Sign the petition

The council plans to sell off a portfolio of commercial property in the Amwell Street area by utilising a system of sale tantamount to sealed bidding, without giving the tenants a guide bidding price. The businesses affected may be unwittlingly bidding against property developers vying for the entire portfolio, who will not neccessarily offer more for the individual properties but still have the offer accepted as a whole. This process can have disastrous effects for the businesses and local residents, who see rents forced up, essential community serving business moved out to pave the way for development profit. If you enjoy the mix of indepenent shops and businesses in and around Amwell Street and wish for them to be given the opportunity to buy their freeholds in a transparent way, by being offered an asking price by the council, please show your support by leaving a comment.

163 Responses to “Sign the petition”

  1. Christine Cohen Says:

    I am very strongly against the Council’s plans to sell off a portfolio of property in the Amwell Street Area which contains a delightful mix of small shops and businesses.

    The proposed system of bidding is manifestly unfair.

  2. Paul Hallam Says:

    I own Filthy Macnastys in Amwell Street.

    As a pub owner we would probably benefit from a street being full of Costa Coffees and HMV shops.

    As member of the local community I would HORRIFIED if this happened. Many of the people in the local and unique shops have become our friends over the past 4 years.

    Londons last Village will become like every other street in the capital faceless and bland.

    Keep the shops as they are.

    PH

  3. Tony Cunningham Says:

    I am a director of twentytwentyone and we are tenants at 18c River Street. We have been here 10 years after taking on the derelict site from Islington council. We have invested heavily in the structure and services of the building and built a business that employs 12 people under the impression we were secure in a lease with a responsible landlord.

    We are very concerned that the pending sale of the freehold will place our investment and hard work under unfair pressure by a new private landlord that wants us out because they have development £££’s in mind.

    Does the area need independent, essential, diverse and creative businesses or does it need mews ‘warehouse style’ apartments and starbucks? The council should be asking questions such as these and seeking opinion from the Londoners that elect them and the community their decisions directly effect. Not what is the easiest, quick deal we can do.

    We do not want any special treatment; all we would like is for us and other businesses in the area to be given a fair and open opportunity to buy their premises. No sealed or private bidding or any scheme that favours the developer and no deal that wraps up the whole portfolio to one property corporation. What is wrong with giving the tenants a price to consider? If the tenants choose not to proceed then no one is suggesting the properties shouldn’t go on the open market.

    It could be so simple and one wonders why this approach cannot be adopted especially as the council states it wants to help and support individual businesses and maintain communities?

  4. Sophie Alderson Says:

    I think Amwell Street is great and needs protecting. I drive over from Stoke Newington despite the congestion charge to use the wonderful vet, Dale Barter. Also I love Raj’s, Myddleton’s and Emma Hope shoes. I think the bookshop is fab and twentytwentyone also. It feels very special the way it is and I worry if the tenants are hit with high rent reviews after developer’s move in this mix will be lost forever. London needs more areas such as this.

  5. Rhys Denbigh Says:

    Small independent businesses should be nurtured and encouraged by councils, not held to ransom and forced to compete with developers who just want to throw up more unaffordable housing and add faceless high street brands to the shopfronts.

    With Upper St. so close to provide such services, Amwell street and the surrounding area should be allowed to keep its identity and the local business owners free to secure their own properties. The quick fix of selling off the entire portfolio to the highest single bidder must be resisted and the right for first refusal at market rates be given to all current leaseholders. To sell them out smacks of a lazy council, out to make a quick and easy buck. Everyone would agree that money is needed to put in to local services (schools etc.) but that money can be generated in a fair and forward thinking way by letting the small and thriving businesses of Amwell Street secure their own futures.

    I hope the council will wake up to this situation and do what is best for its community.

  6. Sue Ash Says:

    I strongly support the right of existing tenants to have first option to purchase at a fair price the properties in which they have built businesses and sometimes their homes. All those who live or enjoy the businesses in that area will benefit from their contiuned existence and from the generic developing of the area which maintains its individual character. Please don’t let us see yet another Starbucks. When we have three within a square mile of Russell Square, just a 15 minute walk away, why would anyone want another and why would anyone want Amwell Street to look the same as high streets in other towns or in London’s old ‘villages’.

  7. Quentin Barter Says:

    The selling of premises that are currently occuppied by local businesses for property development will result in the loss of these businesses and undermine the fabric of the local community. The current tenants should have the first option to purchase the properties at affordable prices as they are the people who work and live in the area. These businesses have managed to survived the introduction and the extortionate increase of the congestion charge tax and provide the services required of their local community. The destruction of the individual nature of Amwell Street to the cloned and repetative styles that have proliferated across London should be avoided at all costs. The local council should be supporting the local businesses in the area, not planning their demise.

  8. Denise McFarland & Iain Wilcock Says:

    We are fully in support of the comments made by Dale Barter of the Vet’s premises in Amwell street and other residents and commercial tenant’s whose diversity in maintaining the integrity of the street and its commerical and residential mix should be honoured, respected and given a fiar opportunity to thrive and flourish as an asset to the wider community of Islington Borough. We had hoped that Islington would try and be a leader in the wider London community in treating such tenants and leaseholders with full fairness and opportunity ?

  9. Richard & Jill Purdum Says:

    We believe it would be a real tragedy for the local community to lose the amenities and atmosphere provided by the small businesses in Amwell Street. We travel a long way to get Dale Barter to treat our animals (the most caring vet we know). And it’s such a pleasure to visit small shops who are specialists, know what they’re selling and care about their customers rather than be left with no alternative to one of the national chain stores around the Angel and Upper Street. The possible loss of such valuable local services as laundrette, newsagent, chemist, cleaners, florist, deli, etc., combined with the boutiques which bring character and additional custom, would surely destroy the character of one the nicest neighbourhoods in Islington.

    We do hope the Council will make it possible for the leaseholders of these premises to continue to exist as part of the local community.

  10. Jane Anderson Craig Says:

    It saddens me greatly to read about Islington’s plans for Amwell Street. Along with the blatant unfairness of the decision for business owners this will, in my opinion, have a detremental effect on the lives of local residents. Hampstead High Street is now a mini-Oxford Street with only a handful of independent shops offering individual products to residents due to Camden Council’s policies. St John’s Wood High street is going through the same process at present, with five independent shops which had served the community closing, such as a toy shop and birthday cake decorator, and being replaced by CarPhone Warehouse and Orange. Surely a Council’s remit is to serve the community and facilitate the services they require? The proposed measures for selling leases to the highest bidder will not ensure community requirements are met but favour the interests of big business.

  11. Richard Turpin Says:

    Islington Councillors have a responsibility to maintain viable communities within their Borough. In many parts of London short-sighted decisions have been made in the past by authorities who have failed to recognise the importance of local small businesses. The economics of providing a specialist local shop or service cannot compete with large and powerful companies. However the value to a healthly and vibrant local economy of thriving small business to the whole community is huge. Once lost, a local business community will never return and over time the whole nature of the area will change, usually to the detriment of local residents.
    If Islington Councillors believe they are doing the right thing by selling their properties in Amwell Street to the highest bidder they are falling into the trap other London Councils have lived to regret. Leglistation allows authorities to protect local businesses and to take a lower price on the sale of their assets because in the long term this is in the best interest of the electors of the Borough.
    It is not too late to do the right thing for the long term benefit of Islington, lets hope Councillors are wise enough to recognise this!

  12. Helen Skehan Says:

    I very much support the Amwell Street traders in their bid to achieve a fair chance to purchase their commercial properties in a transparent and open market. Amwell street businesses provide a valuable contribution to the local community, residents and people working and visiting the area. I think that Islington council is short-sighted in selling off their commercial property interests and thereby losing control of an important part of Islington society and life.

  13. Avril Riddell Says:

    These small independent businesses should be strongly supported by Islington council and the traders given a fair chance to purchase their properties at a reasonable price rather than the properties being sold at inflated prices for property development. There is a wonderful mix of individual shops in Amwell Street which add a great feeling of community and enjoyment to the area. I travel from Kentish Town, through the congestion charge, to visit Dale Barter, the vet. It’s worth it, and I have come to appreciate the diverse small shops nearby. All the chain cafes (Starbucks, etc) and chain shops are available in abundance in nearby Upper Street. This area is an asset as it is, without any changes.

  14. Susan Oliver Says:

    SAVE OUR SHOPS!!!!!!!!

  15. Barbara Bereza, Carters Chemist Says:

    It’s not just Amwell Street that’s being steam-rollered by the council. We are a small parade of four shops, and a medical centre in Roman Way, who have served our local community for 30 years. We have built up reputations and relationships here, just like the other traders in the borough whose livelihoods may be at risk.
    Small shops we may be, but the constancy of presence is an invaluable asset to the many people who live here.
    Small shops create an interesting community. Their small entrepreneurial endeaours creating a choice and an alternative to the high street blady-blah giants, and it is surely this that the people of Islington want, not more of the same.
    We should be assured of being able to buy our leases at a fair market price and have security for our futures.

  16. karen homer Says:

    As far as Islington goes Amwell Street is so unique,cosy,friendly,different,and lively.
    Dont ruin it, please save it.

  17. Sue Heap Says:

    We lived just off Amwell Street for 22 years until we moved 3 years ago. The shops are a vital part of the community – don’t let them fall into the hands of a soul-less landlord who has no interest in the needs of local people. Amwell Street is one of the few remaining ‘villages’ in central London and should remain so.

    And as an Islington council tax payer still, I am convinced that the council will get a better financial deal by selling to existing leaseholders.

    Islington councillors, please listen.

  18. Robyn Moore Says:

    Having lived in Amwell Street with our two children and enjoyed its diversity and its friendly, safe atmosphere, I wish to strongly urge council to keep the local community spirit which is fostered through its village culture. Locally owned village shops and cafes unite local people to develop sustainable business and friendship networks. London is short on caring communities such as Amwell, and council should treat it as precious and worth fighting for. Preserve the shopping precinct as it is and keep this vibrant and supportive community alive.

