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April 25, 2012

The Capital's first People's Supermarket based in Camden is in danger of being closed as it struggles to pay business rates.  The supermarket is the first of its kind in London and is run by volunteers to offer fresh, locally sourced produce at reasonable pricesIn a bid to stay open, owners have called on the council to throw it a lifeline and help out. The not-for-profit shop, run by volunteers, has business rates debts of around £30,000, which it is feared could force the groundbreaking scheme to close.

Around two dozen supporters of The People's Supermarket, wearing their signature bright yellow t-shirts headed up to the Town Hall to urge councillors to step in and stop the bailiffs.

Up to 25 people will lose their jobs if the supermarket closes, which opened in 2010 part funded by a £25,000 council grant. A council spokeswoman said Camden had sent the bailiffs in after the supermarket reneged on repayment of last year's taxes but insisted the authority was negotiating with the group to find a solution to avoid closure.

"We very much hope that The People's Supermarket can find a way to stay open," says Vatche Cherchian, manager at the Camden branch of lettings agent Edmund Cude. "We are very proud to have the first People's Supermarket in Camden and it is widely used by locals and adds a real sense of community to the area. High streets need a mix of shops including independent retailers to keep them interesting and useful to locals and visitors alike." 

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