Small shops attacked by Big Brother policy
PUBLISHED: 14:27 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:03 07 September 2010
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Katie Davies PETTY health and safety rules banning restaurants and supermarkets advertising outside their shops is destroying businesses around Hampstead Garden Suburb, owners and residents have told the Ham&High. Over the past two years, overzealous hea
PETTY health and safety rules banning restaurants and supermarkets advertising outside their shops is destroying businesses around Hampstead Garden Suburb, owners and residents have told the Ham&High.
Over the past two years, overzealous health and safety officers have clamped down on businesses putting anything on the pavements in front of their shops.
Last year, restaurant and cafe owners in Temple Fortune were told they had to have a licence, costing up to £1,000, to put anything on the public pavement outside their shops, including blackboards, menus and chairs.
And Transport for London is now reportedly making greengrocers in Hampstead Garden Suburb reduce their display space in case it causes an obstruction to pedestrians.
Mehet Ali, whose A1 supermarket on Market Place is one of the shops affected by the ban, said: "Barnet Council sent someone to tell us that Transport for London had complained about our fruit and veg being on the pavement.
"Then someone came and told us that if we didn't move it back we would have a £500 fine. It has cut my food business by 20 per cent.
"People passing used to see the fruit and buy some.
"I pay £20,000 in rent and £5,000 business rates, but I don't think Transport for London cares how I am surviving. No-one does.
"Business is so difficult at the moment - I feel very angry."
Resident Gary Shaw said the authorities should cut down on over-the-top enforcement, particularly given the current economic climate.
"The last thing we want to see at the moment is the enforcement of petty rules which damage business," he said.
"We need these shops down at the Market Place.
"These supermarkets add life and colour to the road, as well as bringing business to other shops.
"If there was any danger because of the displays I would take a different view, but that is not the case.
"They are very wide pavements with plenty of room for people to get through. The owners get up at 2am to 4am every day, the last thing they need is some guy with a clipboard telling them how to display their produce."
Last year, Barnet Council defended their crackdown on pavement displays in Temple Fortune.
A spokesman said: "The regulation of street trading supports the council's corporate priorities of Clean, Green and Safe along with Safe and Successful Suburb.
"The introduction of the policy has created a clear, consistent and fair framework for the granting of licences and put in place effective powers that will ensure that the council fulfils its duty to protect all highway users.
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