  19. Chris Ruff Says:

    The area and indeed London as a whole is suffering as far too much is being sold off and the shops that have served the community well are priced out. Amwell Street still retains its village feel and the variety of local shops here adds greatly to this. Once these shops go they go forever.

  20. Elaine Clarke Says:

    This fund raising idea by the council is once again another short sighted political move. The money raised will be swallowed up very quickly, and in years to come Islington will be as faceless as so many other parts of London. I have been a council lease holder for over 26 years we are not in Amwell street but we are a small sustainable community business, giving service and employment in an area that badly needs it. What about the social economic consequencys of the councils actions. Do people in Islington want these localy run businesses taken over by large city financial companies? Which will cetainly put many of these lease holders in danger of being unable to pay increased rents, the council should ask them.

  21. Gerry Sproston Says:

    The loss of our post office was bad enough and we really cannot now allow Isington Council to destroy all the other essential services and small business we depend on in Amwell Street. The present tenants must be given a fair opportunity to purchase their own premises at an affordable price and the transactions must be open and above board.

  22. Lisa Killeen Says:

    I support the Amwell traders- this street needs protecting! I drive to Amwell street from Stoke Newington, despite the congestion charge, to visit Dale Barter’s vetrinary surgery. I also shop at Myddletons and various other stores on the street. It has a wonderful atmosphere of a little village and it would be an awful shame to lose one of the last of these in London.

  23. Roy Wainwright Says:

    Closing local businesses has a knock-on effect through out the whole bourough. As a local window cleaner the effect will be greatly felt.

  24. Deborah Cowles Says:

    We support the local area, using the vet and shops on a regular basis. These are important services to the local community. We need them.

  25. Christine Goode-Smeeth Says:

    Dont turn the Village atmosphere into a local high street, there is Upper Street for that. Give the traders a fair chance of buying and retaining and improving what they have already achieved.

  26. Bill Gibson Says:

    Islington Council’s proposals will affect small businesses throughout the borough. It seems incredible that Islington Council would actively destroy diversity for what will be a fairly short-term gain. How are the interests of Islington residents being served by replacing small independent traders with yet more chain shops, many of which are already well represented in the borough?

  27. Ella Johnston Says:

    Regeneration? More like vandalism if you ask me. Let’s save our small businesses and our communities – its places like Amwell Street that make London the special city it is.

  28. Max Harris Says:

    …yet another example of squeezing out the little guy in favour of starbux etc…very poor show from islington council…

  29. Jessica Albarn Says:

    I always support the small business. We need diversity and character in Islington, to protect the heritage and the individual identity of the people and places that make it unique . The council is being
    short sighted. Otherwise it will just end up going the way of so many other faceless towns in this country. Which is sad.

  30. Carol Horner Says:

    Does this Council ever consider what local people want? They were voted in because we thought that as they were local they would care about the area. They are happy enough to boast about ‘Amwell Village’ when it suits them but they are now doing their best to destroy it. They have sold our Town Hall, closed our post office, and now they want to turn Amwell Street into a clone of every other street in London.
    Why shouldn’t the leaseholders in Amwell Street (and the rest of the 200) have preferential treatment so that they can buy their premises? They are the ones that have built up the businesses and looked after the properties. The Council should be backing these people not stabbing them in the back.
    Hopefully these Councillors will not be surprised when we decide who to vote for when the next local elections come around, because it wont be for them.

  31. Eileen Kilby Says:

    For elderly people Amwell Street is a lifeline. The possible closure of the chemist, the newsagents and the rest of the shops would be a great loss. Many of us can manage to walk to Amwell Street but find even Chapel Street difficult to get to.
    Dont forget we are the people that made this borough don’t destroy it for us

  32. Ted Draper Says:

    Without the shops in Amwell Street many of us pensioners would find it difficult to cope. We depend on it for many of our daily needs. Don’t forget many of us don’t have other people to get our shopping for us’

  33. Dora Warren Says:

    I support you completely in your campaign. Please remember however that, important as the Amwell Street shops and businesses are to the local community, they are not the only ones affected. The plans, which I believe have now been passed by the council, include something like 200 leases from Canonbury down to Smithfield, and they all deserve our support and protection. I thought it was the Council’s duty to enhance and support diversity and character of the various villages in this borough, but they seem to be concerned with making a quick buck to spend on rebuilding schools. We all know that new buildings do not solve problems in themselves: the task is much greater than that.
    They jusitfy this hasty decision by saying that this is what recent feedback told them the residents wanted, but only gave a few days notice of this momentous decision without consulting the communities most affected.

  34. Prasit Shah Says:

    I am the owner of the local opticians on St John Street. My premises is one that the council is proposing to sell. From my point of view, I only recently took over this business and have felt let down by the council and their advisers that I was not told about this proposal. In fact when I inquired about the possibilty of buying the freehold prior to my taking over, the person from the council with whom I was speaking laughed and said that the council “would never sell those properties”.
    There are so many people being affected by this sale, residents and businesses owners alike. I was at the coucil meeting when they opened the proposal for the sale. The meeting started by the councillors saying how they all support small businesses and that all of their work is geared towards making Islington a better place for the community it serves. It is very hard to believe that this genuinely is the case.
    Personally, I have found a strong sense of community spirit since I’ve moved here and this is becoming a rare thing to come across these days. It would be a real shame if the council were to sell these ‘units’ off to a coorporation who will not have the interests of the community at heart.

  35. Dr MW Bewick Says:

    I would like to add my support and my name to the petition.

    Amwell Street is currently a well-maintained, culturally important and historically, socially and architecturally significant street – only minutes from the indistinguishably branded high street of Upper Street, which provides all the mediocrity people have come to expect from a modern retail centre.

    Amwell Street offers something different. Ask people from outside London, too. When friends and relatives arrive, Amwell Street is one of our first ports of call. Without fail they find it charming and a preferred alternative to the streets they visit in towns up and down the country.

    We don’t need another Upper Street so close. Please don’t destroy Amwell Street.

    Dr MW Bewick

  36. Rachel Lawrence Says:

    As a local resident I’m appalled at the way in which the traders of Amwell Street are being treated by Islington Council. By giving property developers such an unfair advantage over independent businesses the council is jeopardizing the future of this unique and vital street.

    Independent shops make a huge contribution to local communities, both socially and economically. Islington Council should be supporting small businesses not ignoring them in order to make a fast buck.

    Please save this important part of London’s heritage from becoming just another parade of chain stores.

    Rachel Lawrence

  37. R de Wynter Says:

    Amwell St has a unique character and a wonderful mix of independent shops. Why, given the horrible homogenisaton wreaked on other streets around the country can’t the council understand that keeping areas as individual as possible can only be a good thing? If the leases have to be sold off at least give the current tenants preferential treatment. Please!

  38. kate & john welton Says:

    In Amwell st you can almost forgett your in London, the kindness of residents and buissness owners, the community sprit.
    Why dont the bright sparks who think of these silly ideas come down and experince these wonderfull things for themsevels.
    In this day and age its nice to have a street that has not got a big commerical shop, but nice little shops where you see the same smiles and where they remember your face.
    After all me and my husband have delivered mail to this wonderful place called Amwell VILLIAGE.

  39. Rita Hale Says:

    Like many others, I am concerned by the possibility of the properties in and around Amwell Street being sold to developers, who may try to force out the existing long leaseholders by driving up rents in order to redevelop the area.

    The local Council has quite a lot of freedom to decide how best to balance the competing needs of those who love in the area.

    The Local Government Act 2000 gives local authorities such as Islington the discretionary power to do anything they consider likely to promote or improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of their area.

    Not surprisingly, the powers under the 2000 Act do not enable local authorities to do anything which is prohibited under any other legislation or to raise money by precepts, borrowing or otherwise – but they do enable local authorities to incur expenditure; give financial assistance and/or provide staff, goods and services to others; and co-operate with other bodies. So the Council could take the view that the needs of those of us who live in the Borough would be best met by:

    * disposing of the commercial properties in and around Amwell Street in order to generate money that could be used to improve or replace other Council-owned properties;

    * giving the leaseholders the opportunity to buy the freeholds of their properties at or about market value; and

    * only if the leaseholders do not choose to buy their freeholds, offering the properties for sale on the open market.

    I am well aware that such an approach would probably make the properties in and around Amwell Street less attractive to a developer who wished to carry out a large scale redevelopment of the area, but it would enable the Council to achieve a balance between converting some of its assets into cash, enabling Amwell Street to retain its specialist shops and businesses; and allowing for some redevelopment of the area.

  40. Angela Connealy Says:

    I strongly agree with all the comments above. Please listen to them very carefully and please let the present tennants have a fair chance to buy their premises if they wish. They have after all worked really hard and helped to make the area what it is today.

  41. Katie Palmer Says:

    I feel that this area is truly charming and quite unique.

    Having read the articles I am worried for all the businesses and fully support this petition.

    I hope the council realise what they must do and offer the present tenants the opportunity to purchase their premises.

  42. Mike Gardner Says:

    There is an enthusiasm for promoting entreprenuers and small independant businesses as the means to maintain the environment and bring new jobs. Amwell Street typifies the benefits for residents and visitors of a small business community who have a long term commitment to the area.
    How can Islington Council possibly justify their action to sell these business leases in a way that puts the existing leaseholders at a disadvantage. Furthermore it is unlikely that new leaseholders/developers will take a long term view.
    Surely the Council is UNFAIR and WRONG

  43. Diana Leonard Says:

    I use all the Amwell Street and St John Street shops regularly – and am distressed by the blight that has come upon the east side of St John Street because of the inflated rents being asked for the refurbished – and now long empty – shops. The row of shops on Amwell street serve the local population well, actually do have a sense of community, and look charming. Each deserves to be allowed to continue as a thriving small business, holding its own freehold so that it can make necessary alterations for its specific business. The area is being torn apart by the Council’s short term distructive commercialism. North of the Pentonville Road is a mess.

