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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

There are a couple recent of developments on Green Lanes that entail the conversion of prior retail properties to food service properties which should be brought to the attention of the community:

559 Green Lanes - formerly a travel agent, as of recent, 'Il Cafe' - a garish blend of middle-eastern paintings with fake-millionaire style furniture. You will see the application here - Online Planning Services: Application Search (haringey.gov.uk)

49 Green Lanes - formerly a bridal boutique, and currently a 'patisserie' under construction. No planning application has been filed yet, but given the brazen approach taken by the businesses behind recent such applications (see now defunct Hanedan, and Sira) I would guess there will be one coming. 

It's worth noting that 599 Green Lanes is applying for Class E Planning permission, which (i think) is just a simplified means of filing for converting a premises to a cafe or restaurant - a rule that was introduced late last year.

I would expect a fair few businesses to try their hand at converting retail properties to food service, thereby further worsening the concentration of A1 premises on the high street. Worse, still, many of these will likely not be a viable businesses - there is just too much food/cafes/kebab offer, and they will leave the high street littered with defunct restaurants acting as precedents for future ones to point to in their planning efforts. Stay alert - and take action on planning applications!

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Thanks for posting this.

Class E is a new planning class introduced in September last year. It brings together most of the former retail planning classes into a single one  and allows people to change the use of a shop without having to make any planning application.

This means that, in theory, every shop on Green Lanes could become a restaurant and the council would have no control since planning permission is no longer required. 

Why do you think having food businesses is a problem? It's not a worsening of Green Lanes - this is a very NIMBY argument, especially considering a lot of these restaurants offer different things to folks, specifically to regions from all over the world. This is an extremely narrow minded view to think that the food shops are bad, they are integral to the community on this street and folks have the right to open businesses they want.

As a small business owner myself (not in the hospitality or retail sector), I wholeheartedly agree with you. 

Residents need to be less bossy towards local shopkeepers and business owners who're most of the time simply trying to scratch out an honourable livelihood.  They should be applauded for their fortitude, not whinged about.

It's not a problem having some food businesses. They're most welcome. The issue comes when food businesses predominate to the detriment of a balanced high street that serves the local resident population. This is the danger that now faces some high streets.

The concentration of a very high number of restaurants in one area also comes with certain characteristics.  that are different to most other businesses, not all of which are to be welcomed 

Taking an interest in where you live is neither NIMBY nor bossy. Since Harringay was built-up, the local trades people have been seeking to influence what happens locally through formal and informal means, including the local traders' group. Local residents have been doing the same. The championing of both sets of interests is to be welcomed. Generally they coincide - we all want a healthy high street - but sometimes they clash. 

You should also consider the assumption that seems to be implicit in what you both say, i.e. that all traders welcome all food businesses whilst few residents do. That's not the case. Locally much of the objection to any uncontrolled increase of food businesses has come from the traders as well as the residents.

Thank you, Hugh. As a local resident (and frequent customer of the restaurants on Green Lanes), I wholeheartedly agree. Having a string of restaurants that serve pretty much exactly the same cuisine may increase the attractiveness of this section of Green Lanes as a 'destination' for non-locals in search of good Turkish food but it certainly does not make for a balanced high street. I only hope that if more restaurants are to replace former retail spaces on Green Lanes as a result of the new Class E planning classification, they offer much more variety and choice. Personally, I'd love to see Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Eritrean, Modern British.. ie more reflective of the diverse community that now lives in Harringay.

Of course taking an interest in where you live is great.  But that doesn't mean lording it over small business owners and making demands on what they're allowed and not allowed to sell in their shops.  It is up to them.  It is a market and if people really aren't in favour of what the new businesses are doing then they won't buy from them and the shops will go out of business. 

The loud voices of certain 'local residents' in Council chambers and online forums aren't always truly representative of local sentiment, or for that matter legitimate reason to block new businesses from setting up shop.

Contrary to what you say, the high street doesn't 'serve' local residents.  These are independent small businesses, each free to sell products and services as they like (of course within the confines of the law), not as you like.  If they choose to make an honest living from serving non-local customers who've traveled in to enjoy their restaurant then who are you to stand in their way? 

You refer to 'healthy high streets', but really the most healthy high street is one that's not boarded up, as is the case up and down the UK.  We should be cheering on our local entrepreneurs taking risks to open up new businesses, not labeling them 'unhealthy'.  

If you don't want more restaurants you're most welcome yourself to take out a lease on a shop, put your own money into it and sell local residents whatever products you like.  Perhaps once you've succeeded at that you'll have more credibility telling other business owners on the high street what they should be doing.

