Uncertainty for business owners as luxury housing plans press ahead

Some of the Independent business owners who work from the units in the yard behind the former Richar

Some of the Independent business owners who work from the units in the yard behind the former Richardsons furniture shop on Archway Road. From left Cheyne Towers (Highgate Fitness Studios), Charlie Russell and Will Grayburn (DocWorks) Paul Brown (carpenter), Leon London (founder and owner of Highgate Fitness Studios), Ian Batten (clothing), and Jo Davies (painter). - Credit: Archant

Independent craftsmen may be forced to move on after councillors voted in favour of the redevelopment of a once famous Highgate furniture store.

Developers Archway Apartments Ltd now have the go-ahead to demolish Richardsons of Highgate on Archway Road and build 25 luxury flats and a medium-sized supermarket.

The future is unclear for more than 30 people who currently use old outbuildings at the back of the shop in The Yard as business space and they fear they will be forced to more on.

Planning agent Diana Thompson, speaking on behalf of the developers, offered reassurances that there would still be high quality and affordable work space.

“It would be well-lit and well-ventilated,” she said. “It would significantly increase the vitality of the workspace.”

She claimed the new work space would significantly improve the “damp outdated premises which are not fit for purpose”.

But business owner Cheyne Towers said: “The impact of this decision is going to lead to the eviction of many people who have provided amenity to the community for many years.”

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- For the full story, see this week’s Ham&High.

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