  44. Dale Barter Says:

    Our final opportunity to influence the decision
    On Tuesday 30 January at 7.30pm, Islington Council Overview Committee will decide whether to confirm the Executive Committee’s decision to sell the Council’s commercial portfolio to the highest bidder in a process of sealed bids or return it to the Executive Committee to reconsider their approach to the disposal. This meeting is open to the public.

    Background
    The Council Executive has elected to dispose of the remains of its commercial portfolio. The Executive’s policy is not to hold a commercial portfolio and it has to be seen to gain best value in its disposal of these properties. Best value does not have to be exclusively financial return. When the rebuilding of infrastructure and schools is cited as the benefit of the sale, efforts by the affected leaseholders to protect their interests could appear to be self-interest in the face of general benefit.

    The question is whether the need for capital to rebuild schools and infrastructure should compromise communities and neighbourhoods by destabilising long established businesses serving local communities throughout the borough.

    “A Level Playing Field”
    Leaseholders have 3 to 4 months to employ surveyors, lawyers, and if possible, raise commercial mortgages and present sealed bids to the authority in competition with any interested parties who can offer for the entire portfolio. Leaseholders have to continue running their enterprise whilst completing this process. Investment companies, in comparison, have established teams for just this and will be able to raise funds at considerably lower interest than is available for normal commercial mortgages.

    In representations to the Deputy Chief Executive Andy Jennings and Councillor Andrew Cornwall, a request to recognise the contributions of leaseholders and their businesses to local communities by allowing leaseholders the opportunity to offer for their freeholds prior to compiling the portfolio has been rejected. The Executive continues to assert that the process they have devised is “a level playing field” and nothing can be done to support leaseholders for legal reasons. Despite several requests to be told what these legal reasons are, leaseholders are none the wiser.

    Law or Policy
    Leaseholders and residents deserve to know if the method of sale of the portfolio is a policy choice on the part of the Executive or if there are genuine legal restrictions.

    Guidance from CIPFA on the interpretation of the Local Authority Act 2000, and other legislative sources suggest that there is flexibility in this matter. We have been advised that

    the Council “can use discretionary power to do anything they consider likely to promote or improve the economi,c social or environmental well being of the area”. and

    “Legislation allows authorities to protect local business and to take a lower price on the sale of their assets because in the long term this is in the best interests of the electors of the Borough.”

    What are the legal reasons that conflict with the above guidance?

    Impacts on local businesses
    In event of leaseholders not being successful in their bids or being unable to afford to bid, the Executive assures us that we are protected by the terms of our leases. Theoretically this may be true. Practically if a new landlord wished to gain vacant possession a property they could make unreasonable rent demands, service charges or repair schedules to pressure the tenants to surrender their leases prematurely. Leaseholders would have to employ expensive legal advice to challenge these issues.

    Admittedly these are potential issues but they have established precedent in the disposal of commercial properties by this Council in 2002/2003. Leaseholders now confront continuing their business concerns in this adversarial environment as a direct result of the Executive policy choice

    Impact on local communities
    - Loss of variety and service from small independent enterprise
    - Loss of employment locally
    - Inflationary pressure on the cost of services
    - Indiscriminate redevelopment as seen in other streets in the Borough

    In summary communities face the prospect of losing their local services. The Executive has invited interests from outside the communities to compete for the freehold of these businesses. They have disregarded other options and have not considered the historical contribution of established leaseholders.

    Islington’s commercial leaseholders have one opportunity to make a market value offer for the freehold of their premises in a closed bid in competition with large external development interests.

    This is patently unfair and will decimate distinctive local shopping facilities.

  45. Ross Kelly Says:

    I’m backing Dale and the other businesses on Amwell Street. It’s not enough for our councillors to say they are not in the business of commercial property, then simply wash their hands.
    They have a clear responsibility for the communities they purport to serve, and there are few streets left in the whole of London which foster a sense of community as much as Amwell Street.

  46. Julian Carr Says:

    I saw the articles in the press and am dissapointed that the council seems to treat local people with such contempt. 3 generations of my family have been living in and around Amwell Street since the 1940′s and now, on our watch we look as if we will be seeing another corporate high street. The amenity of the area will certainly be depleted and I fail to see the benefit to the people who pay the councils’ wages and who’s interests should be put first – i.e. US
    Sadly, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend in person to the meeting at the town hall this evening (30th Jan) but I hope that there was a good turnout and will definitely give my time to any other meeting or support.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    Last nights meeting at Islington Town Hall was really disappointing.

    Andrew Cornwell refused to answer many questions relating to the leaseholders and communities fears and made no attempt to genuinely debate the issue. His mind was made up and the ‘call in’ turned into petty rhetoric between the Lib dem and Labour councilors with four on each side and the chairperson’s casting vote plainly sided with the Lib dem camp. Therefore the event was sadly a sham and very disappointing insight into the so called democratic process of Islington council.

    Certain questions remain unanswered despite repeated requests for answers and urge anyone upset by the planned sell off process to lobby the council or their MP for a judicial review.

    Questions that need to be addressed;
    1. Andrew Cornwell stated the council have created a level ‘playing field’ between bidders. Can the council please explain how the playing field is level, pitching property companies against individual business owners in a sealed bidding process is a bit like expecting a Sunday morning pub side to compete with Arsenal.

    2. Repeatedly the question was asked about the ‘legal reasons’ which prevent the council giving the leaseholders the opportunity to match the developers highest bid? No answers given.

    3. Alternately why not get a true valuation from Dunlop Hayward or similar expert valuers and see if the value of the portfolio can be reached by selling at the asking price to the leaseholders with no negotiation. This way the council realises what they need, do not enter into protracted negotiations with individuals and any residual property can be sold to developers or at public auction where it will be sure to sell at market price anyway.

    4. Do the council want to behave responsibly or do they stand for an agenda so right wing and capitalistic where the ‘highest bidder wins’ mentality is more important than running the risk of damaging popular communities which have taken decades to build.

    This is a terrible mistake and clearly Andrew Cornwell and his team appear not to have investigated the full implications of their decision and need to be made accountable in the future when the effects are seen.

  48. Mark Pallis Says:

    Hi. I wrote a piece about this issue in broad terms on the Guardian website. http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/mark_pallis/2007/01/from_davos_to_dale_the_local_v.html
    Hopefuly the links to this site have helped gerate a bit of interest. Mark

  49. Geoff White Says:

    I live in Myddelton Square and discovering a street full of independent, quirky and unique shops in central London was a delightful surprise. London needs more streets like Amwell Street, streets full of shops which generate a real community feel. Who wants to live in Anywhere, U.K. or be made to feel like the 51st state of Starbucks? Not me, and I hope the council realise what a gem they’d be destroying if those shops were to go.

  50. Gail Pirkis Says:

    I’d be horrified if all the independent businesses in Amwell Street were forced to close. The council really should rethink its approach on this.

  51. Eva Mian Says:

    I am really sad to know what the council is planning for Amwell Street. More and more often we hear stories like this…small businesses killed by big developers….what is the purpose of this? to make us all an undefined mass of people dressed in uniforms (all HNM or GAP or REISS, etc), drinking the same coffee, buying the same food and doing the same things? this scenario has a scary resemblance to Orwell’s “1984″…well i don’t want to live in a world like that! I want to live in a world where I have freedom…and does not freedom means to have a choice? well leave me that choice and keep Amwell Street alive.
    It would be nice if for once politicians thought a bit more about their decisions and the consequences of those decisions. If they thought a bit more about the fact that they can’t preach tolerance in society and destroy every form of diversity at the same time…

  52. A.Hampton Says:

    the Islington council must hear these comments, and realise they are wrecking the soul of their burrough with these plans.

  53. KP Says:

    I really hope the council sits up and listens to all these important comments. We’re all fed up of the gradual homogenisation of our streets. Amwell St is one of the few really individual streets that are left in central London and its residents and local businesses deserve to be listened to.

  54. Marianne Skaiaa Says:

    I support the independent shops and small businesses in this area! Don’t give up!

  55. Vicky Goertz Says:

    What a a shame…they’re killing what makes the area interesting: small busineses, independent stores. Lets us live! fat money monsters…

  56. Jim Anderson Says:

    I am a resident in Great Percy Street and I support the traders who seek a fair opportunity to buy. I am not persuaded that this sale gives council taxpayers fair value for their historic equity or that it will not in the long run eliminate services valued by the community.

    Why bring a specuator into the situation to disrupt a community success story in search for a quick profit?

  57. Catherine Williams Says:

    I’ve worked in Angel for six years now and am saddened by the way Islington and Angel in particular is becoming swallowed up by high street chains- areas such as Amwell Street bring diversity and some local colour to an area which is becoming like every other high street around the country- bland!

  58. John Carson & Simon Green Says:

    We have recently discovered the charms of Amwell Street thanks to Dale Barters Amwell Vet being our closest surgery. We cant imagine a better or friendlier practice and would hate to see it or any of the other charming businesses being forced out by higher rates. The council should protect this character or, at the very least, make the sale process fair and transparent.

  59. Liz Pinder-Ayres Says:

    We have lived in the area for 8 years and one of the attractions of the area is the village community atmosphere of Amwell St shops and businesses.
    There is a lot of discussion in the media about the loss of commumnity in London and the introduction of projects to create more community spirit.

    So surely this could be a golden opportunity for Islington Council not only to enable the Amwell St traders to buy their leases to maintain this unique community but create a new project initiative: a flagship village community, a prestigous centre of excellence made up of current and new small businesses where they can grow and flourish.

