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Stoke Newington top for independent shops in fight against ‘clone towns’

PUBLISHED: 16:08 23 September 2010

Stoke Newington Church Street

Stoke Newington Church Street

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STOKE NEWINGTON is one of the most distinctive shopping districts in London thanks to its high density of independent businesses, according to a new report.

STOKE NEWINGTON is one of the most distinctive shopping districts in London thanks to its high density of independent businesses, according to a new report.

The N16 retail hub including Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street was rated the second least homogenised area in London in the 2010 Clone Town Report published by NEF (New Economics Foundation).

A survey of 30 shopping districts across the capital showed Stoke Newington offered a wide choice of unique shops rather than the chain stores dominating many high streets in Britain.

The village scored 84.2 points out of 100 on the Clone Town Britain index – based on an equation using the number, types and ownership of shops - putting it just below Brentford at 84.6.

Shoreditch came in at number four with 81.7 points on the index, while South Richmond had the most chain stores in London with 19.5 points.

“Diversity matters for local economic resilience,” said Andrew Simms, NEF policy director.

“Locally rooted, independent retailers relate differently to the communities they serve. In economic terms, more of the money spent in them is liable to stay and re-circulate in the local area.”

Rosanne Berry, chairwoman of Stoke Newington Business Association, said: “It means a lot to us to think that we are recognised as having that independence.

“I think it is what people want – Stoke Newington has always been quite unique and we hope it always will be.”

The association organises regular events such as the I Love Stokey Day two weeks ago to celebrate businesses in Church Street.

“We are trying to promote the area and just need people to stay shopping locally,” said Rosanne.

“Hopefully a report like this will encourage more people to do so.”

Heidi Early, who runs Early Bird card shop in Church Street, said businesses had been working together to please their customers.

“I think it is really important to have independent shops because London can be so anonymous and lonely,” she said.

“I just think Stoke Newington is quite amazing because it has strong community but it is still in the city.”

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