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Fortis Green Road shops: Local businesses despondent as plans to redevelop parade return

PUBLISHED: 17:49 17 May 2019

Claire Jury, who runs La Dinette on Fortis Green Road. Picture: Sam Volpe

Claire Jury, who runs La Dinette on Fortis Green Road. Picture: Sam Volpe

Archant

A row of independent shops in Muswell Hill are again under threat after a developer returned with plans to build luxury flats on Fortis Green Road.

Michael Silliton and John Cousans from The Flower Seller in Muswell Hill. Picture: MICHAEL SILLITONMichael Silliton and John Cousans from The Flower Seller in Muswell Hill. Picture: MICHAEL SILLITON

Acemark Properties is hoping to build six flats above four shops on the 1-9 Fortis Green Road site - which is adjacent to the historic Edwardian Everyman Cinema.

Four businesses - The Flower Seller, La Dinette coffee shop, pizza place Amici Miei and the Misk boutique - could be in trouble if Haringey Council give the plans the go-ahead.

Acemark said they had changed their plans to respond to concerns raised at an October 2018 public meeting, but the tenants and local councillors disagreed.

Michael Silliton, who's sold flowers from the end unit for upwards of two decades, told this newspaper: "The application's pretty similar, they've not particularly changed much. I can't be out of business for a year and half, and what do I want with a basement?

"Now it's down to the council. There's only so much we can do. We just have to get on with our lives."

The new plans have added a basement to his current unit, which Michael said is floorspace he doesn't need and couldn't afford.

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Frenchwoman Claire Jury who has been running popular coffee shop La Dinette for three years, added to the Ham&High: "There's been no communication with me at all. I'm just expecting to receive a letter telling me I've got three months before work starts. It'd just put us out of business, there's nothing I can do."

"It's uncertainty for the staff I employ. They've come back again and people are going to get tired of responding to applications. It'll make them easier."

In January last year, when the plans first emerged, local residents submitted a 1,000 signature petition to Haringey in objection citing the impact on the businesses and on the street-scene.

Acemark's Jonathan Hager said: "We have taken on board neighbours' concerns and made changes to the proposals to more closely match in terms of materials, the fine adjacent Edwardian terrace.

He added: "We will be offering the commercial tenants new leases, and we are hoping to temporarily re-house the flower seller."

He said the other tenants would receive first refusal on the rebuilt units.

Muswell Hill councillor Scott Emery (Lib Dem) told this newspaper: "We are disappointed that the applicant did not use the rejection of their previous proposals as a chance to design something that better meets the needs of community and the neighborhood."

The deadline for public comments on the application is May 24.

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