  60. Dale Barter Says:

    Liz Pinder-Ayres comments ring true to the leaseholders of Amwell Street. We would all welcome ownership of our freeholds to enhance the quality of the environment and to create a flagship village community.
    Executive members have not reacted positively to the idea that private ownership of these buildings by the current leaseholders would in any way incentivise current leaseholders.
    Arguments revolving around the sustainability issue of these communities falling into the control of conglomerate interests have been dismissed in the face of pure commercial gain.
    The executive has dismissed offers to equal or better any offers from such conglomerate concerns.
    It would appear they have decided without consultation to continue with this agenda regardless of public comment or concern.

  61. Cllr Richard Greening Says:

    Just to remind everyone affected by these sell offs, which range across the entire borough, that you are invited to a meeting in the Town Hall, Upper St at 7pm on Thursday 22nd February.

    The meeting has been called as a result of a request from the large number of people who attended the Overview meeting on 30th January that we should put you in contact with each other.

    It will be hosted by Labour councillors, but we would suggest that leaseholders and others affected by this decision should take the lead in deciding what you want to do and where campaigning efforts should be focused. It might be sensible to form a campaign committee, for instance.

    There may also be information which we can attempt to get and circulate – for instance the pros and cons of a closed bidding process, compared with an open auction.

    We are also intending to move a motion at the council meeting on 27th February criticising the sell-off and calling on the Council Executive to change its decision and offer the properties initially to the existing leaseholders at a fair market price. Unfortunately, a council resolution does not force the Executive to change its decision, but this is really all about putting enough pressure on the Lib Dem councillors to get them to change their approach.

    We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to attend those meetings.

  62. Huw Morgan Says:

    We are another Islington buisness effected by the proposed sale. Diverse Hair has been trading for 18 years on Upper St, we are not alone . the parade of shops consists of ourselves and 5 other long established shops, all of whom are deeply concerned about the method the Lib dems intend to adopt to facilitate a quick and unfair sale.
    We would welcome a far more transparent approach giving local traders a chance to remain in the borough, while offering the best value for Islington as a whole.
    I know I speak for myself and adjacent shops on Upper St. in welcoming Cllr. Greening’s sugestion of a campaign comittee . Should anyone at Amwell st or elsewhere in the borough directly effected wish to get in touch we are on 02073549630. I hope to speak yo you soon

  63. nick briggs Says:

    I really like the traders of Amwell street. I have known them years and I want to know them for more years to come. They are the cornerstone of this historic community and I would like more small traders rather than less in this neighborhood. Out with this short term greed! It does not benefit the community. And let us remember who did this in the next election. I fully support this protest.

  64. Jason Delf Says:

    I too would like to offer our opposition to the Council’s plans to sell off these properties by “sealed bid”. Our “Chest of Drawers” furniture shop has been operating in Upper Street for over 20 years, part of that parade of shops between the Fire Station and Cross Street. Many of these independent shops now being sold helped to rejuvinate an Upper Street that was much less lively in the 1980′s.

    We would like to endorse the central point – none of us expects favours or discounts from the Council. We just want to know what the market rate is for each sale, and to be given the first opportunity to pay it.

    Each shop caught up in this probably has a loyal customer base in excess of 5,000. We need to bring their combined numerical strength to bear against the councillors who are pushing this through.

    We shall certainly be attending the meeting on Feb 22nd, and would urge others to do so too.

    Well done to Amwell Street for being the first to get organised!

    - Jason Delf
    Chest of Drawers Ltd
    281 Upper Street
    London N1 2TZ

  65. Katrina Smit Says:

    That is so sad that they want to close down the shops on the street – it would lose all it’s charm and vibrance. No way I say. How could they ????

  66. Ramona Simms Says:

    I am fully in support of Council leaseholders being given a fighting chance to buy their freeholds and fully support the residents and businesspeople of Amwell Street in their efforts.

    Please visit our new blog at http://www.islingtonconservatives.blogspot.com, where I have written a post inspired by your ad in the Islington Tribune today.

  67. fiona kelsey Says:

    we moved here a year ago (great percy street) partly because of the delightful shops on amwell street. please dont spoil it

  68. Antonia Till Says:

    This is the perfect community street, with everything from an off license, launderette, flower shop and the wonderful delicatessen to Emma Hope shoes and twentytwentyone. I had hoped to move there (from a gorgeous but huge house in Canonbury Square) in old age, as everything is within zimmer-frame distance. Islington needs many more of these ‘village’ centres, where people can greet each other in shops and just wandering around. But with parking impossible in Highbury (another ‘village’ centre) and in Essex Road round Steve Hatt and the incomparable Real Holidays, and Upper Street succumbing to estate agents, cheesy food chains and nationwide brands, the Council is being really short-sighted. Islington will stop being a desirable place to live if it just becomes a down-market version of everywhwere else. Hang on to the village centres. They’re Islington’s strongest card.

  69. Anthony Robinson Says:

    As a point of national heritage protection it is the democratic duty of the elected members of Islngton Council to listen and follow the wishes of the electorate. Surely, regardless of the SHORT TERM financial conditions within which any council in its term has to operate, it cannot be allowed to make decisions that will, without question, wipe out CENTURIES of London heritage.

    Village life in London is endangered, and is only kept alive by a true belief and support. The fact that we in Amwell St are already fighting as one community surely proves this.

    Make sure you attend the meeting on Feb 22nd…!!

    FIghting for the future of our village AND WINNING may be one of the best things you ever do!

  70. Reg & Pat Wagland Says:

    This is yet another example of the Council’s determination to destroy the community. Every week in the local press we read of the disregard the Council has for the people it is supposed to represent.
    They have sold schools to become luxury housing.
    They are giving the remaining schools to big business.
    The have sold Finsbury Town Hall.
    They have closed Luncheon Clubs for the Elderly.
    They have spent over £21million on consultants in the past five years.
    The list goes on.
    It is pretty clear who the really represent.

  71. Maria Sotiriou Says:

    As a leasholder in St John Street, i strongly oppose the councils plans to sell off a portfolio of commercial property without letting us as tenants have a reasonable chance first. I have invested a significant amount into rejuvinating my premises and consequently bringing individualism and choice to the public, therefore the idea of monopoly businesses being able to over-ride the chances of small businesses continuing to develop and compete in the market i believe is anti-competitive and defeats the idea of a free and equal market. Islington is characterised by its diversity and mixture of both individual and large branded businesses, by allowing large property developers to buy a mass amount of premises without taking into consideration the ability for small businesses to compete against firms with such high capital, is an irresponsible and irrational move on behalf of the council which will entail devastating and adverse effects.

  72. Dale Barter Says:

    I would like to endorse comments made by Anthony Robinson and Jason Delf.

    The Lib Dem Executive stress the importance of consultation. They have made great importance of the need to capitalise on school rebuilding. At no point in any of their consultations; or during the most recent election campaign; did they ask Islington residents if they endorsed the sale of freeholds leased to the uniquely diverse and independent businesses of Islington to one landlord.

    The preferred landlord benefiting from the sale of the 200 leases is a speculative company from outside the communities served by the businesses.

    The Executive feels the commitment and service these businesses have made is best served pitching their individual capabilities against those of a single venture with all the facilities available to such a concern- for example large investment or property development companies.

    Commercial leaseholders are asking for recognition of their contribution to to the sustainability of the many unique communities that make Islington special.

    They are not asking for discount or special consideration. They are asking for an opprortunity to preserve their commitment to the borough in which they have developed their businesses.

    They are asking to equal offers made from speculative interests from outside the borough.

    They are reminding the Executive that best financial value and best community value is served by enabling varied and motivated ownership of commercial premises within the borough.

    Many successful commercial areas in the borough are not owned by the council but they are owned by various landlords. The executive plans to favour the intersts of a conglomerate landlord. The interests of a conglomerate landlord are unlikely to be the same as those of individual businesses that contribute a to a vibrant,varied and sustainable community.

    Make your views known at the meeting; Islington Town Hall, Meeting Room 1, 22/02/07 at 7 PM.

    Fighting for the future of your village and many others in Islington maybe the best things you ever do.

  73. Annie Sturge Says:

    I have lived on Amwell Street for four years and am upset to learn that the unique array of shops and businesses that first attracted me to the area are now under threat.

    The encroachment by the usual suspects is already well under way on nearby Exmouth Market (Starbucks, Subway, Cafe Nero etc) and I wholeheartedly support the campaign to protect Amwell Street from a similar fate.

  74. Margaret Lamont Says:

    The North Area Committee meeting will be held in the postgraduate Lecture Theatre, Holborn Building, Archway Campus, Highgate Hill, N19 5Lh at 7.30pm on Tuesday 13 February – Andrew Cornwell should be in attendance as he represents St George’s Ward in this area. There is an opportunity to ask questions of the Councillors at this meeting. All those affected by the commercial portfolio sale and other interested people should attend in an attempt to clarify the reasons behind the sale and obtain answers to questions with regard to the method of the sale and any other issues that concern you. If we do not turn out for these meetings the Councillors will think we are not concerned about the future of our properties and our businesses.

    The Overview Committee meeting at the Town Hall on Thursday 15 February at 7.30pm will include discussion about the budget which the sale of our properties will fund.

  75. Tessa Charlton Says:

    Amwell Street is unique, I really hope that we can save the Street from being developed unsympathetically by ‘chains’. I have lived in this “village” for nearly 29 years and have written to the councillors to ask that current local businesses be supported to continue providing their good services in this special and beautiful street.

  76. dan phillips Says:

    As a local business whose building has already been sold to a developer i agree with this. please stop them from selling to any old developer

  77. christine dean Says:

    I am really disgusted with the council and their plans to sell off local shops. I have lived in Islington all my life and have seen the Islington way of life slowly eroded by council sell off’s. I have to travel miles to visit people who used to be my neighbours and now I will probably have to travel miles to do my shopping. As I face the prospect of losing both the garages near me, I do not know how I will manage to get my car fixed!

  78. Fiona Mason Says:

    Local people and traders should have a voice regarding the council’s proposals. I strongly support the campaign to preserve the character and nature of the area.

