Society in battle to save treasured Hampstead health shop from closure
The Heath and Hampstead Society has launched a campaign to save an independent shop which has been in the High Street for 26 years - ahead of the owner’s appearance in court over unpaid rent.
The Society – which represents more than 6,000 residents in the area - launched a petition after the Ham&High revealed last month that Hampstead Health Shop is facing closure.
The owner, Surya Jasani – who is know as Sue - has run the shop for almost three decades.
But she has been summoned to attend Central London Country Court in Regent’s Park next Tuesday (September 13) after falling into arrears on rent.
The 70-year-old said the rent has increased so much – spiralling to �70,000 a year – that she has been unable to pay it.
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Her situation has been exacerbated by the recession as trade has decreased since 2010.
She also pays Camden Council �38,000 a year in business rates.
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Mrs Jasani said if she had more time she would pay off her debts to keep the shop open.
But now the Heath and Hampstead Society has come to her aid.
Member Jessica Learmond-Criqui is lobbying the commercial landlords PRUPIM (Prudential Property Investment Management).
Ms Learmond-Criqui has written to Prudential PLC chairman Harvey McGrath urging him to work with the Society to find a resolution to prevent the shop from closing.
She is planning to hand-deliver a petition to him, with letters from supporters of the shop, on Monday (September 12).
She told the Ham&High: “Sue has worked tirelessly in her shop for 26 years keeping the community healthy.
“The Heath and Hampstead Society has launched a campaign to save her shop and stop the decline of our High Street.
“We are losing small independent traders while multiples and chains proliferate as they can afford the high rent demanded by landlords.
“Our High Street is in danger of becoming a clone town with the loss of its individuality and community cohesion.”
The government recently produced a report warning that high streets across the country are under threat as independent traders are struggling to keep up with increasing rents.
In July this year Mayor of London Boris Johnson published the London Plan advising borough councils to work with landlords and independent traders to help shops survive.
Ms Jasani, who has been uplifted by the campaign, said: “I never knew how much people cared about me or my shop until now. I am very grateful to my supporters and I hope the court case will be dropped.”
Anyone wishing to sign the petition should visit: www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveourhampsteadhighstreet
A spokesman for PRUPIM said: “We do not believe that it is appropriate to discuss this case with third parties in advance of the legal hearing.”