Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
I must say that I'm feeling very positive at the moment about Crouch End town centre.
Almost all the places that have been empty are being worked on (some very slowly it seems!).
It's especially good to see the prominent shop opposite the clocktower that was EE reopened.
Though it was sad to see Rock around the Clock going it's being refurbished to be something - not sure what yet. I'm assuming it will be a shop but I guess they could have applied for change of use for a restaurant. The Mirror Mirror site was sold really quickly too.
On the restaurant front, Qui reopened really quickly as Matthew's Kitchen and something is happening to the fish and chip shop and Pizza Bella.
The flies in the ointment seem to be Bouga (almost as long running as the town hall!) and the huge site of the old KFC, which could be a lovely restaurant.
So reasons to be cheerful!
I'm afraid I feel the opposite! While it IS good to see fewer empty places, I wish we didn't have so many restaurants in Crouch End. We have lost so many shops serving our basic needs. I remember 4 different bookshops in Crouch End, for example, three shoe shops, a wool shop and a fabric shop, a hardware store and 4 greengrocers. Reading about Muswell Hill in this week's Time Out made me realise how much wider the range of shops is up there. Their restaurants may not be so good (?) but we eat to live, not live to eat.
Got to agree with Jacqueline. We have some excellent restaurants,coffee shops, pubs and eateries but we must stop the drift away from retail. It is the shops that drive trade into the area but as the overall retail offering gets more dilute there is a danger that the night time economy will tend to dominate. That wouldn't be good for shops nor would it be good for the locals. It might be nice to have an extra coffee shop but it certainly wouldn't compensate for the loss of a comprehensive shopping centre.
Yes, Niddle Noddle is a lovely shop but we need more shops to serve basic needs as well. I agree with David Winskill about the danger of creating a night time economy at the expense of retail and I suspect that it is because there are more families with young children and affluent young people in Crouch End than there used to be. When I go out in the evening I want to venture further afield so that it feels like a night out but if you are paying babysitters you probably want to stay local.
I don't think we're whinging. I do appreciate Crouch End and as I said, shops like Niddle Noddle are very welcome but I regret the imbalance between eateries and shops. Muswell Hill has two shoe shops, for example, several clothes shops, a Rymans stationers and even a pound shop. Sadly we lack this diversity - we need more than just a bookshop if we are to avoid getting on a bus and going out of the area.
A photographic whistle stop around some of the sites