Popular Belsize newspaper kiosk could be forced to close after rent hike
PUBLISHED: 17:40 17 May 2016 | UPDATED: 13:25 18 May 2016
A much-loved newspaper seller who has run a kiosk outside Belsize Tube Station for 13 years says he will be forced to shut down in July after Camden Council has nearly doubled his rent.
Members of the community have rallied round Nurul Islam describing him as a “local asset” and are asking Camden to act immediately to reduce his rent.
Mr Islam, says he will no longer be able to run the business and support wife Rubana and their four children once the rent increases from £3,841 a year to £6,575.81.
“It is already a struggle now competing with the internet and electronic media. I sell drinks and sweets to make up the income. I cannot survive when it doubles. How will I support my family? I have done this for 13 years and it won’t be easy for me to get another job.
“I have always had a licence that includes confectionary and drink, but now the council are telling me the rent has been incorrect since 2003 and it should have been more.
Regular customer Chris Langdon, from Belsize Park,said: “I usually buy my Ham and High from the newspaper stall at Belsize Park tube station. His news-stand is open daily in all-weathers; a real local asset.
But his takings from newspapers are down now as people take the free papers or online. With the old newsagents opposite now a nail bar, Mr Islam is the only independent newspaper seller close to Belsize tube. I do hope that Camden will see reason and significantly reduce or rescind the rent increase.
Royal Free Hospital consultant Alastair O’Brien who was buying a newspaper from the kiosk said: “I regularly buy my newspaper here. He is a wonderful guy and I hope he will continue to be here for many years.”
Jonathan Simpson, Camden’s cabinet member for community cafety and the voluntary sector, said: “Street trading licences are renewed annually and during this process this year an audit was carried out on all licensees to ensure that they were selling the correct items and paying the appropriate fee for their respective licenses.
“The council follows a formal consultation process to agree its fees and charges and must be consistent in the application of these. The majority of kiosk licensees are paying the correct fee for the items they sell, so it would not be fair and appropriate to allow others to be exempted from paying this.”
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