The London-based People’s Supermarket will appeal against Camden Council’s decision to not grant it discretionary business rates relief, a fact which saw it landed with a massive £78,000 bill for unpaid fees last week.

The member-owned sustainable food co-operative had argued that its store had a “clear public benefit” to the local people and society as a whole, and should therefore benefit from the rates relief commonly afforded to non-profit and charitable organisations.

However, Highbury magistrates did not agree, and in a hearing held last week the store was ordered to pay arrears of £35,000, and business rates of £45,000 for next year.

The bill would prevent the store from fulfilling some of its future community projects, co-founder Kate Wickes Bull said.

It has agreed to pay back £600 a week as part of a weekly payment plan over the next two years. 

Planned store improvements including the instillation of air conditioning, and more environmentally friendly fridges, would all be shelved as a result, Wickes Bull added.