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Braddon backs local grocery in Lonsdale Street vicinity

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A local grocery store in the Lonsdale Street vicinity may be one step closer to reality with a majority of Braddon residents voicing their support in a survey commissioned by the Canberra City Residents Association.

In July, the association's president Joshua Ceramidas suspected Braddon hipsters and apartment dwellers alike would be happier with access to to everyday necessities within walking distance and dropped leaflets into local letterboxes to test the theory.

The survey's results, which were collated earlier this week, vindicated Mr Ceramidas' suspicions and the association hopes the survey will shape future decision making in the area. 

"Local residents have voiced their strong support for the establishment of a local grocery store in the Braddon commercial district," he said.

"Just shy of 80 per cent of respondents to our survey indicated that they think that the Braddon commercial district requires a local grocery store."

Almost two thirds of respondents identified themselves as living in the Braddon area with 63 per cent admitting they shopped for groceries either every day or every 2-3 days.


"Our survey results also indicate that residents frequently shop for groceries, with most respondents identifying that they purchase groceries at least a couple of times a week, if not daily," he said.

Major supermarket chains proved the most popular with Braddonites perhaps signalling the lack of local independent grocery alternatives, with Supabarn and ALDI in the Canberra Centre proving the most popular along with Woolworths in Dickson.

Proximity was forefront in the minds of locals with 92.8 per cent saying this was either an important, very important or critical consideration for any potential local store.

Up to 75 per cent of respondents said they would only walk or cycle to the grocer if it was less than 1km from their home. 

Mr Ceramidas said the survey made it clear Braddon residents think habitable city living requires "ready and near access to services and amenities".

"Consistent with overseas evidence, residents have identified the importance of our city being structured around a walkable scale," he said.

Slightly more than 92 per cent of residents said product range was either an important, very important, or critical consideration at a local grocery, signalling that any local store must be more than just convenient.

Customer service was less of a priority with 30 per cent of respondents saying this was "slightly important" and only 16 per cent describing it as "very important".

The survey also found the majority of respondents spent between $25 and $30 on a single trip to the supermarket, with 30 per cent spending between $50 and $75 and only 11 per cent spending between $75 and $100.

Mr Ceramidas said the survey was indicative of the sentiment in the area and could be used to shape any future developments or inform policy.

"Feedback from residents has also indicated support for these services matching the character of the local community, for example, some respondents identified support for an independent grocer or deli in Braddon," he said. 

When The Canberra Times first reported on the survey in July, Lonsdale Street Traders founder Nick Bulum said he was strongly opposed to the development of a supermarket chain in the Braddon area.

An Environmental and Sustainable Development spokeswoman said a grocery store could be opened in the commercial area of Braddon provided it had a gross floor area less than 200 square metres.  

"I think delis should open, along with specialised and independent supermarkets and fresh food markets," he said.

"It's just a bit more cultural that way and isn't so Americanised. It would bring a little bit of culture into Australia and Canberra in particular."

Mr Ceramidas insisted the Canberra City Residents Association had not commissioned the survey to lobby the government for an additional supermarket or changes in planning requirements. 

"My interest here is to respond to issues for city residents and to highlight the unique aspect of living in an urban environment in Canberra," he said. 

"Where suitable we provide the results of our surveys and other feedback from residents to business owners and developers, and use the information we gain to inform our efforts to give Canberra City residents a voice in government decision-making."

An Environmental and Sustainable Development spokeswoman said a grocery store could be opened in the commercial area of Braddon provided it had a gross floor area less than 200 square metres.