and eat or have coffee, or indeed have a take-away - nobodydid those things away from their homes. The arrival of the Casa Cominetti Italian restaurant in Catford was big local news. Nowadays the reverse is true - there are tons of places to go and have coffee, eat, drink and socialise but doodly-squit places to buy things (mainly courtesy of the internet of course). It’s the Maplins phenomenon. Not saying either is better or worse (although I do for one lament the prevalence of the chains), but it’s interesting how the demographic and purpose of our high streets has changed from places where you buy things, to places where you eat and drink.
Absolutely love the way you have put this. As a long timer in the area myself, I could not agree more. Interested to see what the next big change will be.
Emporia - great word. I will try to fit that into more of my sentences over the weekend.
I should however point out one thing… The Golden Griddle. The one exception to there being nowhere to go sit and eat. And what a place it was. How I loved it in there! Mmmm.
That may be due more to the location outside the Dartmouth/London Road shopping area than the viability of Forest Hill for these retailers.
The planning application is now shown as ‘withdrawn by applicant’. They will need to submit a new application if they plan to split the unit into half A1 and half A3.
True, true… I guess we will have to wait and see.
@anon30031319 - have you found an update on the co-op proposals - or lack of them ?
I think they changed there mind about that application as Costa didn’t want the whole shop. but I don’t have any inside knowledge, just basing this on the comments above.
Nope, just the usual hearsay.
Even if Costa do bail out - and on the basis that the homewares shop wants to remain - it would make really good economical sense to split the shop through the middle to create another unit.
The reason being that Business Rates hit wide shops much harder than narrow ones, due to the way that the premises is valued by zone. The first zone is the area 6.1m back from the front elevation, which is valued at, say, £375/m2, then the next 6.1m depth is at £187.5/m2, then £93.75/m2. These amounts, together with some other factors such as staff WCs, air conditioning, parking and others, are put together to come up with the Rateable Value.
The Business Rates payable would then be around 45% of the RV but there are discounts available for premises with an RV of less than £15,000 - although I doubt that either of this pair would be eligible for that, unless one was way narrower than the other.
The other major consideration in all of this is - would a Planning Application for splitting this large shop be granted? They might not want to lose a rare large unit in the town centre - even though everyone was up in arms about servicing and deliveries to the ill-fated Morrisons proposal. Would there have been the same hoo-ha if it were Waitrose or M&S though?
So, perhaps a large unit like this with potential servicing problems AND carrying the huge Business Rates burden as it does - ON TOP OF HUMUNGOUS RENT - isn’t viable here and 2 smaller units that might be affordable to independent retailers might just be the answer.
I am not sure who the ‘we’ are that Carol-Anne mentions, although I appreciate her Trump-style of tweeting.
I imagine that ‘they’ would be up in arms if the Wetherspoon chain were to look to open a venue in Forest Hill as no one would want it. Never mind if that pub seemingly was the most popular drinking establishment here.
It would be nice if we let people choose where they want to go by giving them choice.
This is very much a them and us society these days. It is for you to decide if you are a them or us.
I say let businesses try, if they work, great, if they don’t, their loss. Worked for Superdrug.
Costa could be a great draw to the other side of the tracks, maybe when The Perry Vale lease runs out?
I’ve thought that, although it’s not a great spot for outdoor seating and the lack of safe crossing on the road makes it less attractive, particularly for mums with kids.
We need something there, for sure (and preferably not something with a late license - as residents in that block, we have enough trouble with awful parking and often behaviour from JK Banquets patrons leaving at 2am)
Maybe Costa could part fund the much-needed crossing there? I’m not a fan of chains but in this situation, it could work all round
The issue of the crossing is not about funding, but suitability. Lewisham have said it is not an appropriate site for a crossing.
As for Costa being there, I had the exact same thought when the retail units first appears all those years ago. Perfect for getting to the station 10 mins early and loitering.
As for the outdoor seating, it seemed quite popular in the summer when the PV was open.
Costa relies on lots of footfall.
I’d definitely welcome somewhere to get coffee on the way to the station from the Perry vale side, although I have today Costa’s actual coffee isn’t one of my favourites. Do we know why Lewisham doesn’t think a crossing is appropriate? I’ve seen crossings in much more awkward places!
Hi @emmamay - just to let you know, we have a long and storied discussion on this here: A Crossing at Perry Vale? (by underpass) (best to continue there to keep this topic on-topic)
Oh thanks, Chris, i’ll take a look.
