Broadway Market flats plan sparks concern for independent traders
PUBLISHED: 11:47 23 January 2012
Plans to bulldoze workshops near Broadway Market will push out successful businesses, according to residents and traders who are against the scheme.
Developers Notting Hill Housing want to demolish the Westgate Centre in Westgate Street and build a six-storey block of flats with offices on the ground floor.
Housing bosses say existing workshops – used by companies from florists to ironmongers – will be replaced.
But campaigners fear the loss of parking space and the nature of the new development will force traders to move out – and take jobs with them.
“There is not a single company I can think of that will be able to stay at the site,” said Andrew Boff, who lives next to the centre and is a member of Broadway Market Tenants and Residents Association (BMTRA).
“We’re not being NIMBYs about this – it’s the fact that they are getting rid of jobs that upsets us. But Notting Hill Housing doesn’t care about jobs. They want a profit margin on the investment they made on the site.”
He added that the lack of demand for office space in the area could see the new units taken over by a supermarket chain.
Richard Thompson, of The Doorstep Laundry, said he knew of the development plans when he set up his company at the centre four years ago but that he would still be unhappy to leave.
“It is a great little community of businesses here – we are all cottage industries really – and it would be a shame if that went.”
He urged housing bosses to offer commercial space to existing tenants.
A spokeswoman for the developers said: “Notting Hill’s intention, if granted the several permissions sought from Hackney Council, is to replace the existing workshops with the same amount of modern workspaces with flats above. Many of these flats will be affordable housing for Hackney residents in housing need.
“If the development goes ahead, Notting Hill would be more than happy to let some or all of the space to the existing occupiers. We’d need to ensure that any business was compatible with being in the same building as residents.”