An independent antiques shop in Finsbury Park is to be ‘carved in two’ by its landlord Brownlow Developments – to create space for a new flat.
Bennet & Brown has been providing services to clients including Westminster Cathedral for 10 years from its home on Mountgrove Road.
The shop’s co-owner Dominic Bennet said: “Our landlord wants to carve the shop in two so it can be turned into a flat. The remaining shop space won’t be big enough for us to stay here.
Bennet claims the landlord gave no indication of what it was planning.
“I just received a letter telling me to vacate. We’ve had no discussions with the landlord whatsoever. It all happened very suddenly and they haven’t been in touch at all.
“But we’re determined to stop them,” he said.
The shop has started a petition, available to sign in the shop, calling for a halt to the plans. It has already reached 500 names.
“We’re a well-loved part of the community, as the 500 signatures will attest. But if these plans go ahead, we won’t be here anymore,” Bennet said.
Over the years, the craftsmen have restored antiques and furniture for prestigious clients including the Spanish Embassy and Dr Johnson’s House museum.
Bennet added: “We’ve also done a number of pieces for Westminster Cathedral – we’ve restored some of the pews and even worked on the cardinal’s desk.”
Bennet plans to submit the petition to the council and, once a date is set for the planning decision, he will turn up to make his case for the shop.
John Martin from Cluttons, which represents the landlord, said the firm has been in dialogue with Bennet & Brown for over two years. He told the Hackney Citizen: “In July of this year we offered Bennet & Brown the opportunity to stay in the property on a short term lease but received no response to the offer.
“Our client’s proposal has fully taken into consideration the importance of local retail for the community and the need for additional housing, and is fully compliant with planning policy.
“Unlike many of the other retail units on Mountgrove Road, which have been fully converted to residential by other landlords, our client’s proposed redevelopment will create an improved retail space.”