Holloway businesses suffer triple whammy

Soaring business rates, sky high rents and impoverished customers are driving a number of Holloway businesses to the wall.

Many shops and cafes on Holloway Road between Seven Sisters Road and Highbury Corner have suffered massive hikes in the business rates over the last few years.

With prohibitively high rents and customers feeling the pinch from the economic downturn, this has to led to many having to shut up shop.

In recent months, Subway, Star Supermarket, Papa Sam Sandwich shop and Datasync have all closed down on the small stretch between Jackson Road and Tollington Road.

Aligul Karagoz, who runs the Titanic Cafe on the same block, has seen his business rates almost double over the last four years and faces a �1,000 increase this year.

He said: “How can I pay this money? It’s such a huge jump it’s ridiculous. I can’t put my prices up because people won’t come.

“We are charged the same as Upper Street, which has shops on both sides. On the other side of this road are council flats.

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“Lots of businesses are closing down and you will see the area go downhill. You know you are in trouble when even a Subway can’t survive.

“We need to support a street market to bring new customers to the area.”

Ali Lachin, who runs the nearby Cafe Grill, says he will shut up shop at the end of the year and already has an offer from McDonald’s, two doors up.

He said: “They have offered to buy me out and will expand into the old Star shop and mine. It’s just too hard to make ends meet with the rates and the rents. The council don’t do anything for us.

“McDonald’s will kill all the smaller business on this road – they are finished. Only the big fish can survive.”

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North which covers Holloway Road, said: “A lot of people have spoken to me about this.

“These rates affect small businesses much more than big ones and I think we have some lessons to learn from Scotland where they are dramatically reducing rates for small businesses.

“The rates in Holloway Road are high, but it has to be said so are the rents and landlords are making a great deal of money.

“I would support the idea of a market because it would bring people to the area and makes the place more human.”

Ronke Lawal, chief executive of the Islington Chamber of Commerce, said: “More needs to be done to give local business a fair chance. It would also be good to bring the business rates collected back to the local community.

“Small businesses also need to make sure they are aware of any rebates or refunds they are entitled to.”