Petition protests against more estate agents in Highgate Village as shopkeeper bids farewell
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 February 2016
Growing fears that a high-end estate agent is to move into a beloved independent shop have been quashed.
Foxtons has categorically denied it is moving into The Corner Shop in Highgate High Street, despite widely-circulating rumours that it was eyeing up the store for its next London branch.
The rumour prompted a petition set up by a Highgate resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, to protest against more estate agents moving into the High Street.
It has been signed by roughly 150 people.
The village centre is already home to at least 12 estate agents.
“There’s no need for another estate agent. All you have to do is take a picture of the village, and a picture tells a thousand words,” they told the Ham&High.
The petition founder is particularly concerned that estate agents will move into two independent shops: The Corner Shop, which is due to close this week, and Le Chocolatier, which has been put up for sale by its owner, Robert Sinfield.
The Corner Shop has been run by Raj Kara-Rajani for more than 30 years, but a £50,000 rent hike has forced him to give up his lease.
He will say a final farewell to villagers on Saturday when he finishes trading and shuts his doors for the last time.
He was originally due to leave on Christmas Eve, but he has managed to stay on until this week.
With tears in his eyes, he said: “For whatever comes into the village, the locals have to make a conscious effort to support it, and they may have to pay 5p or 10p more for items.’’
He added: “I struggled for three years, hoping the village would support me.
“The new tenant will probably be an estate agent, but that’s the choice of the village.
“There’s no point complaining. I’m not bitter, that’s just reality,” he said. “Personally, I hope a smaller shop comes in and the Highgate community appreciates it a bit more.”
Rumours were also circulating this week that Highgate Travel was set to close, but its owner and founding director, Stephen Worswick, said it was untrue.
“We’re definitely not closing,” he said.