Gladstone Parade demolition: Popular chip shop Skippers Choice among traders given weeks to move out for bulldozers
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:41 15 March 2018
Traders on a 1920s shopping parade facing demolition in Dollis Hill have been told they have only a few weeks until they are forced to close.
Shop owners in Gladstone Parade claim developers have not consulted with them ahead of their marching orders for next month.
City and Suburban Homes (C&SH) was given the green light by Brent Council at a heated meeting on June 28 to rip up the historic shopping area.
C&SH laid down plans to flatten the Edgware Road shops to make way for 38 new flats, retail space and a pub on the ground floor. They said they were negotiating with tenants, all of whom are private.
It rubs salt in the wound for traders like popular fish and chip shop Skippers Choice, which was expecting six months’ notice – and was already fearing for its future.
Owner Bayram Guvercin told the Times on Monday that C&SH had agreed to allow them to return to the new commercial units – but not for nearly two years. “The developers are not giving us a chance to speak to them,” he said. “They only told us three weeks ago that we had to be out on April 13 but they were supposed to tell us six months in advance.”
Mr Guvercin added: “The council didn’t help us at all – we got all the help from the community.
“Once the space is demolished it will take 21 months and then we will be moved to where the Londis is on the corner.
“This is our only business, so we don’t know what we’re going to do during that time. We have no lease so we have no power.”
Sivarajah Thirunavukkarsu, who owns the Londis grocery store next door, said: “I spent £22,000 on refurbishing three years ago because the landlord told us he would renew the lease.
“But when the lease ran out he didn’t renew it. We have been told we have to leave on April 13 – we have to empty everything. We went to the council meeting but they didn’t want to listen to us. We feel let down by the council.”
Sivarajah said he will be left with nothing when the shop closes: “We will get no compensation.”
Alison Hopkins, a former Lib Dem councillor for Dollis Hill, is campaigning for the planning permission to be overturned.
A petition for the council to send C&SH back to the drawing board in June racked up more than 700 names.
Ms Hopkins said: “This development should never have been passed in the first place.
“Dollis Hill has so few shops and amenities as it is and now we are losing a grocery shop, a chip shop and a pub well used by elderly residents in the community.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said final legal sign-off still had yet to be finalised – but that it could not compel C&SH to include space for the chippy, despite the fact the developers had agreed in principle to do so.
She added: “Any planning application approval process is subject to a consultation period where residents’ views are sought and concerns on planning grounds are taken into account in a final decision.
“In two petitions, the majority of concerns centred on the potential loss of the fish and chip shop.
“As set out in a public committee report, the legal framework for planning consent does not allow the council to introduce conditions requiring the developer to offer tenancies to existing tenants or compensation.
“However, due to local enthusiasm for the chip shop, in their planning application, City and Suburban Homes agreed to provide an A5 unit which could be used as a takeaway.”
C&SH did not respond to requests for comment.