Community rallies around court battle to save Hampstead Health Shop

A much-loved independent shop in Hampstead which has been threatened with closure has been thrown a lifeline after a lawyer, a councillor and a celebrity rallied to the cause.

Owner of the Hampstead Health Shop Surya Jasani, known as Sue, successfully appealed for a stay of execution in court on Tuesday.

Her shop – which has been a fixture in Hampstead High Street for 26 years – is threatened with closure after the 70-year-old fell behind in her rent.

She claims the annual rent she must pay to commercial landlords Prudential Property Investment Management has spiralled to �70,000. On top of this she pays �38,000 a year to Camden Council in business rates.

The campaign team, headed by solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui of the Heath and Hampstead Society and featuring Star Trek actress Alice Krige and Cllr Linda Chung, said it will now explore every avenue to keep the shop open.

Mrs Learmond-Criqui said: “We have until the end of November to look at ways of supporting her business case, whether we can make it viable and keep it within the community.

‘‘We also want to continue to have a conversation with the landlord.”

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She added that they might approach a larger organisation to take over the shop. Another option is that the community could help run it.

ComSpeaking outside Regent’s Park Central London County Court, Mrs Jasani said: “I’m very happy that we have this extra time to pull together and see how we can progress. I’m still holding on to the lease, so let’s see how long we can keep it for.”

Actress and Hampstead resident Ms Krige, who uses the health shop every other day to buy food for her vegan husband, said: “I think it’s enormously important to keep it open because Sue is a qualified chemist and she can give a very informative opinion about what to take and what’s beneficial.”

The actress, who is set to feature in the final series of Spooks, added: “She offers a very real service to the local community and Hampstead is increasingly losing those kind of services.”

The case is just one of many involving high streets across England losing individual traders to chain shops.

“Small traders up and down the country are going through this at the moment and something needs to be done,” said Mrs Learmond-Criqui.