TfL to Sweep Away Independent Shops at Old Street

November 4th, 2014 by Editor Leave a reply »

My meeting with TfL suggests that there will very soon be a public consultation about the street layout. It is a very complex layout aiming to ensure a regular flow of vehicles through Old Street, with new bicycle lanes. It also means a larger exit from the ticket hall towards Starbucks; it also possibly implies the levelling of the roundabout and rebuilding more expensive shops at the cost of the existing shops. TfL are not interested in giving leases on the new shops to the existing businesses. The existing businesses are just being asked to close down and go away. If we agree to go we will not be allowed to disclose details of our leaving- a ‘gagging order’. Much of the latter has been left open to interpretation- the only settled scheme being the street alterations (“peninsularisation”). This uncertainty makes running a business much more difficult. The lack of offers of alternative accommodation is a failure by TfL to adhere to the principles laid out in all the development plans. This is a real threat to those people currently employed in and who run the businesses in Old Street Station. TfL want to exploit what is potentially a billion pound plot of land by firstly clearing away the existing occupants- the bookshop, gift shop, key cutters, Nincomsoup, two cafes and flower shop. Almost inevitably us independents will be replaced by chain stores with larger premises paying premium rents to sell the same repetitive things found in every high street in Britain. You may or you may not want to support us, but it looks like we’ll be swept aside in December 2015, save a miracle intervention.

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