Campaigners protest against 7th mobile phone shop coming to Hampstead High Street
High street campaigners are calling on a property giant to reconsider its decision to allow yet another mobile phone shop to open in Hampstead.
The former Hampstead Health Shop in High Street, Hampstead has been closed since owner Surya Jasani left after falling behind with her rent in November last year.
Landlord Prudential Property Investment Managers (PRUPIM), which manages properties for companies owned by Prudential plc, has let the unit to Phones 4u – now the seventh mobile phone store in the village.
The move has sparked anger in the Hampstead community, triggering an online petition demanding that the landlord act more responsibly.
Lady Hannah Lowy Mitchell, a trustee on the board of charity Women For Women International and a Hampstead resident, posted on the petition website: “Residents hate what Hampstead is becoming – a bland nothing place. Hampstead has no character any more and you (PRUPIM) are actively hastening its demise.”
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Campaigners claim a new mobile phone shop contravenes PRUPIM’s mission statement of working responsibly with communities.
In emails seen by the Ham&High, the property firm rejected approaches from high street campaigners to work to find a new tenant.
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Employment solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who is spearheading the campaign, challenged PRUPIM in court last year over the closure of Hampstead Health Shop.
“Private landlords don’t give a monkey’s about anyone,” said Mrs Learmond-Criqui. “It’s very frustrating because PRUPRIM has really just put two fingers up to us. They have all this stuff about corporate responsibility, but at the end of the day they just don’t care and we need to bring that to light.
“They do have a responsibility.”
Mrs Learmond-Criqui, of Redington Road, has been collecting signatures and challenged the company at its annual meeting last Thursday over the decision.
A spokesman from PRUPRIM said: “We would be delighted to hear what they have to say, but we will be reminding them that our primary duty is to achieve the best possible returns for our investors. That is what we are bound to do.”
Campaigners are pinning their hopes on new powers under the Localism Act which will allow residents to have a greater say over planning decisions.
The Heath and Hampstead Society has lodged a bid to set up a neighbourhood forum under the legislation.
To sign the petition visit: http://bit.ly/KmvV1X