CROUCH END NEIGBOURHOOD FORUM STEERING GROUP; REPORT ON BUSINESS CONSULTATION MEETING HELD ON 30.09.15 AT HORNSEY TOWN HALL
Present: Miranda Ballard Muddy Boots Foods
Christopher Freeman Dunns Bakers
Lewis Freeman Dunns Bakers
Mark Afford Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum
Norman Beddington Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum
Adrian Essex Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum
Apologies Hannah Pierce Earl Haig Hall
Aaron Jacob Fahri Jacobs Solicitors/Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum
The purpose of the meeting was for members of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum (CENF) which is about to begin work on its plan for the neighbourhood, to meet business owners and to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by running a business in Crouch End.
Over 250 flyers were distributed to all local businesses by Dunns Bakers, all CENF business members and some other contacts, including those of the Crouch End Project, were e-mailed.
Mark Afford introduced CENF and its work over the last year, and explained that the Forum’s work focused on enabling local residents, business owners and employees to have their say on current issues. Another major part of its work is preparation of the neighbourhood plan for the area, which can cover conservation, townscape, planning, transport, social facilities etc. He thought that businesses in CE are under pressure, particularly from rising rents.
Issues & Problems
Rents & Landlords
These were an issue for many traders; any discussion on these issues must include all sectors including shops, offices and other outlets.
A register of landlords could be drawn up as the basis for a comparison of commercial rents, so that tenants could tell whether their rents were reasonable or higher than average. Adrian Essex suggested obtaining lease terms from the Land Registry, and publication of all local rents – though this might be too controversial.
Christopher thought that this was currently fairly stable; any threat from the new Sainsbury’s under construction at Hornsey High St with its 140 car parking spaces would be neutralised by the presence of Waitrose acting as an effective anchor.
Commercial rates are based on property valuations revised every 5 yrs. Muddy Boots factored rates into its commercial calculations, but Miranda thought that they were nevertheless high, especially when the separate commercial waste payment was taken into account.
Impact of Premises
Muddy Boots’ attractive awning was commented on, with its positive impact on that part of Broadway Parade. Miranda said that MB sought to play a positive role in the streetscape and business community, and employed 8 people in CE.
Always an important issue (would get many more attendees to meetings), but always controversial (cf West Hampstead NP, from which detailed discussion on parking had to be omitted because too incendiary).
Shortage of Office Premises
Norman Beddington reported on his office & commercial premises survey, which seems to show that there is a growing shortage of premises, particularly for cultural industries like music recording and management. This will increasingly impact on Crouch End’s potential as a centre for cultural industry businesses and employment. The NP should go into this in more detail.
New Fascias Suggestion
Miranda Ballard is prepared to get together 10 or so traders in her part of Broadway Parade to discuss how they could commission new fascias and awnings together; they could obtain a joint discount from a local sign-maker. Norman offered to introduce her to Chris Mason who may be prepared to provide planning expertise.
An area with obvious potential with arrival of the Arthouse and forthcoming Picturehouse with 4 screens. This means a big expansion in evening and late afternoon visitors with commercial opportunities. Need to ensure that transport is adequate – potential for improvement of W5 & opening of another Hoppa service ? Could be a Shuttle Bus funded by traders for outlying parts of CE.
HornseyTown Hall & Cultural Businesses
The redevelopment of Hornsey Town Hall means that 60 plus creative businesses will have to leave CE in the near future assuming Haringey’s plans go ahead. This is a loss both of creative & entrepreneurial potential for CE, as well as custom for local retailers.
What is potential for moving them to Town hall annexe while work goes on the main site ? This should be explored.
What’s Opening Next ? Adrian suggested this could be a popular attraction for residents (and business owners.)
Joint Energy Purchase This could be a way of reducing energy bills for groups of local businesses, as could consortium purchase of trade waste disposal
Role & Function of Trade Associations What is the role of Crouch End Traders Association. Crouch End Project, Barboot & other trade associations ?
Putting on an Exhibition of Historic Shop Front Photos This could be an effective way of encouraging pride in the streetscape of CE, and in restoration of historic features.
Norman will produce a report to be discussed at the next Neighbourhood Forum meeting on 09.10.15. This will be fed back to everyone who has attended.
Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum Steering Group