Art gallery has eye on empty Crouch End shop
Charlotte Newton PLANS to turn one of the empty shops in Crouch End into an art gallery showcasing local work, moved a step closer this week. Residents, traders, police and councillors met up on Tuesday (April 7) to discuss the possibility of transforming
PLANS to turn one of the empty shops in Crouch End into an art gallery showcasing local work, moved a step closer this week.
Residents, traders, police and councillors met up on Tuesday (April 7) to discuss the possibility of transforming an empty shop unit into an art gallery. This was the second time they had discussed the idea in the past month.
Cllr Dave Winskill, who attended the meeting in Hornsey Library, said: "There is a downturn happening in Crouch End and having empty shops around is not a good thing because it attracts fly-tipping, and graffiti and makes the area look rundown.
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"As we've got such a thriving artistic community in Crouch End, we thought it would be a good idea to transform one of the empty shop units into a gallery for local artists.
"What we are trying to do is to make the area look as good as possible to attract visitors and customers to shops.
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The group has asked Haringey Council to organise the logistics of the gallery, such as the rents and insurance. Meanwhile, Kim Valdez of the Crouch End Open Studios has been advising members of the community on the day to day running of the gallery.
Optician Rohini Jansari, of A View Opticians, who attended the meeting, said: "As a local trader I am concerned about the number of empty shops in Crouch End.
"I've been in my practice in Crouch End Hill for 15 years and suddenly there are a number of empty shops around us.
"It was a very positive meeting and I was impressed by the council officers' readiness to help. They provided some good legal advice which will hopefully help us to make this happen."
Sgt John McGrath, of the Crouch End Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: "I think it's a great idea. Anything we can do to lessen the impact of the recession on the environment and locality is a good thing."
A spokesman for the council said: "We welcome temporary use of empty shops, subject to any planning issues that need to be considered. We are looking at ways we can encourage this."
The government announced this week that businesses will be able to spread a planned five per cent business rates increase over three years, if they wish, with the option of paying 40 per cent of the increase in 2009-2010 and the balance spread equally in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.
The council is currently awaiting detailed guidance from the Government before the scheme can be implemented.
"This is welcome news for local businesses," said Cllr Charles Adje, Haringey cabinet member for resources.
"Small businesses in particular are having a hard time in Haringey. We can also help traders with small business rate relief.
"I urge traders to get in touch with us as soon as possible to find out if they are eligible for relief."
For information on small business rate relief traders should call 020-8489 3551, email email@example.com or check www.haringey.gov.uk/business where forms can be downloaded.