Forest Hill ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ (Home Accessories Extra) becoming Costa [Now open]

Does this mean that the Aladdin’s Cave (or Home accessories as it is properly called) will become a cafe? Sad news if so as it’s a really helpful shop.

In case anyone was curious:

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:

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 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.

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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.

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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

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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.