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Concern from traders as council rents part of Priory Park to Christmas tree company

PUBLISHED: 14:29 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 05 December 2018

The Tree Amigos. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Tree Amigos. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Businesses in Crouch End are unhappy after Haringey Council leased off part of Priory Park to a Christmas tree selling company.

The Tree Amigos. Picture: Polly HancockThe Tree Amigos. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Tree Amigos is renting a section of Priory Park in Middle Lane, and selling festive firs ahead of Christmas Day.

The company is registered on Companies House as Greenfield Trees, and is based in Sheffield.

But traders we spoke to in Crouch End aren’t pleased by the council’s decision.

This year Michael Plastiras, of Broadway Fruiterers, is not selling trees for the first time in the 24 years he has had the business.

He was previously fined by Haringey Council for having the trees outside his store, if they encroached onto the pavement. While he said the decision not to sell them wasn’t due to the Tree Amigos, their presence didn’t help matters.

He said: “Things are hard enough as it is. It’s been the hardest year we’ve ever had.

“It seems like the interests of the local traders who have been here for a long time aren’t being put first.”

A short walk away, Glenn Davis, manager of Hornsey Pet and Garden, which also sells Christmas trees, said he was aware of the pop-up stall, although the store was lucky to have a “loyal customer base”.

“We try to look after them in terms of our service and delivery,” he said. “It’s not ideal, but we are not going to beat ourselves up about it.”

He also said it had been a “difficult” year for trading.

MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Catherine West, recently backed the “Small Business Saturday” campaign, urging people to shop locally.

The situation is similar to Fortune Green last Christmas. Camden Council leased out part of the green space to the Pines and Needles chain to the consternation of charity the Camden Society, whicih sells trees at nearby Mill Lane Garden Centre.

Part of the green space was also damaged with the shed and footfall turning parts of it to mud when combined with heavy rain. The company paid for the park to be repaired. It is not renting Fortune Green this year.

A spokesperson for Haringey Council said it had given the company a contract on a one-off basis. The Tree Amigos has agreed to cover any reinstatement of the park if necessary, and will stop trading from Priory Park on December 23.

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