  79. Gary Lincoln Says:

    I feel very upset with the way lslington council is dealing with the sale of these
    properties, Diverse has been a tenant in Upper St. for over twenty years. The shop was the first independent clothing shop on the street and having struggled through the lows of the late 80′s when many businesses came and went we now find ourselves surrounded by many cash rich chain stores who pay over the top rents to be near us and to feed off our customers.
    l have approached lslington council a few times over the past two years to enquire about the purchase of the property as have many other lease holders. l know that if the businesses in the same position as Diverse do not get a fair
    opportunity to buy the premises and subsequently have to pay inflated rents it will be the end of small independent shops in lslington, SAD!
    l don’t expect favouritism just because l have paid the council many hundreds of thousands of pounds in rent over the past years but just a fair chance to secure the future of my Islington’s individuality and diversity.

  80. Caroline Blainey Says:

    I support any campaign to preserve Islingtons originality, it has already changed so much over the last few years, lets not ruin such a fun eclectic place beyond recognition.

  81. Peter Campbell Says:

    Amwell Street is a lovely thoroughfare and a joy to walk.

    I am not an Islington resident but I have great sympathy to those who find their homes and businesses effectively handed over to property speculators.

  82. Francois Smit Says:

    Amwell has a character of its own and our council should be fighting to retain it – not to sell it off at any cost. It has a duty to respresent its residents and constituents interests and not those of property developers. This council has got a reputation if flogging off all its assets, no matter what the cost to local communities

  83. Francois Smit Says:

    Amwell has a character of its own and our council should be fighting to retain it – not to sell it off at any cost. It has a duty to respresent its residents and constituents interests and not those of property developers. This council has got a reputation of flogging off all its assets, no matter what the cost to local communities

  84. Francois Smit Says:

    Amwell has a character of its own and our councilors should be fighting to retain it – not to sell it off at any cost. It has a duty to respresent its residents and constituents interests, not those of property developers. This council has got a reputation of flogging off all its assets, no matter what the cost to local communities. Let’s hope they don’t do similar damage in Amwell Street.

  85. Chris Tryhorn Says:

    As a local resident, I will be sorry to see the street changed. It is a pleasant home for thriving, cherished local businesses and an antidote to the tedious uniformity of so many London streets.

    But the bigger point here is that councils should act in the interests of the residents of the borough. They should not be trying to make a quick buck just because they have failed to balance their books. The council’s intention to override the obvious local wish to retain the Amwell Street shops as they are is shabby and deplorable.

  86. Clare Flowers Says:

    I live off Amwell Street and am appalled at what the council wants to do to a lovely, historic street where the shops and businesses enhance life in the area for everyone, both residents and passers-through. But I’m not surprised either. With cavalier disregard for the effects on people’s lives, Islington Council is milking every opportunity to capitalise on its property holdings — especially those that involve small businesses and individuals. I see its plan to sell off leases in Amwell Street as an extension of the policy of recharging leaseholder residents for refurbishing buildings neglected for decades: less traumatic, possibly, for former tenants who bought under right-to-buy but impossible for people, like me, who bought homes on the open market from right-to-buyers lucky enough to reap massive benefits. I have a bill for £28,000. which I can’t afford to pay. Others have bills for £30-£40,000. We leaseholders are, like the Amwell Street traders, fighting it. During meetings with some councillors, we have been struck by their apparent lack of empathy and virtual admission that they are keen to use leaseholders as a cash cow where possible. Wishing all traders in the street the best of luck.

  87. steve baker Says:

    The council may be right in saying that being a commercial landlord isnt the best use of their time, but that doesnt mean they should just sell off property with no thought or provision for local established businesses and the community they serve.
    If teh council are committed to this policy then they should, so that they fulfill their obligations to the community, ensure that either:
    (a) established business are given the opportunity to purchase their properties at a rate that reflects their comittment to the comunity and the value that lies therin
    (b) conditions are attached to thesale of properties with existing businesses that would provide a structured faremwork for calculating rents and rent increases for a given period (say 5 years) to ensure that local businesses are not driven out and replaced by chains and chains of starbucks andthe like

    Amwell st benefits greatly from its independent character and it is the councils obligation to ensure that this is protected duringa nd after any property sale.

  88. Helen Warner Says:

    I work in Farringdon and travel through Amwell street on my way to and from work everyday. I use the dry cleaners, the butchers, the deli and the chemist there – all of whom offer friendly and competent service. Areas like these add so much character to London and are what make it a really special city to live in.

  89. Julie Remington Says:

    Amwell Street is at the heart of the local community, a street with a unique character. The shop keepers are not just traders they become friends. Why does the council disregard the views of local people! SAVE OUR SHOPS!

  90. Robin Richardson Says:

    My wife and I recently moved back to the area which we remember from the 1970′s. There have been lots of improvements since then. However the prospect of seeing of rows of abandonned and boarded up shops in those wonderful Amwell Street buildings is intensely depressing. Surely it’s the job of any council to encourage existing businesses to flourish and to resist anything that’s detrimental to the local community and environment!

  91. Alison Wearne & Ian Walker Says:

    We visit Amwell Street regularly, especially for the vet, Dale Barter, without whom our pets would certainly not all still be with us.
    We also regularly use the laundry and other shops and services on the street.
    It would be disastrous to us and to the area if these were lost and we are very much against the council’s high-handed approach and disregard for the local community.

  92. Tim Clark Says:

    I wrote recently into the Tribune on this unfortunate demise. A number of things spring quickly to mind. The first being how many of us living within the Amwell`tri-angel are so used to our local shops. We might not all know one another ,but there is a familiarity about the place that goes back in fact many years. Unfortunately I believe this is in someway at the root of the problem. Certainly those who might have `bought in` or arrived recently and, unfortunately their elected councillors, who live here are prepared to ignore this vital factor. Some do not feel much sympathy with a `local community. Apart from a spurious idea of financial gain I believe the Liberal Democrat executive group who finialised this `sale are not at all truly representative of local peoples ideals or aspirations. I am hoping to put more focus into aspects of this `deal and am sure MP Emily Thornbury and Labour councillors will do so as well.
    sincerely
    Tim Clark (Chair Clerkenwell ward labour Group)

  93. Lucy Newham Says:

    I am or rather my cat is a long time client of Doctor Dale the vet and we do not want to see his business have any trouble.

    I have bought shoes at Emma Hope’s sale shop.

    I use the newsagent when passing like everyone else.

    I like looking in the windows of the bookshop and others I daren’t go into with toddlers.

    We old time residents of Islington like our special local areas and I expect the newcoming residents do too.

    What with the disastrous destruction of the Camden Passage Antiques market, soon Islington’s shopping streets will be the same as every other moneyed high street in London.

    When you have a little bit of magic somewhere it is worth fighting for.

  94. Tony Cunningham Says:

    I would just like to say that the comments here are fantastic and I hope the Liberal Democrat Councillors responsible for this sell off are taking the comments on board. Having attended meetings where the councillors and council officers have stated their case it becomes apparent that very little resources have been applied to impact studies of what will be the short, mid and long term effects to the Islington communities affected.

    Points have been raised as to what has happened to the existing tenants of previous council portfolio sales in areas such as Rosebury Avenue, Clerkenwell Green, Old Street and in parts of Hackney such as Broadway market. Surely these examples offer a perfect opportunity to study the effects and yet little seems to be known (by the Council) about the problems the businesses and residents have faced under private ownership.

    I have only heard negative stories of independent businesses facing 300-500% rent increase and high service charge demands or eviction due to site redevelopment.

    Time and time again we have been told by the Liberal Democrat councillors that nothing will change and our leases will continue to function and we or the community will not suffer as a result. What will happen after are leases expire is less clear.

    Would Council representatives please publish their impact studies of why this will not happen with this portfolio sale. Or what measures they have put in place to prevent unreasonable rent demands or how they propose to block eviction of tenants due to redevelopment.

    Alternately maybe they would be prepared to renegotiate our leases in advance of the sale to lengthen the term and fix the rent increases at a level which is sustainable.

    It would be fantastic if they would join the debate here and comment on the amwell traders blog site.

    If the sale goes ahead the people responsible need to carry the burden of this decison through their political career. Lets revisit Amwell Street in 3, 5 and 10 years from now and hope that the comments made on this site are ill-founded, sadly somehow I doubt this will be the case and the councillors and council should be accountable.

    DO THE RIGHT THING let the developer’s submit their bids but then give the leaseholders the opportunity to match bid. At the very least we will get more of a spread of ownership which has got to offer the diversity Londoner’s crave.

  95. Michelle Doughty Says:

    Part of the charm of Amwell Street is that it hasn’t succumbed to the ghastly homogenization of all high streets in London. It’s nice to have little shops you can go to without having to push your way through all the crowds in Sainsbury’s or Tesco. It creates a sense of community. There are so many terribly neglected residential properties that it could be selling off in purely residential roads. Surely it should place priority on those first!

  96. Jonathan Monro Says:

    The sale of Amwell Street would be a great step backwards in the area, and could have terrible consequences for the entire nature of the neighborhood.
    Amwell Street is a truly unique place, and one of the few ‘villages’ in London. The standard of the shops is quite remarkable, both in quality of service and produce, and in the efforts they go to to serve the local community.
    To hand the area to developers could see many of these businesses have to close, and could see the area lose its character and soul.
    One of the great things about the area around Amwell Street is that, while being at the heart of London, it maintains a unique and authentic local character, untouched by the larger brands or companies. If a developer were to take over the street, I suspect the temptation to sell out to the larger businesses and manufacturers, in favour of more money, would be to great to resist.

  97. Ann Addison Says:

    I am a local resident, and we all use and support the shops and businesses in Amwell Street.

    The area is a significant part of the local community and its culture and history, and many of the traders have been there for years. It would be a real shame to lose any one of them due to the proposed sale of the properties, and in my view they should receive preferential treatment from the Council.

    No one locally wants the kind of redevelopment that would result in larger faceless businesses moving in and the local character being lost.

  98. Mary Says:

    Save Amwell Street!

