The summer before last, our street in Pimlico was in uproar. A public lavatory had just been erected. Now, a similar strength of emotion is being aroused by the prospect of a Sainsbury’s convenience store-no pun intended-in the old library opposite.

We object to Sainsbury because we like our existing food shops. We’d rather buy our newspapers and milk from people we know, who take in our keys on occasion and aren’t too worried about being paid later if we’ve walked out of the house without our wallets. Sainsbury would put them out of business. Our lives would be poorer. I’d thought that Sainsbury wouldn’t get planning permission, because there’s no space for its lorries.

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The company is equal to that, however. It’s proposing to realign the end of the street, creating a delivery bay out of what is, at present, pavement. But we may have a secret weapon-it’s that lavatory. It would have to be moved, but it can’t go anywhere else. It occupies the only site that doesn’t either interfere with the filigree of underground cables and pipes or compromise the security of an office building occupied by government spooks. They could try to do away with the loo altogether, but rest assured: we’d be up in arms.

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