Wells Terrace closure: 'We don't know how we will survive' say Finsbury Park traders
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 July 2016 | UPDATED: 08:45 14 July 2016
Traders fear the closure of the Wells Terrace entrance to Finsbury Park station could spell the end for their businesses.
Cafes, restaurants and shops in Clifton Terrace rely on the thousands of people using the station every day for custom, but from Monday those people will all be using a different route.
The owners already know what to expect, saying they lose up to 70 per cent of their business whenever the entrance closes for a day due to strikes or maintenance work.
“It will kill us,” said Riza Berktas, 37, who has been manager of Metro Supermarket for four years. “We don’t know what we’re going to do – we haven’t had any information.
“We can’t survive for three years – we pay £16,000 rates. We will see in three years’ time how many shops will be closed down. How are we going to pay?”
Hussein Jaber has run Gadz coffee bar for 15 years and has called for reduced business rates. He said: “We don’t know how we are going to survive. If the council doesn’t help us I guarantee shops will close.”
Over the road, Imran Chanchala, 33, manager of Nisa Local, said the shop has already cancelled thousands of pounds in maintenance work.
Clifton Terrace has seen a string of restaurants open in the last year. If they survive the next three years they will be competing with outlets in the £220million City North development causing the closure.
Rishi Mistry, the 25-year-old owner of Wing Zone, said he was never told the extent of the work when he took out the lease, and wouldn’t have done so if he did.
He added: “A lot of our business is takeaway or dine in so we rely on people knowing we are here. We were told this area was up and coming, and we hope it is, but the only fact we know now is that the entrance is closing.”
The town hall said it would do all it could to support traders, including offering rate relief and calling on land owners TfL to communicate regularly and compensate affected businesses.
Assistant chief executive Lela Kogbara said: “We understand some traders are concerned about how the closure could affect their business, and we’re sorry if some of them haven’t received communications.
“We’ve written to traders to ensure they know about the available support such as business rates relief.
A “major marketing campaign” will advertise the area and the 300 construction staff will be urged to use the local businesses.