  99. Bruce Brand Says:

    If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!

    Since when has ‘serving’ the community meant ‘selling’ the community?
    Damn the wallets of these money-grabbing ‘councillors’ and their developer chums.
    Borough Market’s currently in the same predicament. Is there no stopping these idiots?

  100. Andrew Bennett Says:

    Do we really have to homegenise the whole of Britain? Do we have to become one big Tesco?

  101. Bob Whittaker Says:

    Time and time again in communities just down the street or around the globe one can see the collateral damage of money hungry developers who’s tainted and seemingly limitless dollars influence local politicians and cause the runaway gentrification of our delicate neighborhoods.

    Its a sad day indeed when colorful communities with such distinct charms as Armwell have to scramble to be recognized for their intrinsic and vital merits to what is undoubtedly a much larger picture.

    See you on the barricades!

    Bob Whittaker

  102. glyn savage Says:

    save amwell street

  103. neal whittington Says:

    We should treasure this pocket of independent retailers and not repeat what exists up the road along upper st.
    I hope that in years to come developers will regret the terribles changes they are making to the city, we should be proud of the character of the area and retain it as much as possible. How many starbucks/tescos/pizza expresses/nandos/costas etc etc etc do we need?
    Please leave Amwell alone. SHOP LOCAL! SHOP LOCAL!

  104. neal whittington Says:

    We should treasure this pocket of independent retailers and not repeat what exists up the road along upper st.
    I hope that in years to come developers will regret the terribles changes they are making to the city, we should be proud of the character of the area and retain it as much as possible. How many starbucks/tescos/pizza expresses/nandos/costas etc etc etc do we need?
    Please leave Amwell alone. SHOP LOCAL! SHOP LOCAL!

  105. neal whittington Says:

    We should treasure this pocket of independent retailers and not repeat what exists up the road along upper st.
    I hope that in years to come developers will regret the terribles changes they are making to the city, we should be proud of the character of the area and retain it as much as possible. How many starbucks/tescos/pizza expresses/nandos/costas etc etc etc do we need?
    Please leave Amwell alone. SHOP LOCAL! SHOP LOCAL!

  106. Alex Yazdan Says:

    Having had a father who had a lease on a deli business that he built up from scratch and was then in the position of having to buy the freehold or face a doubling of rent, I can fully sympathise with all these traders. Thankfully for my father and our family he had a contractual option on his lease so it meant he just had to raise the money although that was tough in itself and very stressful rather than raise the money and then find out you have been outbid by UK Corporate Ltd that has endless equity to throw at commercial leases. These are very stressful times for people like this and I hope that the council sees sense and stops just looking at the maximum profit and finds some way of preserving traders like these. If they don’t we will be left with a desert of chain stores which nobody will go to Amwell St to shop at because that’s not the reason people go to Amwell St. But also these people will be left with nothing for their life’s work which is wrong and will come home to roost even if it is not immediate. The fabric of London cannot take such a sustained attack on a daily basis.

  107. Natascha Gewaltig Says:

    I’ve seen Starbucks moving into Lambs Conduit Street and its a crime to let chains take over the bit of local life that still exists within the congestion zone

  108. John Rogers Says:

    Destroying the spirit of Amwell Street would be a crime. It might be worth emphasising the belief that Amwell Street is on one of London Ancient Sites – Penton Mound. I know this might sound a bit esoteric, but there is a book “Prehistoric London, Its Mounds and Circles” by E.O Gordon (1912) that sets out the case. Iain Sincliar also writes about it in his excellent books “London Orbital” and “Lights Out For the Territory”.

  109. alison Says:

    We love Amwell Street precsiely for its small trader charm. The idea of a ubiquitous Starbucks moving in is just too much. Please keep us posted on what we can do?

    Alison & Alex

  110. Gary Deering Says:

    Can nothing be left alone,can we not leave something for our kids to enjoy the way that we did.Our children will soon grow up thinking like is just glass & steel, not people.

  111. Istvanski Says:

    How dare the council try and sell off a portfolio of property in the Amwell Street Area? Are they not aware of the lives and businesses that will be disrupted by doing so?

  112. Marta Rodriguez Says:

    Just moved in to this area and I love it. We are so close to the city centre but at the same time it feels like we live in a little village with a great community, which certainly makes life in London more pleasant, away from stressed people pushing you everywhere!.
    I do hope the council is fair and do not destroy the current variety of independent traders. If anything, they should encourage more small shops to be opened!.
    It is very sad this is happening, all of us are fed up of having these big chains of restaurants, coffee shops invading all the streets of London!. Please let us know if we can do anything to help! apart from keeping shopping locally!!

  113. Jim Bishop Says:

    Diecisions like yours are destroying the country that nurtured you. Be it on your own head.

  114. Anthony & Sharon Relph Says:

    The Council is mistaken if it thinks most businesses present at the meeting on 30th January voted in favour of open auction. The choice between sealed bids or auction was hardly fair and the latter only the lesser of two evils – we certainly did not vote for this dangerous option because we could end up in a worse position. Only a smattering of hands was raised while the majority of us sat in confusion – unfortunately Councillor Cornwell seized on this small show as evidence.
    The Lib Dems’ obstinacy and refusal to answer questions was bewildering and offered a depressing insight into local government. The whole evening would have ended as farcically as it begun, were it not for Dale Barter’s commitment, Professor Purdue’s insistence and the Labour Councillors’ common sense. How can Councillor Cornwell say with impunity that nobody’s situation will be affected when in reality over 200 families face uncertainty and upheaval? To add insult to injury, he brushed aside our fears as ‘scare mongering’. Yes, we’re scared – we now face the prospect of bidding for our livelihoods at auction!
    What exactly is an ‘open auction’ and what chance do small traders have against large corporations in a bidding war? If the Council sells properties piecemeal, our unity will be fragmented as we may be subject to various landlords – at least at the moment there is safety in numbers and a strong sense of community. Speaking of which, as residents and ratepayers of Islington Council, why shouldn’t we have an advantage? We have been told that we are being given an equal opportunity to buy, which increasingly appears to be untrue. Surely, having spent time and effort maintaining these buildings and businesses, we are more deserving than anyone else? Many of us have demonstrated that we are eager to purchase our properties – what is the problem with the Council letting us know their valuation? Why not allow a third party surveyor to value the properties and allow us to bid accordingly?
    When we commenced our lease at 59 Amwell Street in 2000, the property had been vacant and neglected for over five years – water ran throughout, leading to dry and wet rot. It was close to being registered ‘at risk’ so we undertook a huge restoration project (some would say labour of love). In respect of doing this work we have received a rent-free period, but nowhere near the amount actually spent. We have invested so much time, money, energy and emotion into restoring the property in the belief that the Council would continue to be our landlord.
    Within two years of taking occupancy we were almost auctioned off – my husband and I were shocked to receive notice of barely six weeks, outlining the Council’s intentions. We called their representative, an auctioneer employed by the Council, who assured us that auctions were “nothing to fear” and suggested we bid for our own property. Our lives became extremely stressful over the following few weeks as we attempted to raise the necessary finance in a short space of time. We spent £1,500 on a survey and mortgage arrangements only to be told that the Council had changed their mind.
    The decision was overturned largely thanks to David John of the Council’s conservation department, who has supported us throughout the renovation of our property. He said that we had advanced the cause of conservation by twenty years and our efforts were exemplary. He added that the Council shouldn’t be acting like an estate agent. We do understand that the Council no longer wants to maintain a role as commercial landlord but are worried that yet again it has employed an auctioneer to act as its agent and advisor… the threat hangs over us again.
    We find it hard to believe that we’ll have the same rights if our properties are sold to a private landlord – the Lib Dems are giving out platitudes, not guarantees. It seems that we have all helped to make the area more desirable, possibly to our own detriment. It has not gone unnoticed that the Council is finally undertaking much neglected work on other properties in Amwell Street – we wonder if they are having to adhere to the same strict regulations that we were correctly obliged to comply with.
    We’re also just as supportive of the Council’s plans to inject money into new schools (rather than selling them off!) but argue that selling the properties directly to us can raise it. We are also curious as to how much of the revenue will be directed into the pension fund and expensive consultancy fees. Someone, somewhere, will be making a lot of money out of this deal… it will be interesting to note the auctioneer’s fees on £45 million and what contacts led to such outside interest in the first place.
    We are grateful for the phenomenal support from people who live in the vicinity of Amwell Street and use its resources, particularly the Amwell Society who care so much and speak such sense… they know that the area’s unique qualities will be lost forever. We urge the Council to pay attention to the tidal wave of opinion and follow the example of other enlightened boroughs who are fighting to save their local shops – let Hackney Council’s disastrous sell-off be a lesson and warning.

  115. Diane Ridley Says:

    I stumbled across Amwell St when it was part of my cycle route when I worked in Islington a couple of years ago. One of London’s hidden gems which force you to get off and have a look round!

    As somebody with Welsh roots, I was particularly taken with the old Welsh dairy on one of the corners – the last in London, I read later.

    This is exactly the kind of area that is disappearing all over London and gives it its character. Lets keep it.

  116. Storm Theunissen Says:

    We really do need to keep Amwell Street as it is. A sell off would be a disaster and we don’t want it to become a bland high street that is so familiar a sight in most parts of London

  117. Cllr Richard Greening Says:

    The Lib Dems have done a U-turn. At the meeting on 30th January, we were told that it was illegal to offer existing occupants the properties at the price established through the closed bidding process. A few hours before Thursday night’s meeting for those affected by the sell-off, they issued a press release (reproduced below) reversing this position.

    Andy Jennings attended the meeting and answered questions on the process. All occupants who have registered an interest with the council by 2nd March will now be given an option to purchase their properties at the same price contained in the winning (i.e. highest) bid for the portfolio. (Each bidder has to give an individual price for each property.)