Of course there's always one other option if you don't want more restaurants - you are free to relocate to another part of town.

No idea where you get the impression that anyone is lording it over anyone else. Planning law has long erred on the side of the developer and trader. Both traders and residents have objected to A1 planning applications. Both are expressing their opinions as they are encouraged to as part of our democratic process.

But I see where you're coming from, now. You seem to be saying that high street traders should have free rein and that if residents don't like the results of that unfettered freedom they should accept their diminished place in the pecking order and move out of the area. 

I have a different vision of how local areas should develop. I'm more minded to see the way forward in a constructive dialogue between the council, traders and residents to provide an outcome that works for all.

Benjamin you seem to be putting forward a considerable critique against local residents expressing their desire for variety on our local area High St. Perhaps you haven't been around long enough to remember local people objecting to the large number of bookmakers and fruit machine emporiums that were appearing on Harringay's Green Lanes. The complaints from locals resulted in Haringey Council limiting these shops which attracted many undesirable non locals hanging around outside(perhaps you also would have liked 10 betting shops in our Harringay area)?.

The majority of local people, including businesses want to keep our small shops of various types and perhaps would not mind people coming here for the food of the many different nationalities that inhabit this area, not just Turkish - less direct competition.. Let's not create a ghetto of kebab shops that locals don't use because there's no variety...each place serves the same tired menus which many locals rarely go to.. 

Most people in Harringay (including existing businesses do not want yet another kebab shop. Perhaps you like to eat kebabs 7 days a week which might explain why you're in favour of limited variety, diversity and no democratic voice for locals to express their preferences to the council?

The planning process in the UK is built on a rules-based system which includes consultation from local residents. If you don't like it, feel free to follow your own advice and relocate to another country. One without local democracy or online forums might be a good fit. 

As for the market demand (local or otherwise) for restaurants on Harringay's Green Lanes - the last 4 new market entrants  - Sira, Hanedan, Mezzo Tavern and Yaalu Yaalu have all gone out of business within the space of 24 months.

As a business owner you should know what to do with this information. 

I would love to see where the evidence is that a 'healthy' high street requires a mix of artisan vendors. I understand this may seem appealling to some, but it by no means implies that because there is a cobbler and an italian restaraunt that people are happier or the local economy is doing better than a kebab place and a turkish bakery. 

Given that the world and the economy continues to change and shift towards more service based shops, the presence of a dozen Turkish, Kurdish, Cyprian, Greek and Eastern European food service outlets does not mean we have a 'tired' or 'unhealthy' high street. Where is the argument justified that these businesses  - many of which are thriving - are contributing to an 'unhealthy' high street? If you don't like the shops, as others suggested, you are free to voice your opinion in council meetings and you are also free to open your own store and try to sell artisan goods or other services. To put down businesses that are working hard to provide a service to local residents and other Londoners who may travel for this specific cuisine is just blatant selfishness on your part. Have you spoken to these restuaranteers? To the families or folks who run them?  

I also cannot believe you, Sapphireblue, just used the phrase 'ghetto' to describe your neighbourhood. It's frankly racist and we don't need to talk about other types of cultures that way. Also, Green Lanes has about four betting places, so if you're so angry about that - why don't you take it up with the council given its a completely different type of business from a food vendor who provides atmosphere, culture, and a service that people seem to continue to want based on sales, (local or not) and the thriving scene at the restaurants, not your individual opinion. Also, did you ever think that there are larger forces driving book makers and fruit sellers out of high streets? It's not economical for a bookmaker to take a front high street storefront, there's just not enough demand for that no matter how 'quaint' you may think it will make the high street.  

Obviously residents should have a say in shaping their community, but just stating you don't like one culture's cuisine and think that is driving some type of economic decline in the local area is, again, NIMBYism and unsupported by evidence, unless folks want to offer something to the contrary. We cannot just support unviable businesses because some people miss 'what Green Lanes was' (if it ever was....?)

A monoculture of mainly restaurants and fast food takeaways is not good for the long term health of the high street, it's not sustainable as there isn't enough footfall to keep them all viable. Which brings us back to the point that others have referenced that we will end up with a high street of half the units boarded up waiting for a brigh new owner to chance their arm as a "new" restaurant as the class will have been changed by the previous retailer. Business in the hospitality and catering sector (restaurants, pubs and hotels) are around three times more likely to fail than businesses as a whole, according to a study by chartered accountancy group UHY Hacker Young. In a study of over 150,000 UK business failures, it was found revealed that 15.5% of businesses in the UK hospitality and catering sector fail every year, compared to just 5.25% for the economy as a whole.



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