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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Since I moved to the area in 2015, the section of Green Lanes from the Overground northwards has progressively become more and more monocultural. I think it began in earnest with the huge expansion in size of the three biggest restaurants on the street - Diyarbakir, Gokyuzu, Hala, and has continued since then.

There's now over 20 Turkish restaurants/takeaways between the Salisbury and the Overground station, 8 barbers, and pretty much the rest of the street is grocery shops, jewellery shops, salons/nail parlours and cake shops, sometimes doubled up. I struggle to think of many streets in central-ish London bar Brick Lane which have so little diversity. 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Turkish food and love the fresh produce in the grocers. I use the barbers most months. But, how is it that the street is so same-y? I'm genuinely interested in the dynamics of this. Is it that most of the buildings are owned by Turkish/Kurdish landlords who then rent out to other business owners/entrepreneurs in the community? 

I was under the impression that councils were supposed to do what they could to enable diverse high streets. This clearly seems not to have been happening on Green Lanes over the last decade. There is now little choice for residents who live locally. Dusty Knuckle stands out as something different that seems to do very well, showing that local residents will give something different their custom, and do so in droves. 

Yes there have been a few restaurants that offer something different, but in my experience they've not been great quality or targeted well at what local residents might use often. Other high streets in the general area are much more varied (Stroud Green Road, Crouch End, Stoke Newington Church St). So why is Green Lanes so totally dominated by multiple variations of the same thing? Why can't anything else get a look in? 

Just to fend off predictable criticism of the above:
- Yes, I moved here knowing the area had a strong Turkish/Kurdish community, and yes, if I don't like it, I can, and may well move away from the area.
- No, I'm not racist, and do not resent the Turkish business community. I give many shops and local businesses my custom daily, preferring to shop in them over big chains whenever I can.
- Yes, this is a luxury problem during a cost of living crisis. 

All I'm suggesting is that at this point, Green Lanes might be experiencing 'too much of a good thing', and that a little diversity of choice might be nice to have. And wondering why it might be the case. 

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Permission is given for the type of business - restaurant, shop,  bank and so on - not the type of cuisine. 

In general, that's correct, but Haringey council has in the recent past given planning permission in Green Lanes based on the type or nationality of proposed restaurants' cuisine. Despite the expansions of some restaurants being in contravention of the council’s own policies around protecting High Streets, GL was deemed to be of such cultural significance that those policies could be ignored. 

As with residential streets and the public realm, the loudest and most politically active lobby groups do much to determine the nature of our High Street. 

I've lived in the borough for the past 40 years and remember it well before I moved here. It's been a street famed for it's Turkish/Kurdish culture for much longer than the past 10 years. I remember in the early 2000's when there was a spate of inter-gang murders in and around GL that resulted in the MET manning the area with machine gun carrying officers. I also remember further back into the 70s before it was a Turkish/Kurdish community and it was a majority Greek Cypriot area. If I'm wrong then someone will correct me but I'm sure the last Greek Cypriot cafe on GL was Zorba the Mastiff but that went a decade or so back. Personally I like GL Harringay, even though as you say it's a monoculture, but I would suspect that term doesn't accurately reflect the neighbourhood as there is more than one culture present as Kurdish culture and I would think Turkish culture varies a lot between their relevant regions? What's not to like. Fresh fruit's and vegetables, the best eastern med food in the UK. It's comparable to Chinatown in Soho but much bigger and in our borough. It also must bring in a lot of money from people all over London who visit there, but controversially how much of that capital is declared and taxed is another matter. 

This feels a bit like complaining that there are loads of Chinese-focused businesses in Chinatown. 

Hi I totally agree with you drpepper. It has been a recurring theme on this site for a while but you will face the usual criticisms you have listed here. There are far too many Turkish restaurants and we could use a lot more 'diversity'
Sadly JamesN you are right about this council being dictated to by those with the loudest voices and the rest of us being largely ignored!

Just for the record, I was pointing out how things are run. No particular judgement on the outcomes. If I were pushed, a strict adherence to planning policies a decade ago might have left GL as barren and unwelcoming as many of the High Streets that tried to maintain their retail focus. I suspect the council was right by chance or for the wrong reasons as they were extolling the promise of retail in Wood Green at the same time.

What are the best avenues for being more vocal about this do you think?

Dusty Knuckle aside I'm not sure how much custom the non-Turkish community is providing for local businesses -we've lost Baldwins, Lido, Yaalu Yaalu, Bun in a Bar, Tramp, Hanoi Pho, Indika Kitchen - all from quite a short stretch of Green Lanes over the last couple of years.  People on here always say they want variety but then when something new opens it's always not authentic enough, too expensive, not child friendly enough, too child friendly - if you're not a Turkish restaurant/shop it seems quite hard to get enough custom to survive.

[I]f you're not a Turkish restaurant/shop it seems quite hard to get enough custom to survive.

Or, one could posit, if yours isn't a Turkish restaurant/shop it seems quite hard enough to be able to be allowed to partake in the money laundering operations that would explain the continued presence of a fair few of the places in the area that ostensibly have little appearance of economic viability. 

(I say this as someone who has been approved by a UK regulator as the Compliance Oversight and Money Laundering Reporting Officer, not someone just lobbing spitballs out of spite.  Indeed, if I had my druthers all the restaurants, etc., could carry on as they do and it would just be the betting shops that are turfed out of the area.) 

(you also say this as someone who cites the Old Testament as a source to establish the historical record of Israel.)

Forgive me if I regard this post as ill-founded as your others.

If you wander down to Green Lanes on a Saturday or Sunday evening, restaurants have queues waiting for tables.  In the Time Out listing of the top 10 Turkish restaurants in London, 3 are here in Green Lanes. The area is also firmly on the tourist trail for cheap(er) eating out just as Brick Lane is.



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