    This means it is very important for occupants to register an interest before 2nd March, since they will not otherwise be offered an opportunity to purchase. Although the concession by the Lib Dems was welcomed, the 300 or so people who attended expressed concern about other aspects of the process which the council is now proposing. For example, the need to register an interest and provide evidence of financial standing prior to being told the asking price.

    The Labour opposition will be proposing a motion at the council meeting on Tuesday 27th February to call for a number of changes to the process. This will include extending the time for occupants to complete once they have been notified of the price for their premises.

    The Lib Dem leadership has changed its position because of the amount of pressure put on Lib Dem councillors. More changes are needed to create a level playing field and there will be a further opportunity to lobby councillors on their way into the council meeting on Tuesday. We hope as many of you as possible will be able to come to the Town Hall on Tuesday evening from 6:45pm.

    We will also be presenting the petition at that meeting.

    Here is the text of the press release issued by LBI on 22nd February:

    Islington Council has listened to local traders and reached a decision on how it will sell a portfolio of commercial property.

    Cllr Andrew Cornwell, Executive Member for Finance, Islington Council, said: “Most local people understand why the council is selling these properties. We want to give businesses the opportunity to buy, and in doing so release council money that is currently tied up in property to improve local services. We don’t believe, as a local authority, we are here to manage commercial properties like shops. The sale will help pay for schools, housing and other regeneration projects that benefit the people who live and work in Islington.

    “As we expected, many of the businesses occupying these commercial properties at the moment have told us they have aspirations to own their own premises. At a meeting of the council’s Overview Committee on 30 January, they raised some issues about the way the council was proposing to sell them, and we promised to look again at the method of sale.

    “We’ve listened to local traders, and taken on board their concerns about they way we were going to sell the properties. That’s why we will be giving traders and other organisations, and individuals who occupy these premises, the opportunity to match the price established through the portfolio bidding process.

    “As before, if some occupiers don’t want to buy their premises and would prefer to stay a tenant, they are free to do so and their existing rights to occupy won’t be affected. A sale to a third party won’t affect their position because the terms of their existing lease will continue to apply.

    “We have written to all occupiers today (22 February 2007) to let them know about the change in the way we’re selling these properties. We’ll continue to keep them informed throughout the process.”

    ENDS

    For more information on this statement please contact Susie Rundle on 0202 7527 3376.

  118. Shaun Berry Says:

    I support any campaign to preserve Islingtons originality, it has already changed so much over the last few years, lets not ruin such a fun eclectic place beyond recognition.

  119. Octavius Murray Says:

    Amwell Street feels like so much more of a community than much of the rest of Islington, exactly because it has that friendly mix of shops and homes. At a time when the government is concerned about the breakdown of communities, isn’t this something that is worth protecting?

  120. Tom Lawrence Says:

    In these times of the Tesco monopoly we should be doing everything we can to support local communities and local business. The small businesses within the Amwell Street area add a great deal to the locality and form a vital part of this community.

    Please ensure they can continue to do so.

  121. Colin Rennie Says:

    We must retain the vitality and individuality of our local streets. Local shops bring so much to local communities. They become part of it. The shopkeepers are our friends. They care for us and we care for them. We don’t want unfriendly and faceless streets.

  122. katie croxson Says:

    the sense of amwell street is all about what makes islington special, and attractive- if the council allow this to be ruined and replaced just like the horrendous angel complex those who pay a premia to live here will have no choice but to leave.

  123. Huw Morgan Says:

    Tenants and Leaseholders meeting on Islington Council’s Property Sell – Off – Meeting of 22 February 2007, Islington Town Hall

    Meeting was chaired by Richard Greening – Deputy Leader of Islington Labour Group
    Attendees included Councillor Katie Dawson, Islington Green Party, Representatives of Islington Gazette and approximately 250 individuals

    A committee was formed with members as follows -

    Dale Barter, Amwell Street – Chair
    Huw Morgan, upper Street, Secretary
    Zaffar Moughal, Central Street
    Pat Murray, Junction Road
    Jason Delf, Upper Street

    Key concerns raised by current tenants and leaseholders -

    1) Opposition to the sale – attendees and committee agreed that the sale should be opposed on the grounds of unfairness to tenants who cannot afford to purchase their properties

    2) The deadline of 2nd March whereby tenants must express an interest to purchase should be moved to a later date

    3) Tenants and leaseholders should be given an extension from 3 months to 4 months to allow finances to be in place

    4) Tenants and leaseholders should be given the option of forgoing the letter confirming financial ability from bank or financial advisor

    5) All tenants and leaseholders should express an interest in purchase their properties using a template letter that will be sent to them by the Islington Labour Group

    6) Tenants and leaseholders expressed concern regarding the suitability of Dunlop Hayward in overseeing the sale of these properties

    The above concerns will be raised by Richard Greening and Islington Labour Group at the Executive Committee Meeting on 27 February 2007 who will also present a petition on behalf of tenants and leaseholders

    Contact for Labour Group – Laura Clark 020 7527 3389

  124. Chris Turner Says:

    I support the retention of local communities and local facilities to maintain them. The N1 Centre is fine, but it doesn’t need to be duplicated everywhere. Let’s retain some distinctive shops and services that benefit a much wider area than just the immediate vicinity.

  125. Steve Sanderson Says:

    If this goes ahead Islington will no dout become another clone of a uk high st, big names and chain stores. KEEP IT LOCAL, KEEP IT INDEPENDENT.

    Don’t sell off OUR shops.

    Steve Sanderson N5

  126. Mark Says:

    Hi. here is the first instalment of the video which was filmed by my friend luther! It’s Dale. More to come….

  127. Huw Morgan Says:

    A meeting of the Islington Traders Group was held at theTown Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 15th March.

    Over 140 people attended, present were Cllr Richard Greening ,deputy leader of the Labour Group, Andy Jennings council officer in charge of the portfolio sale and the ITG committee.

    Andy Jennings apologised for the incorrect letters sent to some leaseholders regarding the time frame for the sale, a correct one will be drafted and sent to all
    Mr Jennings then took questions, among Issues raised were;

    Due to concern over Dunlop Haywards in light of the pending fraud trial and peoples far from satisfactory direct dealings with them,
    It was proposed that any letters concerning financial ability be sent directly to the council , over 60% of those present were in favour. Mr Jennings agreed to this.

    As to the content,what kind of letter regarding financial suitability would be acceptable?
    One from a Bank Manager, finance house or mortgage broker from a reputable firm, confirming your ability to fund the loan ,equity held in other property or other relevant information,it is our understanding that this letter needs to have only the most basic references and not details of a personal financial nature.

    It came to light that wildly differing valuations on identical properties have been submitted by Dunlop Haywards in, amongst other places,
    Amwell St. Lever St, Essex Rd and St Johns St.
    This issue is of great concern to the ITG and we implore anyone with a similar case to tell us at dbzorg@aol.com .

    Another very grave concern uncovered was the matter of rent reviews, currently being dealt,or not being dealt with by Dunlop Haywards.
    Any property with an unresolved review in place will have an enhanced value to any potential purchaser, and leaseholders will then have to negotiate their rent with them. In conclusion any reviews not agreed are to everyone’s advantage except the leaseholder.
    we are keen to hear from anyone with an unresolved review,and if the matter is being badly handled, again please contact us at dbzorg@aol.com .

    Cllr Greening of the Labour Group addressed the meeting to reiterate their opposition to the Sale, and continued support to leaseholders affected

    Finally Mr. Mick Hyde of Nat West Bank spoke on the subject of the letter that has to be sent to the council by 30th March.
    He offered to furnish a suitable letter regardless of whether one is a customer of Nat West at a cost of £250, proof of financial capability would be required.

  128. Steve Wagland Says:

    We have too many cloned franchises already at the Angel. Amwell Street is unique and serves the community. That’s the way we want to keep it.

  129. Dale Barter Says:

    A response is pending from the Council on the suitability of a letter of reference I have received from the my bank. If I receive confirmation that the format is acceptable, a sample will be posted on this site.

    As of 18 March the replacement letter and correct timetable has not been received from Dunlop Hayward. It will confirm that the letter from your bank or financial institution must be with them by Noon on the 30 March 2007 or you will not be able to proceed to the next stage of the sale process.

  130. Roger Dean and Penny Farrar Says:

    I am strongly opposed to the selling off of the shops within the council’s portfolio but if it has to be done then it is essential that the current tenants be allowed first refusal to buy and that for those unable to purchase then some form of assistance be offered (maybe shared ownership?). The french have a word for encroachment by the chain stores they call it Londonisation – we should make every effort to keep the few areas left in London that still have a diversity of small individual shops.

  131. Mrs Lee Hering Says:

    Having attended various meetings ,as well as the most recent one ,at the town hall, we in Arlington Way were a little unsure as to where ,and who, we now send confirmation of available finances to,please confirm

  132. Laura Domzizoo Says:

    Islington residents need the small shops on Amwell Street.
    Anything that puts this vital alternative to the big chains stores on Upper Street in danger is short-sighted and foolish.

  133. Kirsten Leslie Says:

    I am a New Zealander who has lived in London for three years. Amwell Street is one of the few places in London that still has that amazing original character to it which has all but gone from most parts of London. Places like Amwell Street are what make London unique and give us a glance into the history of the historic and grand city that is London. All over England it is disappointing to see the predominance of chain shopping – it is one thing that detracts from London. Indeed, the homogenous nature of shopping here is an area in which other places around the world far surpass London. To run the risk of Amwell Street being bought out by developers and becoming like every other high street is criminal. The businesses on Amwell Street should be given first right of refusal.
    Londoners – you have an amazing city absolutely overflowing with history. Don’t be shortsighted, you shoud be preserving your history rather than destroying it.

  134. Helen Rhodes Says:

    The independent shops on & around Amwell Street are a massive asset. As an Islington resident I urge the council not to jeopardise that.

  135. Nikki Jecks Says:

    The local, small shops in Islington are what gives it its unique and special character. Please don’t turn Islington into one big strip mall full of generic chain stores and cafes. We must fight this decision by the council and keep our community alive.