There is a new application:
This splits the unit and includes a Costa Coffee.
This planning application therefore proposes the sub-division of the ground floor of 7-9 London Road, Forest Hill. The western half of the unit (Unit 9) would be retained within the A1 Use Class whilst planning permission is sought for the change of use of the eastern half of the unit (Number 7) from its existing lawful A1 Use to allow a mixed A1/A3 coffee shop, which it is intended for occupation by Costa.
This solution allows the current occupier to remain in Forest Hill, whilst creating a unit that is of a suitable size that is attractive to coffee shop operators such as Costa.
Sounds like a positive step, and good for the current business too.
Yeah, if they’d’ve done it when I suggested the permission would be through next week.
I still stick by my earlier post & worry this will have an effect on our amazing independent Coffee Shops
" PaulineVerified1st Mar
From the horses mouth after I spoke to the owners.
Half of the shop will be a Costa Coffee, the other half as is.
If all goes ahead!
Sorry if anyone has said this before, I’m only recently asking about this as it may effect our amazing independent Coffee Shops which I think are ace in our community even though I don’t like coffee - yes I am in the minority in FH."
I am the landlord of this shop and have been since it was built about 15 years ago.
The plan is to turn the left half of the property into a coffee shop and Home Accessories Extra will stay on in the right hand side as you look from the pavement.
Hope this clears things up a bit.
Exactly so sir.
I am the landlord of the property and the idea is to have a coffee shop in the left hand side of the shop and Home Accessories Extra will stay in the right hand half.
Thank you for the info @macpaul .
That makes total sense to me; and the Business Rates saving for the Home Accessories Extra guys will be immense!
I did a similar thing on a miniature scale for one of my tenants on Dartmouth Road recently and, notwithstanding the roadworks chaos, it has worked out really well.
I hope it all comes together nicely for you and your tenants, who are providing a useful service for Forest Hill. I will also have my fingers firmly crossed in the hope that your new coffee shop operator won’t affect any of our little independents too badly.
Hi Guys,can you confirm half will be the Accesorries shop and the other half Costa Coffee, thank you.
Also welcome to the forum, and massive thanks for joining and sharing
What about our local independent Coffee Shops in Forest Hill, will you compete with them, I hope not.
As much as I love Home Accesorries I completely am against any Coffee Shop offerings as we have very fine ones already with @TheArchieParker @StDavid Agas Deli & so many more.
This offering is not needed in FH.
The smaller shop will certainly be cheaper for HAA and hopefully make the business sustainable.
As for the Indy/chain argument, its horses for courses I think.
Some will prefer idiosyncratic, some will prefer the familiarity of a chain.
It’s all about choice
If all goes according to plan, yes.
Thanks @macpaul for the info. Always good to hear these things directly
I am very supportive of a Costa, as I can see many others on this site are.
Choice is the key word.
And let’s not forget people, people who staff these chain coffee shops. Some mentions I see here almost insinuate that chains are faceless or not part of a community. My absolute favourite baristas, who I see every day at the Costa at Blackfriars station, are an absolute joy to my mornings. Super fast, super friendly, always remember my orders. It’s not the first Costa that’s left this impression on me, so I think they must be doing something right in their staff training. Chains and those who work there absolutely can feel a part of the community.
I hope they take the space personally :)
Obviously I’m not involved but they do seem to be reasonable employers - no zero hours contracts etc apparently.
Very sad to hear that, wish you the best of luck but I will leave this thread now.
I support my independent Shop Neighbours @StDavid @TheArchieParker etc
Sorry I can’t support a chain that will compete with outstanding independent shops.
Wish you the best though feeling quite sad about this.
I have to say I think there’s room for everyone.
I dont see the point of negativity on this. Another business being added to the growing list in Forest Hill is surely a good thing?
Competition is a healthy thing, and pushes people and businesses to strive to be their absolute best.
Nothing wrong with a mix of chains and independent businesses, I am sure there is a market for all.
@macpaul thanks for all the info, and for what involvement you have in this venture, I wish you all the best and hope it is a successful one.
Sadly I don’t!
Best wishes anyway.
Thanks Mr Guy. It’s been quite a ride from Blockbuster on …
They are also, notably, one of the few big coffee chains that pay their full taxes in the UK. I’m not the biggest fan of Costa coffee, but will always give them my custom ahead of Starbucks, which thinks it is too good to pay our taxes.
