Subway branch triggers Brick Lane ‘commercialisation’ fears


Subway - Credit: Archant

A fast food chain opening in Brick Lane could trigger an avalanche of commercialisation and ruin the area’s cultural heritage, it has been warned.

Subway is due to open later this month – despite previously running adverts for tandoori sandwiches asking: “Who needs Brick Lane?”

The branch is situated opposite two of the road’s best-established bagel shops.

And opposition groups fear it could open the floodgates to more high street chains opening there.

Chris Smith, who is Tower Hamlets’ Green Party mayoral candidate, said: “I fear that the opening of this fast food chain on Brick Lane is the beginning of the end for Brick Lane’s rich cultural and independent heritage.

“The opening of a Subway indicates the desire for franchise chains to heavily commercialise Brick Lane.

“This ruins the authentic nature of the street and opens the door for retailers to further destroy the integrity of Brick Lane.”

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He added that “lessons need to be learned” from gentrified areas such as Portobello Road in Notting Hill, west London.

A Subway spokesman said the chain does not comment on “specific issues” about branches before they open.

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