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I've been going to the car mechanics at MEB on Tottenham Lane (opposite the YMCA) for years. The guys in there are friendly, professional and very good at servicing and fixing my aging car. In fact the customer service in there is so good even my wife likes taking her car there..! - if that doesn't sound too sexist - but seriously, she likes the fact that they don't talk down to her and show her the respect she deserves as a paying customer when she doesn't know if her 'big-end' has gone or her gasket has blown.
Now I find the freeholders of the site want to close them down and develop the site for a block of flats...!
I'm really astonished. I can't believe there is demand for more flats in Crouch End when, across the road, there is a new development of flats which don't seem to have sold a single plot yet... (ok maybe one or two...) but really - its been there over six months and there's little interest. Is there any need for more flats in Crouch End in this economic climate? I don't think so.
What there is a definite need for though is good, thriving, sustainable small businesses. Especially ones that are in short supply like this one. Crouch End thrives on the diversity of it's small business (though there's still a few too many restaurants and cafes for my liking...) but I'd rather have them there employing local people than another block of flats that creates more congestion on school places and local traffic.
When I heard this news, I asked Gerard Naraina, the owner, what he would do if he had to close. His answer was depressing: "Shut up shop and take early retirement - I've looked at other premises, but none are suitable" he said. Gerard employs eight people, all local to Crouch End including three young apprentices to whom he gives a proper training in car mechanics.
I'm really incensed about this and I'm going to write to local councillors and Lynne Featherstone MP to oppose the plans. In fact I'm also writing to the Planning Inspectorate to tell them that this scheme does exactly the opposite of what it's claiming to do, which is enhance the vibrant local community and economy of Crouch End.
The Planning Inspectorate, 3/18 Eagle Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN
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