Cor, Blockbuster, blast from the past! Sometimes I forget VHS ever existed, let alone that there was a shop who rented them out haha.
Kudos for sticking in there and sticking with Forest Hill.
Here’s to the next step, and the ongoing growth of the area.
@macpaul I’d like to apologise to you if I have upset you in anyway.
It wasn’t my intention.
While I still worry about our independent Coffee Shops having to compete I do understand that as a landlord of this massive premises you may be helping your tenant to keep there business rates down, which I’m sure must be massive.
All the best, even though I will still worry about our independent Coffee Shops
That’s very kind but there really is nothing to apologise for.
You said what you thought in a clear, polite way and I respect your opinion entirely.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful courtesy people show each other on this forum (on this subject at least) and I’ll post any news I have as it goes along.
I like both independent and chain, it depends what you want, if I’m in a rush I’ll probably get a chain coffee, if I want to relax and have a treat (and possibly more coffee, snacks etc) I’ll probably go for an independent as they offer something different.
Speaking to friends from elsewhere in London last night, Forest Hill has really changed in terms of its reputation, definitely on the up.
So when does a coffee shop change from an independent to be cherished to a chain to be derided?
Costa Coffee’s history started not very far from here in Vauxhall. I remember the smells from their roastery in Lambeth in the early 90s not far from where I lived. Costa very much started life as a small independent roaster than coffee shop.
Jump ahead 20 years Costa now has 1,000 shops in the UK with the help of its new parent Whitbread. 30 years later they are the world’s second largest coffee chain after Starbucks. A truly successful BRITISH multinational who want to be a part of Forest Hill.
I’d be proud to have them in Forest Hill.
But there is another reason. If I, and a group of friends want to meet for coffee in Forest Hil are choices limited. There is Canvas & Cream which can accommodate groups but as noted by many expensive… St. David’s, Ada’s and Archie Parker… as much as I love them often struggle with a group of four or more. The Tea Pot is good. So I’d love a place in Forest Hill where I can meet a bunch of friends for coffee, cakes, at a decent price that isn’t a pub.
I find Costa coffee better than Starbucks but nowhere near the artistry of @StDavid.
If I wanted to meet some friends for an average-tasting coffee, I’ll just invite them round to my house or head to a pub - there’s little argument for Costa IMO but each to their own
Also, Costa lacks relationships with local bakeries so its mass-manufactured cakes and pastries are limp and dry.
Home accessories and Costa does seem to be an odd fit, I can understand it with a supermarket but it’s not like you will look for a plastic tub and then go for a coffee; I imagine that they would be quite separate. The benefit would hopefully be at the least a re-fit of the current store.
I don’t have anything against Costa, although I prefer supporting independent coffee shops. I do think however that the location for Costa would be more suited at the back of the station, like at the Perry Vale, to draw those more comfortable with chains to that quieter side of the station. But if the new hotel at the co-op location is a Premier Inn, they may well also have a small Costa at the front of the hotel.
Many years ago that frontage was made up of 3 separate shops; and I’m sure the finished appearance will look like that again - as opposed to 2 businesses sharing a space.
Which is a great argument for diversity on a high street which serves a range of people.
The proposed plans show the unit to be fully divided with separate entrances.
Not a coffee drinker myself but on the odd occasion I meet friends for coffee in Forest Hill I will continue to use St David’s. But my initial disappointment at the prospect of a generic chain like Costa appearing on the High St opposite Superdrug has lessened and I’m pleased to see that they are at least trying to tackle the environmental issues associated with the UK’s coffee obsession… https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/18/costa-coffee-to-recycle-equivalent-of-all-its-takeaway-cups-each-year
So a thought just crossed my mind… Opening hours.
Looking through the hours of a lot of local coffee shops, it appears that Costa in general offers a much wider range of opening times, usually 7 til 7 for a lot of main locations.
Love em or hate em, they are positioned well to offer those morning commuters their morning fix.
I use to go to indy coffee places all the time but since I have grown a pram as an extra limb, I would welcome an accessible and maybe more spacious coffee shop. As much as I love C&C, St David’s, Two Spoons etc… and as much as I try and take baby in a sling… those places are a bit of a faff to navigate with wheels. Especially if meeting another Mum.
