Search

Highgate café owner in plea to developers: ‘Don’t ruin almost-rural idyll of Swain’s Lane by replacing shopping parade’

08:00 30 June 2014

Alex Dudnic is the owner of Kalendar cafe and Gustus restaurant, which are directly next to the proposed development of Swains Lane shopping parade. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Alex Dudnic is the owner of Kalendar cafe and Gustus restaurant, which are directly next to the proposed development of Swains Lane shopping parade. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Picture this well-known road close to Hampstead Heath and instantly the image of friends relaxing in the sunshine outside a bustling café comes to mind.

But the almost-rural idyll of Swain’s Lane would be ruined if plans to redevelop the popular Highgate shopping parade are approved, according to the owner of the much-loved café Kalendar.

The business is not part of the crumbling one-storey parade that has been at the centre of a planning battle over the last 12 years.

But Alex Dudnic, of Hornsey Lane, Highgate, said that lengthy construction works so close to his business will ruin its cosmopolitan ambiance.

The proposed three-storey building would also block sunlight from reaching the terrace outside, he added.

“My takings will probably go down big time,” said 45-year-old Mr Dudnic, 45, who also owns the adjoining Gustus pizzeria.

“It’s possible I will close down. I wouldn’t be surprised because the majority of Swain’s Lane will have to close for about six months.

“I hope not, because this is my livelihood.”

Mr Dudnic, who opened Kalendar in 2003, is also the chairman of the Swain’s Lane Traders’ Association and wrote to Camden Council last week to object to proposals to knock down the parade and replace it with a three-storey red-brick building, which would drop to two storeys at the corner with Highgate West Hill.

“It will take away all the sun, that’s a big point,” he said.

“It’s a lovely sun spot in the afternoon and nobody is going to sit outside while there are people drilling.”

Mr Dudnic, who split the café five weeks ago to create Gustus pizzeria, has asked the parade’s owner, the Earl of Listowel, to consider restoring the existing buildings rather than demolishing them.

But Mickey Shamlian, who runs Mickey’s Fruiterers in the half-empty shopping parade, said that a “light-touch” renovation is not an option.

“Something needs to be done,” said the 63-year-old, who has worked in Swain’s Lane for 22 years. “It’s stressful for the shopkeepers because we don’t have a lease.”

Lord Listowel has been fighting to develop the parade for 12 years but each proposal has been met with fierce criticism from the community.

The latest plans are for 12 private flats to be created along with eight small shops designed for independent businesses.

A spokesman for Lord Listowel said: ”We cannot ignore that the parade is in need of enhancement. Other retailers and the local community recognise the need for improvements and the earl has been working with the tenants and the community as the scheme design and timetable have progressed.

“We appreciate there will be some disruption for tenants and other retailers which we will seek to minimise, but the end result will be an improved Swain’s Lane which will be more attractive to customers in the future.”

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

08:56
Patrick O'Leary

A member of a violent gang that burst into a woman’s home and stabbed her in the face with a screwdriver has been jailed.

41 minutes ago
Author Laura Bates spoke and signed books at Waterstones in Hampstead after the man was asked to leave. Picture: Mark Hakansson

A man waging an anti-feminist campaign was ejected from a feminist writer’s book talk after crashing the event.

Keith Matthews, Oxfam shop manager, who was handed a log book from HMS Drake by a mystery donor.
 Picture: Nigel Sutton

A century-old logbook detailing life aboard the doomed HMS-Drake has been handed into the Kentish Town branch of Oxfam by a mystery donor.

Yesterday, 17:45
Lynne Featherstone accepts her award from Ben Cohen, chief executive and founder of Pink News.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone has been named the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s “ally of the year” by Pink News, the biggest gay news service in Britain.

Most read news

These images show the lava’s path from a sky-high vantage point.

Would a prominent calorie label on your booze make you think twice before tanking up?

Looking for a holiday? We know a company that are keen to flog you a trip to the land of Kim Jong-un.

Biffo and Bobo better stay away from the town of Vendargues this Halloween.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition