The claims of estate agents Kinleigh Folkard Hayward to being upstanding corporate citizens and even community champions are ringing very hollow in Harringay today.
Despite the proud boast of Kinleigh Folkard Hayward to be "bringing your city to life", the tricky dealings by the London estate agents seem to suggest that community interest and community wellbeing are of little concern to them.
Back in July this year, Salisbury boss Dave, heard rumours that the office premises next to Tesco, on the corner of St Ann's Road and Salisbury Road (originally leased for a KFH office), was to be sublet by Kinleigh Folkard Hayward to a betting shop operator.
There's strong awareness in the neighbourhood that we have about as many betting shops as any high street could bear. So I was keen to find an alternative letting solution. I'd heard about a couple of London examples recently when the community had approached either a betting shop operator, or a landlord and persuaded them not to open a betting shop. Given the case to be made for Green Lanes having a surfeit of betting shops, I suggested to Rob Chau of Harringay Traders that an approach be made to KFH.
I felt that there must be a solution that would satisfy KFH's legitimate commercial requirements whilst also delivering on community interest.
Rob picked up the baton and passed things over to the GLA team involved on the Green Lanes regeneration project. As summer progressed and turned to Autumn, all seemed to be going well. GLA supported plans had been hatched to let the shop and use it as a community pop-up space for an interim period.
About a week ago Rob told me that negotiations had progressed well and that the arrangements for a community pop-up shop were about to be finalised. Then out of the blue yesterday, the Haringey Council licensing team received an application for a licence to operate the premises as a betting shop.
My first thought was that perhaps the betting shop operator had made a speculative application in the hope that they would come to terms with KFH. I haven't completely abandoned hope of this being the case. We don't know for sure that it's not. But, when I spoke to Rob Chau early this morning he told me, "It's 90% certain that KFH have decided to lease to the betting shop. You don't submit a licensing application unless you're certain you have a premises to licence". Then Councillor Nilgun Canver told me, "Kinleigh Folkard Hayward abandoned our proposals and the licensing application is being progressed".
It seems like bad news. It seems like KFH could reasonably face accusations not only of riding roughshod over community interest, but also of what might at best be described as a rather tricky approach to negotiating with a local community.
Rob Chau commented, "I'm very disappointed. No one from KFH has bothered to visit. They just don't care. This is only a commercial issue for them."
"They've been very two-faced. They put on a community face and got involved in drawn out discussions and negotiations; with the other face, they did a deal against community interest.
I asked Dave at the Salisbury what he thought of the way KFH had conducted themselves, "I think it's disgusting. It's really disgusting. We really don't need another betting shop. I'm not happy at all"
Those of you who caught my angry tweets last night might suspect that I'm keen to see if we can get together as a community to fight this. You'd be right! I respect KFH's right to make a commercial decision, but there must be a way, where between them, the GLA, the Council and the community we can come up with a solution where we're all winners.
If KFH truly have shut the door on negotiation, then there are a range of options open for fighting this. More over the next few days.
Update from Paul Stork here.
© 2023 Created by Hugh. Powered by