Couldn’t agree more with the accessible point. Not many independent coffee shops provide space or bathrooms for wheelchair or buggy. Usually I go to Dartmouth arms when having a coffee with a wheelchair user. As for opening hours, I remember walking from independent to independent one rainy Monday afternoon with no coffee to be had!
Room for all and exciting for forest hill.
I think everyone has different preferences. Mine is The Teapot - they are friendly with a nice selection of salads and cakes, and open before 10am. However I know other people have their own favourite coffee shops so it’s good to have the choice.
I do like the coffee in Costa but not the food so much, I’d definitely rather have something freshly made.
I have to admit Costa is popular with my kids though!
Teapot are always good about helping with buggy parking. My daughter has eaten the same their since she was 2 and all the staff know what she will order as soon as we walk in. And the food is good.
The Tea Pot is great and I always pop in when down in London. That said I also pop into The Archie Parker who’s lattes are great, St David’s to see if I can beat my own record for iced coffees and Pauline in Sugar Mountain just to top off all that caffeine with some blue sweets
This is why I don’t believe a Costa will be a threat to our independent coffee shops. Just as we all have different preferences with our existing coffee shops, there will be plenty of people in FH who don’t use any of the independents for all sorts of reasons but who would welcome and use a Costa.
It’s up to us to emphasise the things that make the independents unique.
The decadent Blackbird Bakery pastries … and the amazing Reuben at @TheArchieParker
The three cheese toastie at Aga’s
The huge range of freshly made sandwiches and paninis at the Teapot
The artisanal flat white at @StDavid, and their wonderful decor
Everyone knows what the standard Costa formula entails - but it’s the shops and cafes that offer something unique to Forest Hill that I want to preserve, and that means letting people know about them.
Agreed and I would have scoffed at Costa but Norfolk isnt exactly awash with good coffee shops. However, my local Costa makes a latte to rival both St. Davids and the Archie Parker (sorry guys). Each has their own draws and I am sure that all the local decent independents will survive as they offer something that is different and unique. I am a coffee whore though so will go were the good coffee is. Apart from Starbucks, that’s just wrong.
Chris will get no argument from me about the Reuben or the Three Cheese Toastie (damn I’m hungry now). But the Costa has the potential to offer something these other offerings do not and which has been touched upon. The ability to chill with a group of friends for a while. I doubt Aga would be thrilled if 4-6 people took over her one table for 4 for an hour or so on a busy Saturday. It’ll be nice to have that choice.
This potentially could have add on benefits by attracting more custom to Dartmouth and London Roads as people not motivated by an excellently poured macchiato look for a fuller retail experience.
But while we’re talking about good coffee I’d suggest some give the new Aroma Cafe at Forest Hill station aside. On my first visit I was poured a Flat White beautifully constructed and using a really nutty roast.
Yes, with any luck, Costa will relieve the independents of large groups of people who reduce their profitability. (Not a dig - this will represent a happy outcome for all parties)
Good point. I had a Costa-beating flat white there too:
Mmmmm… blue sweets!
From my perspective, i’d rather we didn’t get another coffee shop, of any kind, simply because I worry about whether the forest hill coffee drinking population is sufficient to sustain all the ones we have, never mind another. I still miss From the Forest and The Montage, both of which have opened and closed since I moved to the area, and I don’t want the others going to same way. But as I really don’t like Costa coffee, there is little chance that it’s arrival will affect my patronage of the independents - taste will out!
Ha, the blue sweets are Sour Raspberry Berries which are @Londondrz daughter Charlottes favourite
But then again so are yours and @starman BLUE raspberry bonbons, hehe.
Hope your BBQ went well today, was dying to come for that amazing pork but I had 5 15yr olds to feed during an Xbox tournament after work.
Damn kids eh!, hope you’ll invite me again sometime cause I’d love to come and taste Jason’s cooking
As someone who commuted to Blackfriars from Catford for two years I heartily agree about the Blackfriars Costa staff, and I really like Costa as a chain.
I don’t think Costa will eat into the custom of St David’s etc. St D’s is my go-to for a weekend coffee and breakfast and I’d never swap that experience for a chain. I don’t think it will affect On the Hoof in the station either - who has that much extra time in their commute?!
Are we missing the point? Aladdins cave cannot sustain the size of shop they have currently so the sre downsizing very sensible. Costa see an opportunity in FH they are just as likely to suffer competition from the existing coffee sellers who may be seen as non-chain/more personal?
