Optimism is fading fast

VAT increase, parking permit increases, business rates, road works and inflation. All issues that are causing more than their fair share of headaches and no less so in the heart of Islington.

Local business owners have recently raised their concerns with the local authority to no avail and it would seem to many local business owners that Transport for London no longer care.

Though bus routes are owned by Transport for London, local business owners need the backing and support of their councillors, town centre managers and MPs to address these measures.

One would ask why when the local economy and private sector were never more in need than now with looming public sector cuts would these conflicting measures being put into place.

Without a healthy infrastructure for our local shops our borough will be left with nothing in the wake of this age called austerity.

I recently received this message from Jimmy’s Shoes, 129 Essex Road, N1 2SN: “Parking changes implemented in December have caused a 20 per cent fall in trade. We are seriously concerned about the implication of these changes to our business particularly because the bus lane filter that has been put outside our shop was not on the original plans. These new changes have taken place without considered consultation. Please help as we see a real threat to our business.” Jimmy’s Shoes

A local dry cleaner also brought it to my attention that at least five businesses or more along Essex Road have closed or moved over the past year, some directly due to the restrictions on parking.

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There is a genuine feeling of neglect and frustration that is causing a stir in Islington and our leaders must take notice. Driving our economy is more than money but about our community – soulless chains cannot bridge this gap.

– Ronke Lawal, Islington Chamber of Commerce.