Kilburn independent bookstore owner in ‘David and Goliath’ battle with developers
- Credit: Archant
The owner of an independent bookstore in Kilburn has accused Brent Council of turning a blind eye to what she has dubbed a “David and Goliath” struggle against developers.
Donna Ravenhill, managing director of a Dandy Booksellers, in Priory Park Road, claims her repeated plea to the town hall for greater protection against Opal Mews Business Limited which she claims is “squeezing her” out of business, has fallen on deaf ears.
The saga began in 2012, when planning chiefs gave the thumbs-up to the conversion of commercial offices, neighbouring the bookstore, into five luxurious flats and commercial properties.
The developers successfully applied to change the name of the side street to Opal Mews, following the completion of the new flats in 2013.
Ms Ravenhill claims she was inadvertently told of the change of address in November last year, over correspondence regarding business rates which, the council said would be attached to the new address.
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She said: “Our customers and suppliers all know what our address is and a change brings unnecessary confusion and hassle for us.”
Adding that she has been worried that deliveries will be lost in the postal system as a direct result from the change of postcode, Ms Ravenhill continued: “We have been at this address for 14 years now. This change is completely unnecessary and potential costly for us.”
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What’s more, the developers have reportedly demanded that the sign which advertises the small book business, which employs 10 people, be removed.
In an email seen by the Times, the sign will be “professionally” removed and replaced by a new post that clearly labels the newly constructed homes for visitors.
“It just adds insult to injury,” Ms Ravenhill said.
“How would people know where we are unless we have a clear signpost out front? What are we suppose to do? Send someone out front with a placard?”
She continued: “Brent has been outrageous on so many levels. They have given us no protection or help and have literally let the developers do what they want.”
A Brent Council spokesman said: “We understand the viewpoint of all concerned and have been in contact with Ms Ravenhill and the developers to try to find common ground and a solution which is acceptable to all, concerning the name and numbering of this address.
“We are working to find an acceptable solution for everybody as quickly as possible.”
Opal Mews failed to comment.