Overall there should be more employees, footfall and tax revenues cannot see any negatives
I find Costa a bit hit or miss the coffee just above average and relatively expensive. Personally I prefer wetherspoons self service just as good for a fraction of the price with the added bonus of unlimited top ups.
Good to know Fagin
Just to say, I noticed this morning that signs were up for a 20% off sale, and that they’ll be closing in two weeks. Looks like the whole shop’s going. Bit biased as I live in close proximity to it, but I’ve always found it such a useful shop to have and I’m gutted it’s going.
I would have thought for a while perhaps whole shop has to be closed anyway whilst they split it and change set up. So hopefully it will come back. Bought many a random thing there.
I love that shop. So useful. Hope its disappearance is only temporary.
The dude who fixes tech in there is brilliant, the shop stocks every thing basically it’s your own fault businesses fail or sadly downsize is down to the community not shopping there
It says “department closing” so I think it is not the whole shop going.
Going, going, gone…
I’m gutted too - it sold things you just couldn’t get anywhere else. I thought it was closed for a refurb ahead of the split into costa but it loos more like a definite closure now. A shame.
I spoke to one of the contractors refitting it the other day. He confirmed that they are indeed dividing the premises into two.
I’m guessing it would be impossible to keep trading during the conversion. Maybe the ‘yellow’ shop will be back after?
The Costa behind Lewisham Town Hall is always empty.
better Costa then Starbucks and the weak ‘coffee’ …
still no good for a small coffee shops around
looks like costa fascia up on the windows today
sad for the other coffee shops in the area but I won’t be darkening costa’s door, I would guess most others will be the same
I heard the news of sign being up yesterday whilst sat in Archie Parker having a nice hot drink and sandwich. Not a fan of coffee but the raspberry white choc hot choc was delicious! So as long as other local non chains keep offering good food, drinks and service then I certainly wouldn’t switch for a chain. Much nicer surroundings & overall vibe.
Put another Nandos in on the other side
Forest Grill, previously Pizza Al Forno on London Road, does a very good Nando’s.
Costa is now open in forest Hill. Ten years ago that would have been exciting news.
Looks lovely and shiny inside but I think there are plenty of better places to get good coffee and a snack in Forest Hill.
Great news. I look forward to giving them a go. Hope they have the lemon poppy seed muffins.
I usually get my coffee from Costa Coffee because I like the taste of their coffee.
Agree it’s not necessarily time to get the bunting out, but let’s hope Costa does well (along with all the great independents). It may encourage some long overdue investment into the rest of the high street.
Agreed - it’s in one of the most prominent positions in FH and makes the whole area look awful if a closed shopfront
Sad to say I saw Costa busy today and our independants looking less busy than normal.
Happens when there is a “New kid on the block”. Things will stabilize.
Don’t worry - people will go back to the independents (or at least that work from home will - Costa hasn’t sorted out its wifi yet!)
So is the Accessories shop actually coming back to the other part? Or what other plans are there for it?
Costa as an invasive multinational aside, the shopfitting contractor deserves some recognition concerning how quick they were.
Guvan, of For Your Eyes Only, successfully saw off Blockbusters back in the day. Ironically, for those of us that remember, Blockbusters occupied the unit Costa has taken over.
Gulam not only saw-off Blockbusters but also another big video shop, Apollo, who traded from the AldLife charity shop premises
That’s the one!! Took me ages mulling over what the other one was. Cheers, Anotherjohn. Apollo was opposite the swimming baths, right?
And it was a lot bigger than the current AldLife shop because it’s since been partitioned off to provide 2 flats on the ground floor. It’s a real credit to Gulam that he traded through times when there were two very large shops eating into his business and he’s still plodding on nicely after they’ve long gone. It’s a nice story in this day and age.
I was hoping the accessories shop would come back but i see now it will be a Winkworth. luckily still have Sydenham DIY or shop in CP for random home accessories.
We definitely need more estate agents in Forest Hill, so I’m delighted to see it added to the multiple rosters of estate agents, nail bars etc
This will be welcome news for the little hardware shop opposite the Sylvan Post. The guy has been gradually adding to his stock lines since Home Accessories Extra closed and his business has started to pick up as a result.
Good luck to him, he’s suffered through the 18 months of roadworks on Dartmouth Road and he deserves this break.
Oh that’s a good point. I had forgotten about his shop. Frequently walk past. Currently on the hunt for some hooks so shall pop in there later this week.