This is the blog post I’ve wanted to write for months. Ever since news emerged back in May that the proud South London name of Di Lieto was to return to my little patch of South London, I have been waiting and anticipating until this post can be published.
And so after moving out of the old South Lambeth Road bakery, and then finding resistance from @lambeth_council in opening a new shop over at South Island Place, Di Lieto’s is once again baking bread in SW8.
The new shop officially opened on Monday. I deliberately held off on the munchies front during the morning, knowing that the finest French stick in all of South London would be my reward for lunch. I wasn’t wrong.
Anyone who has lived around the Stockwell / Oval / Vauxhall triangle will tell you that the Di Lieto bakery is the stuff of legend around South London. For almost thirty years, the family business supplied bread, cake and delightful custard creams to the good folk of SW8.
The original store closed a couple of years ago. A Polish delicatessen moved in. Changing times, changing communities, but it was still sad to see a local business that has genuinely played a role in supporting the development of the area disappear.
Stories began to emerge around the start of this year that the Di Lieto family were back in business, and back down at the end of my road – hurrah! A small plot of wasteland had been bought, and the plan was to build a brand new bakery. Meanwhile, over on the other side of Albert Square and the old bakery building had received planning permission to be converted into a block of flats.
Ah, planning permission… there’s nothing quite like the teasing aroma of freshly baked dough wafting through the South London air to convince you that life, and the finest food, are both there to be enjoyed. Unless you’re Lambeth Council, that is…
Planning permission was turned down for the bakery, on the grounds that the smell would cause a nuisance. Meanwhile, down the adjacent Brixton Road and the local economy consists of burger bars and chicken wing shops. Bonkers, Lambeth Council, totally bonkers.
A highly vocal local campaign, organised by the three LibDem local councillors, managed to overturn the Loony Lambeth Council decision. But the Di Lieto story doesn’t end there…
The summer months were spent watching the plot of land being transformed into a contemporary bakery and coffee shop. The construction work was carried out by the Di Lieto family. If they can build a bakery, then I certainly trust them to provide me with my French stick each morning.
The end result is a truly valued local business back in the area. If I want to buy decent bread, this no longer means a trip down to Nine Elms and Sainsbury’s. The new bakery has a coffee shop feel, with a light and spacious area, and some seating for customers to catch up on all the local gossip.
It is exactly this kind of business that enables a local economy to grow and the community to flourish. Good luck Giovanni and family. Welcome back to the best bakery in Sunny Stockwell.