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Martin Keown opens Holloway Road B&Q – but not everyone’s happy

PUBLISHED: 16:39 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13 10 March 2017

Martin Keown opens B&Q's first ever high street store in Holloway Road. Picture:  John Macdonald-Fulton

Martin Keown opens B&Q's first ever high street store in Holloway Road. Picture: John Macdonald-Fulton

All images are in held in Copyright by John Macdonald-Fulton (John M Fulton). Contact: 07521 654 656 email: jmf_foto@outlook.com

DIY enthusiasts piled into the UK’s smallest B&Q at its grand opening in Holloway Road this morning – but not everyone’s happy with the new arrival.

Ex-Arsenal and England footballer Martin Keown pitched up to help open the shop, but declined to discuss the effect the store’s opening will have on independent traders nearby.

The DIY supplier has filled the modest space vacated by the Post Office in 2014. It is the retailer’s first high street store.

It is just a stone’s throw from family firm R&N Hardware, which has been in Holloway Road for 36 years.

Store worker Bhavin Patel, 38, said: “Let’s see in six to eight months whether we’ll still be open. I’d say that we have a 30 per cent chance.

“We have our loyal customers who will keep on coming but all of our expenses are going up and the competition is getting harder.

“There are empty shops along this road but I don’t think independent businesses will move into the area because it’s too difficult at the moment.”

Customer Carol Mellor, 78, said: “I feel really sorry for the guys at R&N Hardware because they’ve been here so long.

“I think that people should try to support their business.

“However, I’m pleased that there is something open on the former Post Office site again, because it has just been sitting empty.”

Mr Keown turned down an interview and refused to comment on the effect that chains were having on local traders as he posed for selfies with staff and new customers outside the store, instead referring us to his media entourage.

The store’s manager was also unable for interview, and a B&Q spokeswoman refused to comment on Mr Patel’s concerns.

But she said: “We’ve created 15 new jobs for local people in our store and we’re already investing in our community by supporting local charities and our local school.”

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