Amhurst Road closure leaves traders struggling in festive run-up

Peter Charalambous

Peter Charalambous - Credit: Archant

Traders are demanding a cut to their business rates after their shops were hit by the sudden closure of a road to enable a major demolition to take place.

Amhurst Road, Hackney Central, has been closed to traffic from Mare Street since November 22, after a row of terraces comprising eight homes and two restaurants was suddenly deemed unsafe and work to bulldoze them began.

Scaffolding has been put up across Amhurst Road to support the building while contractors complete the demolition work.

Buses have also been rerouted down the Narrow Way – which had been undergoing a temporary pedestrianisation trial – and businesses claim the road closure is hitting their businesses.

Hackney Council said it does not know when the road will be reopened.

Peter Charalambous, who owns Amhurst Café, said: “I have been here for 47 years and never complained. I would like the council to reduce my rates.”

Blake Montel, the owner of AMP Electrical, said: “We were told what was going on at the 11th hour. Nobody’s made any apology for what’s happened.

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“There are no vehicles coming in and there’s no vehicles going out. It’s affecting our trade in the run-up to Christmas. I want to be compensated by whoever is responsible for it.”

Ola Kunle, the owner of hairdresser K-Cuts said business was down. He said: “It’s terrible. My business has been cut by 70 per cent because of what has happened in Amhurst Terrace.

“It was first affected after the Narrow Way was pedestrianised as the creation of a bus lane outside my shop meant there was no parking for customers. I’m struggling to pay business rates.

“The council don’t seem to care that business is now slow.”

Haydan Garip, owner of Cesar Supermarket, added: “My business has slowed by about 50 per cent. It would be great to get a reduction to our rates. It’s not fair to pay them when we are not busy.”

Cllr Samantha Lloyd, cabinet member for finance and ward member for Hackney Central, said: “We have suspended business rates for properties directly affected by the demolition and we are contacting the Valuation Office Authority to find out if it would consider a reduction in the rateable value of the other premises in the street.”