  136. Kathryn Whitfield Says:

    I am horrified by the council’s continuing sale of public assets!!!! I don’t know why it feels the need to be so greedy. What is it doing with all the money it is making? I would urge the coucil to stop being so short sighted. Long after they have been voted out of office, the errors they have made (such as the closure of Angel school, the ale of the barnsubry complex etc) will still be with us. What makes Islington such a great place to live are places like these small shops – filled with character and interest; places that make a borough a community.

  137. Clare McCaldin Says:

    Amwell St is a charming and special asset to the immediate community, precisely because it is not like every other high street in London. If we want chain stores and fast food we can go to Upper St but let’s preserve what character and diversity we have in the borough rather than homogenise everything. While i applaud the Council’s commitment to improvements in transport and housing I question the decision that this is an appropriate way to fund these activities. Any gains will most certainly be compromised by what will have been lost and it seems that there has been minimal consultation and right of reply for shopowners whose businesses are now threatened with closure. Surely there must be a way to preserve what is unique to Amwell St rather than simply pursuing the fast buck?

  138. Denis McCaldin Says:

    What makes Islington a place of quality and character are these small shops – staffed by neighbourly people who understand the richness of livingand working in a true community. I urge the council to think again; once such precious assets have gone, they cannot be replaced.

  139. Darren Abrahams Says:

    Part of what makes this part of London so special and such a nice place to live, is that it still retains a local character. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!

  140. Jane Leek Says:

    I used to live on Great Percy Street and I love the character of the area, it is short sighted of the council to fund development in this way. I now live near Greenwich and the town centre there is dying thanks to mini versions of large stores M&S, Suerdrug etc, Weatherspoons, MacDonalds, short let and vacant shops, all because the rents are so high the independent shop keepers are driven out. Please don’t let Amwell Street go the way of Greenwich. Give local businesses a chance!

  141. Hattie Grylls Says:

    Do we really want another boring road filled with starbucks and costas and tescos?!? Every street is now a clone of another one! We have enough of them! We don’t have enough of streets like this in London actually – we need more not less!

  142. Nikhita J Says:

    Quite right – NO MORE CLONE STREETS! We are not America so don’t try to turn us into it. Another starbucks would be a waste of space – i swear that every single person living in the United Kingdom is walking distance from a starbucks. And the same for McDonalds and Tescos!

  143. Huw Morgan Says:

    There was a meeting of the ITG this evening Tuesday 1st May 2007 at Islington Town Hall

    In attendance: Cllr Greening, Hugh Robertson QC, members of the ITG committee and over 50 leaseholders.

    Andrew Cornwell was invited but declined.

    Chair: Dale Barter

    Hugh Robertson QC of Irwin Mitchell and two colleagues attended the meeting to introduce themselves and outlined what could be achieved within the legal framework. Irwin Mitchell employs 300,000 people nationally and has a strong background in the areas of human rights and property.

    The ITG was keen to set up a Fighting Fund with Irwin Mitchell to finance any action the ITG wish to take against Islington Council in the future. This was put to the vote and was carried by an overwhelming majority. In order to finance the Fighting Fund Irwin Mitchell and the ITG felt a donation of £200 from each leaseholder would be appropriate. Some leaseholders have already contributed but it is imperative that we all make this contribution.

    To make your payment go to Irwin Mitchell offices at 150 Holborn London EC1 by Friday 11 May at the latest. Please take with you a form of ID (Passport or Driving Licence) and proof of address. The matter is being dealt with by Adam Love or Patricia Paton at Irwin Mitchell.

    In order to challenge the council with the support of Irwin Mitchell we must all act promptly as time is not on our side.

    Concerns where immediately raised about the proposed legal costs the council wish to levy. All leaseholders purchasing their premises will have to pay the council’s legal costs of a huge 1.75% of the purchase price which seems unreasonable. Hugh Robertson agreed strongly and will challenge immediately.

    The ITG were finally allowed to have copies of the Sale Portfolio. Discrepancies were found in details pertaining to many of the properties including incorrect rental values, outstanding rent reviews and no details on restricted use all of which can only enhance the value of the portfolio in the eyes of investors.

    Should there be an error pertaining to your property it is imperative that you inform the ITG immediately via email to dbzorg@aol.com

    It appears that some leaseholders still have not received their property pack which should have arrived via courier today. Many noted errors within these packs, these errors should be reported to Guy Wallace at Islington Council on 020 7527 6143 or preferably in writing.

    It was announced that 152 leaseholders have had their financial details approved and 5 are still waiting confirmation.

    50% of properties still have outstanding rent reviews, Erinaceous formally Dunlop Hayward appear in no rush to resolve these in the knowledge that an open review can only enhance the value of properties.

    Richard Greening informed the meeting that the District Auditor was looking into the sale process and whether it actually offered best value for the Borough. There is a conflict of interest with the agents Erinaceous who are in charge of rent reviews and lease negotiations while at the same time marketing the portfolio.

    It was agreed that a fundraising event should take place with the aim of attracting further support from local residents, celebrities and the press. Date and venue to be confirmed.

  144. Elena Georgiou Says:

    I have just recently moved to the area and I feel I already feel attached to this street. I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot by selling these off as the area will then turn into another bog standard London neighbourhood. So I add my support to the petition.

  145. Chris Goff Says:

    I too would be sad to see yet more independent retailers disappear only to be replaced by cloned chain outlets. However, if the council is sudsidising these small businesses on Amwell Street by accepting below-market rents, then at some point that burden ought to be switched to those who live in the locality and enjoy the services on offer. If rents need to increase to be aligned with market levels, presumably all Amwell Street’s staunch supporters will happily accept these increased costs being passed on to them in the form of higher prices?

    I support this initiative. The Amwell Street traders ought to be given the opportunity to buy their premises at a fair, market price before any auction is allowed to take place. They should not be disadvantaged by the opaque practice of accepting sealed bids or by the will to sell the whole portfolio to a single party.

  146. Sue Hines Says:

    I was born and grew up in Amwell Street the ‘village’, yes although a Londoner I have always considered I came from a village. I was so lucky to have been raised in this community. I am absolutely HORRIFIED at the Council’s plans. Please please leave it alone. It is unique and needs to stay that way.

  147. Karren Marron Says:

    I’ve lived in London all my life and one of the aspects I’ve always enjoyed most of all is the wonderful mix of smart and shabby, high gloss and down right disreputable and the wonderful chance of discovery that each tucked away back street seemed to offer. Sadly, not any more. As most people who have signed this petition have remarked all London Borough Councils seemed determined to offer us “exciting retail oppurtunities” which allow us to spend our money in all the usual dreary chain shops. I suppose Islington Council is happy at the thought of turning Amwell Street into another identikit street? I should have thought with the extortionate amount of money it makes from parking fines and permits it could afford to subsidise its independant traders.

  148. Anon Says:

    I have been a resident of Amwell Village for 20 years and never cease to be appaled by the continued indifference of Islington Council shows to our community.

    The Amwell St shops were hard hit by council tax rises some years ago and many closed – now this new blight threatens them with conversion to some faceless mediocrity of chain shops.

    Show Islington Council that WE WON’T STAND FOR IT!

    Save out shop, save our neighbourhood.

  149. Alison Dexter Says:

    Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the fundraiser etc @ Filthy Macnastys yesterday, but I hope it went really well.

    Save Amwell Street!

  150. Marietta V. Donovan Says:

    My husband and I used to live in Clerkenwell for many years and shop regularly in Amwell Street. We are very fond of this area (for the various reasons already mentioned by the local residents above) and would hate to see all the local facilities and shops go. Dale Barter was our vet for our cats and we videotaped an interview with him on this issue in March of this year. We have posted it on the internet. Check: http://www.youtube.com/MariettaWorld
    also: http://www.mariettaworld.vox.com
    SAVING AMWELL STREET is currently our main feature, and we believe a little promotion can help your cause.
    Good luck to all the residents, local shop owners and traders in Amwell Street.
    Marietta V. Donovan

  151. Jake Ridley Says:

    I moved to Islington a couple of years ago, attracted to the area by the mix of shops, restaurants and people. Islington council’s actions over this matter are grossly short sighted – looking for a quick cash hit with little or no regard for community or the shop owners themselves. We don’t need any more global franchises.

  152. Melanie Potro Says:

    Islington Council has already sold the building I am based in (Clerkenwell Green Association) and it has affected over 100 businesses.
    I hope Amwell Street will be saved. It is beautiful and unique.

  153. Melanie Potro Says:

    Amwell Street is beautiful and unique. Islington’s character has already changed due to the sale of many commercial buildings by the council. I don’t think residents are looking for another supermarket and clothing chain along their road.

  154. Konni Says:

    I have recently been “priced out” of the Amwell Street area (rent increase by 200%) and don’t wish that fate to anyone. The street is unique and I hope It can be saved from takeover by the big chains. Good luck to all residents and small businesses!

  155. Nawaz H Says:

    As a former resident of Myddelton Square (no longer living in the area), I am strongly opposed to the council plans which will jeopardise one of the most beautiful corners of London and one of Islington’s best kep secrets, felt almost like living in a village yet in EC1! The dry cleaners, Mydelton deli, newsagents and other independents keep this area unique; please don’t allow this to become an alleyway of Upper Street.

  156. Brutellio Says:

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  157. Tania Says:

    I suport the petition, and am disappointed to hear that the council can be so unfair to the local tennants and businesses who have contributed towards making the community which exists there today.

    They deserve to know the what they’re up against, so they at least have an uphill chance to protect their businesses and residences. They should have at least transparancy.

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  162. marinalewycka Says:

    I often stay in New River Head and I love this area the way it is. It;’s one of the few remaining genuine villages in central London. So many places have been ruined by bland ubiquitous chains which make each part of London seem exactly the same as everywhere else. Keep Amwell St special – and treat your long-term tenants with the respect they deserve.

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