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Mary Portas warns of ‘Spiral of decline’ in Primrose Hill as council deliver blow to celebrity yoga studio

Mary Portas at Camden Town Hall. Picture: Dieter Perry Mary Portas at Camden Town Hall. Picture: Dieter Perry

Monday, December 30, 2013
5:00 PM

Shopping guru Mary Portas has attacked Camden Council for potentially triggering a “spiral of decline” in Primrose Hill by jeopardising the future of a popular yoga studio.

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Primrose Hill resident Ms Portas accused the council of making a “very poor planning decision” at a meeting at Camden Town Hall last Thursday, where councillors approved the re-development of a site surrounding the Triyoga centre.

The decision is seen as a major blow to a star-studded campaign to save the yoga studio in Erskine Road, which is popular with celebrities and has won the support of famous names such as Sir Paul McCartney, Sadie Frost and Jamie Oliver.

The centre was pleading with councillors to prevent the development of the surrounding buildings, arguing that the project could render its premises “unusable”.

In a passionate speech against the development, Ms Portas, advisor to the government on Britain’s high streets, warned that losing Triyoga would have a devastating impact on other businesses in Primrose Hill.

“The negative impact the development will have on Regents Park Road and the local community is vast,” she said.

“I’ve seen the effects of poor planning decisions all over the UK – and this is a very poor planning decision.

“The removal of an ‘anchor business’ has the effect of removing footfall by between 12 and 33 per cent [and] the most powerful ‘anchor business’ Primrose Hill has is under threat.

“Not one business in Regents Park Road can afford any drop in turnover of profit.

“Councillors and planners should fight to protect this and not leave it to the whims of the landlords and say it’s not their responsibility.”

Triyoga is also waging a separate battle with the same developer, which owns the yoga centre’s premises.

It has been fighting eviction ever since the council gave permission for its studio to be changed into offices last year.

The latest proposal, which was approved at last Thursday’s development control committee meeting by six votes to five, would see a number of office buildings neighbouring the studio redeveloped, with one turned into luxury housing.

Jonathan Sattin, owner and founder of Triyoga, claims the construction of a building right up to the centre’s wall could render it “unusable”.

“Two of the windows being removed on our building are treatment rooms – which will become unusable,” he said.

“The studio will also probably be very difficult for us to use.

“It’s a sensitive building – a yoga studio is a very different animal [to normal offices].”

A representative for the developer said: “We are planning to invest for the long-term future of the site so that it can provide modern business premises. Triyoga has been one of our valued tenants for 15 years and we would be happy to grant Triyoga a new lease in improved premises on commercial terms.”

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