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Muswell Hill fish merchant blasts Haringey Council as new bus stop causes curbside chaos

PUBLISHED: 09:58 24 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:40 25 June 2020

Fish shop owner Walter Purkis said Haringey Council had put a bus stop outside his famously busy fish shop, then claimed it was his fault when bus passengers were unable to maintain a social distance from his queue.

Fish shop owner Walter Purkis said Haringey Council had put a bus stop outside his famously busy fish shop, then claimed it was his fault when bus passengers were unable to maintain a social distance from his queue.

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Haringey Council claimed it relocated a Muswell Hill bus stop to enable social distancing - but the move ended up causing more problems than it fixed.

A bus stop suddenly appeared outside Walter Purkis and Sons fish shop, Muswell Hill, within the last few weeks - causing bus passengers and shoppers to queue alongside each other. Picture: Walter Purkis.A bus stop suddenly appeared outside Walter Purkis and Sons fish shop, Muswell Hill, within the last few weeks - causing bus passengers and shoppers to queue alongside each other. Picture: Walter Purkis.

Haringey Council may be forced to relocate a bus stop for the second time in two months, after its new location threatened a popular business.

Walter Purkis – owner of Walter Purkis and Sons fish shop on Muswell Hill Broadway – said the shop received a telling-off from the council about breaching social distancing guidelines.

But he blamed the council for putting a bus stop outside his shop, generating queues immediately next to the queue for his business.

He said: “We’ve been open all the way through lockdown as we are an essential supplier and we’ve been very busy. We always are – we are famous for how long our queues are.

Haringey Council's chosen location for the bus stop made it impossible for people to abide by social distancing rules. Picture: Walter Purkis.Haringey Council's chosen location for the bus stop made it impossible for people to abide by social distancing rules. Picture: Walter Purkis.

“About a month ago, they suddenly decided to put a bus stop outside our shop. Then the council came down and said we are causing a problem; they are getting complaints that people can’t socially distance.”

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When Mr Purkis said it was the council’s fault for moving the bus stop, “They said they had deemed outside our shop to be the best place for a bus stop and so we have got to do something about our queues.

“What are we supposed to do? Tell people not to come to our shop anymore?”

'It doesn't take a brain sturgeon': Shop owner Walter Purkis said Haringey Council's attempt to aid social distancing by placing a bus stop outside his busy shop was nonsensical. Picture: Walter Purkis and Sons.'It doesn't take a brain sturgeon': Shop owner Walter Purkis said Haringey Council's attempt to aid social distancing by placing a bus stop outside his busy shop was nonsensical. Picture: Walter Purkis and Sons.

Haringey Council said it had moved the bus stop from outside the Hampstead Butcher as part of a scheme to “widen pavement pinch points”, to enable social distancing. It was moved when the pavement outside the butchers was widened, said Lib Dem ward councillor Pippa Connor.

But Mr Purkis said the explanation made little sense: “They’ve moved it about 200 yards down the road, so it’s now within sight of the next bus stop. They’ve put it on a narrower pavement outside a busier shop.”

Cllr Connor has now taken up Mr Purkis’s complaint.

She said: “They’ve moved the bus stop very close to his entrance and I genuinely can’t see how people could do that two-metre rule. I’ve gone to the council and said this is no fault of Mr Purkis. They have sent someone down to assess the situation.”

Muswell Hill councillor Pippa Connor said she agreed that the council's decision to put the bus stop outside Mr Purkis's shop had made it impossible to maintain social distancing.Muswell Hill councillor Pippa Connor said she agreed that the council's decision to put the bus stop outside Mr Purkis's shop had made it impossible to maintain social distancing.

Labour councillor Seema Chandwani, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We are speaking to local businesses, including Mr Purkis, to find ways we can support them and make sure our high streets are safe for everyone.”


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