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700 shoppers sign petition to save butcher

PUBLISHED: 10:36 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:49 07 September 2010

Robyn Rosen MORE than 700 people have signed a petition to help a Crouch End baker after the Broadway reported the owner s struggle to persuade the council to keep his back door open. On December 18, Broadway reported that Ali Benammar had been battling w

Robyn Rosen

MORE than 700 people have signed a petition to help a Crouch End baker after the Broadway reported the owner's struggle to persuade the council to keep his back door open.

On December 18, Broadway reported that Ali Benammar had been battling with Haringey Council since June 2006 after a complaint was made about the baking smells coming from the open back door at Coffee Cake in Broadway Parade.

Since reading the report, 791 residents and customers have visited the shop to pledge their support for the local baker.

"We were so surprised," Mr Benammar, 44, said. "Some people didn't even know we were here but once they read the article, they came in and said it was disgusting of the council and signed the petition."

According to Mr Benammar, he has spent more than £1,000 on planning applications, appeals and architect's fees and fears that further costs will force him to close.

"People can see shops are closing down and fear that the village atmosphere of family run, independent businesses are not going to exist," he said.

Mr Benammar added that the oven, which reaches 250 degrees, makes the kitchen area unbearably hot.

"Other shops and restaurants have back doors so why can't we," he said. "It gets so hot in here because of the big oven.

"I need fresh air otherwise it will suffocate me."

Sally Griffyn, of Mount View Road, has been a regular customer at Coffee Cake since it opened three years ago and was one of the first to sign the petition.

"I think that Ali's bakery is one of the most amazing things to happen in Crouch End," she said.

"I can't think of anything more lovely than baking smells so I don't know why anyone would complain.

"We have all these terrible franchises in the area and Ali's is a traditional, original, local bakery.

"I want him to be able to stay and stop paying for these petty council things. I'll support him no matter what."

Mr Benammar added: "Everyone has been so supportive. We're going to show the council the petition and hopefully things will change."

But a spokesman from the council said that their position remains the same. "The council was responding to complaints from neighbours who objected to the smells from the bakers," he said.

"The owner failed to appeal against the enforcement notice. The owner does not have permission to keep his back door open and we are asking him to comply with the enforcement notice.


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