Tachbrook Street is only half Thomas Cubitt. The opposite terrace was replaced in the 1960s by Darbourne and Darke’s Lillington Gardens estate, still unsurpassed as an example of civilised mass housing. The old section has balconies, brick detailing and (now) a premier destination for real ales (‘pub’ hardly does it justice). But the budget fell at our end of the street. So when we bought our home 20 years ago, we weren’t sure that we would like the view, which includes a row of small shops.

We’ve come to regard those shops with joy. They’re our lifeline. Not only do they serve our need for flowers, hairdressing, dry cleaning and computer services, but Pimlico Food and Wine is like a second larder, which one or other of us visits several times a day.

The staff there holds the keys to our front door and takes in post. It’s one of seve-ral small food shops in the area. Last year, local residents protested when Sainsbury’s threatened to open a Metro-type store in the former library. Westminster City Council heard our plea. But you know what supermarkets are like. It has come back, offering more money. Keep it away. We already have a mega Sainsbury’s within walking distance. We prefer people to retail giants.

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