Primrose Hill shop-owners fear Joe and the Juice could spark chain invasion of high street

Business owners in Regent's Park Road are concerned about incoming chain stores. Picture; Hailey Tof

Business owners in Regent's Park Road are concerned about incoming chain stores. Picture; Hailey Toft, CC by 2.0 - Credit: Archant

Independent shop owners in Primrose Hill have are worried about the state of the high street – as chain Joe and the Juice prepares to move in.

The brand is to replace Cachao Toys in Regent's Park Road, which has ceased trading from that store.

Natalie Allen, who runs the Sweet Things shop and bakery, is one of a number of independent business owners nervous about its impact.

She told the Ham&High: "It really is going to be the first proper chain on the street. It's another shop going and another cafe coming. People come to us as a destination - they come for the indendent grocer, the shoe shop - but if we are just going to see chains, people will never come."

Morfudd Richards, who owns the neighbouring Greenberry Cafe restaurant, agreed. She said: "It's difficult - I don't want to see a high street with empty shops, but there's a real problem with rents. With them going up and rates going up too, there's a great deal of pressure on small businesses.

"It's a vicious circle. Independents are forced out, and the only people who come in are the chains. We need the government to realise that the backbone of this country's economy is small businesses like ourselves."

Gerard Levy, who runs Spice Shoes, added: "The danger is we lose the independents and it becomes full of chains like Hampstead has.

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"Over the last five or six years I don't think the government has done enough."

Holly Wilson opened the Richard Dare kitchen shop on the street two and half years ago. She owns another shop in Hackney, where she said support for small business was more forthcoming.

In Camden, though, she said, "you don't get a huge amount of support from the council". She added: "They're just not really interested. With business rates going up, rents going up - it's really hard."

But Camden Council's Cllr Danny Beales said the town hall is "committed to supporting its high streets as part of an inclusive, mixed economy in Camden" and encourages businesses to apply for rates relief if they qualify.

He added: "We continue to push for reforms and are also committed to developing our own affordable workspace strategy to support small businesses."

Cachao Toys remains open in Muswell Hill.

Joe and the Juice has not responded to this newspaper's requests for comment.