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Highgate launderette The Wash House under threat as development 'could kill business'

PUBLISHED: 10:30 10 April 2019

Fatima Irannejad, who runs the Wash House with her husband. Picture: Polly Hancock

Fatima Irannejad, who runs the Wash House with her husband. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The Highgate community has rallied in hope of protecting a family-run launderette in Highgate which could be forced to close – if plans from its landlord to “reconstruct” the building get the go-ahead.

The Wash House in Archway Road, Highgate. Picture: Polly HancockThe Wash House in Archway Road, Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Highgate Wash House has been in Archway Road for more than a decade.

Arman and Fatima Irannejad who live in Finchley Road took over the shop a year ago, but now landlord Danny Fluss has submitted an application to Haringey Council which would see an extra flat carved out of the five-story building and a basement extension.

The changes to the ground floor would see the launderette lose about a third of its floorspace, the owners said.

The plans submitted by Genesis Architects on behalf of Mr Fluss show plans to remodel the front portion of the basement as additional retail space, but the Irannejads explained they were unconvinced the basement would be suitable for the launderette – particularly as washing machines require a number of water tanks – and would not compensate for the lost ground floor space.

Fatima Irannejad, who runs the Wash House with her husband. Picture: Polly HancockFatima Irannejad, who runs the Wash House with her husband. Picture: Polly Hancock

The couple’s children also work at the launderette, and daughter Arefeh told this newspaper that changes to the building would “kill the business”.

She said: “We were all so upset. We have worked so hard to build up this business and this would kill it. We are a family business, and we are trying so hard to give the best service.”

Former owner Arash Atashroo has been supporting his successors. He said: “From our point of view it would be a disaster. It’s the only launderette for miles and the new owners have done an amazing job.

“If these plans happen, there would be hardly a business left.”

Highgate local Ollie Charles bemoaned the potential loss of the launderette. He said: “I’m here every week because, like I imagine lots of young people living around here, I haven’t the space to dry clothes at home.

“If this wasn’t here I really don’t know where I would be able to go.”

A number of neighbours have also registered objections, including Southwood Hair and Beauty’s Gordon Alderson who said he always used the launderette to wash his towels.

Developer Mr Fluss declined to comment when asked by the Ham&High.

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