Shopkeepers fear new building proposal would ‘kill’ Muswell Hill’s village feel

PUBLISHED: 18:52 26 January 2018

Michael Silliton and his colleague John Cousans from The Flower Seller in Muswell Hill fear a proposal to redevelop the site where they are based could put them out of business. Picture: MICHAEL SILLITON

Michael Silliton and his colleague John Cousans from The Flower Seller in Muswell Hill fear a proposal to redevelop the site where they are based could put them out of business. Picture: MICHAEL SILLITON


A flower shop owner fears he could be forced out of business if plans to redevelop his premises get the go ahead.

Michael Silliton has run The Flower Seller in Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, for 20 years but fears an application to build on a row of shops where his florist’s is situated could cost him his livelihood.

The plan would see a basement and four storey building rise up with space for six shops on the ground floor and flats above.

However, Mr Silliton fears if Haringey Council approves it his shop would be knocked down to make way for the development.

“My fear is I’ll be out of business. We don’t know how this will pan out. The uncertainty is very worrying,” Mr Silliton said.

He went on to add that even if his business survived the building phase, rent at the new site could be raised putting independent shops like his out of business.

“Muswell Hill is a place where there are still independent shops. That needs to be preserved with rents that allow people to make a living,” the 52-year-old father-of-three said. “It’s a big threat for me and my colleague John.”

Morgan McGlyn, from Cheeses of Muswell Hill a few doors down from The Flower Seller, slammed the new building’s design saying its modern look was out of keeping with the surrounding Edwardian shops.

She echoed Mr Silliton’s warning higher shop rents at a new development would be affordable for retail chains but force small businesses out.

“Muswell Hill’s independent boutiques give it that village feel. A development like this will kill that,” she said.

A spokesman for business group the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association (MHFGA) said: “Our primary concern is to ensure the development enhances the town centre.

“Understandably, residents are concerned about the impact this development would have on the town centre,” he added before urging the applicant to carry out a public consultation exercise.

Muswell Hill Cllr Gail Engert, who first warned Mr Silliton about the plan, said: “This proposed development will threaten thriving independent businesses like the wonderful Flower Seller, which are part of the reason people visit Muswell Hill’s vibrant shopping centre. The design is unattractive and out of keeping with our Edwardian shopping centre.

“The disruption such a development would cause, particularly the excavations at basement level, would not only impact on our independents, and could make them less viable in the future, but would also cause disruption for residents,” Cllr Engert added.

A Haringey Council spokesman confirmed receipt of the planning application and said a public consultation is ongoing.

“We would encourage businesses and residents to respond to it,” he added.

The consultation ends on February 5.

The applicant declined to comment.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories


A fire engine was left marooned for nine hours at East Finchley Allotment, home to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s vegetable patch, after it responded to a fire on Thursday morning.


The chief executive of a secular pressure group has backed under-fire inner north London senior coroner Mary Hassell, saying “religion shouldn’t be a trump card.”


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is in jail because of an argument between Britain and Iran, campaigners claim.


There will be no police dogs patrolling Hampstead Heath following a cost-cutting exercise, the Ham&High can reveal.

An open letter to His Excellency Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei from supporter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Jessica Learmond-Criqui.

Time is a precious commodity for politicians and there never seems to be enough of it.

Yesterday, 16:43

The victims of Tuesday night’s stabbings have been named as 17-year-old Abdikarim Hassan, and 20-year-old Sadiq Adan Mohamed.

Yesterday, 15:27

A mother of three with cancer forced to sell the family home to pay for treatment abroad has called for the life-saving therapy to be made available on the NHS.


Melange, with locations in Barnet and Crouch End, has opened a third in Belsize Park. Here co-owner Justina Markauskaite talks about removing the borders between cuisines and why they put family at the centre of everything they do

Less is More, a group exhibition at the Daniel Raphael Gallery will feature emerging artists from England, Italy, France and the Czech Republic, from January 24 to February 16.

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now