Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
So it looks like Fat Cat Bistro is no more (bailiff sign in the window this morning - doors locked), a mere month after opening - pretty shocking really.
With Bouga falling apart week by week, the Rocking Chair Cafe remaining empty and work on the "renovated" Honeymoon completely halted, what on earth is going on, food-wise, in that little strip?
Can anyone shed any light on Bouga, Honeymoon and Fat Cat?
Banners, Monkey Nuts and Bar Esteban prove that there's money to be made in the area, but maybe rents are too high for new start ups? If you don't hit the ground running (as Tootoomoo and Esteban did) it looks like your days are numbered.
thanks, your comments were interesting there are too many similar restaurants in Crouch EndBritish restaurants as well as those of international origin like my Turkish friends would, I know, be welcome ( whenever I'm asked my favourite activity, I always immediately reply:eating out)
Very interesting stuff Adam and best of luck with Spa Elements!
So the problem is two-fold?
1. Local landlords charging silly rents thanks to the continuing influx of "big name" businesses
2. OTT business rates being charged by Haringey Council.
Do they really want Crouch End's independent spirit to die? Isn't this what the Crouch End Project was looking into? I wonder how far they got...
Can anything be done to persuade the council to drop business rates? Or will the landlords simply whack up the rent, offsetting any savings? It's really not good for the area - both in terms of ambience and morale. Like many, I moved to Crouch End for its community feel, which (retail wise at least) is being slowly eroded by greed and avarice.
While Banners, Bar Esteban, Urban Flower Co and Bottle Apostle show success can be achieved, there's so many failures it's untrue.
Anyways, sorry to add to the misery, I've just heard that Crouch End institution Rock Around the Clock is closing soon as well.
That leaves the following premises empty on Park Road: Bouga, Pizza Bella, Rocking Chair Cafe, Rock Around the Clock and Fat Cat Cafe.
Seriously demoralizing news. It used to be such a vibrant strip.
Mr Toasty, I tried contacting the Crouch End Project re. this discussion, and they have not bothered coming back to me at all. Or indeed give a reply here. Which makes them a little useless, don't you think? What are they actually doing? What's the point of them? I totally agree with everything else you've said above. I asked about business rather in another discussion, and got a great reply from someone, telling me they're not set by the individual councils, it's a national rate. I have noticed discussions about business rates everywhere, it seems to be a problem for high street businesses across the board. So the government needs to do something. That could take years.. :(
That is sad news about Rock Around the Clock - these are the sorts of businesses that make Crouch End unique and special.
Annette is right that Business Rates are set by central government, but they are collected by the local councils. This means that it is the local council's decision whether or not to collect the business rates. For example, in Croydon the council has decided to give 100% discount to new businesses moving to the borough for the first year.
It would be great if Haringey could follow this example, and give new businesses a discount or holiday from business rates, especially while the new businesses are building up their trade. Would it really be such a big hole in Haringey's finances if they gave new businesses a year without paying business rates?
David Cameron has said that this week that he plans to overhaul the business rates system, but that will clearly take years.
I'm not sure if the Crouch End Project is best placed to sort out the problems facing Park Road and Crouch End retail. These problems require more money and resources than they can provide.
There is an alternative that Haringey Council could consider - they could set up a Business Improvement District (BID). This is an organisation that promotes and acts in the interests of all businesses within a defined area, and it is funded by a small additional levy on the Business Rates. It can organise extra cleaning, extra security, organise promotions, advertising and events all to improve the local shopping area. There are currently about 30 BIDs in London.
I wonder if the councillor, Mr Winskill could comment on whether Haringey have considered any BIDs?
can we invite all 3 Crouch End councillors to comment on a BID? we are urged to 'shop local' but the variety is diminishing Sally M
Adam is right that business rates are set by local councils but they have no option on whether to collect them: it is a statutory duty. They do have some discretion about new businesses but if they don't collect rates then money is taken away from the grants that Local Authorities receive from central government.
The question of a BID (now quite an old idea) has been brought up from time to time but is not something that Councils can set up by themselves: it must be set in response to the businesses themselves and they (the businesses) must agree to pay an additional levy. There is a good explanation of this here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_improvement_district . . the response of local businesses to the idea has been little more than luke warm.
My personal view is that the real challenges facing CE include massive (and rising) commercial rents, poor roads and public realm and extortionate parking charges ... and of course the fact that we all use the internet for shopping. Only 10p of every pound spent by Crouch Enders today will be spend in Crouch End! The rest will go to Wood Green, central London and via PayPal. If we can repatriate 1p of the 90p, we would in effect increase the collective turnover of CE shops by 10%.
Hope this helps.
The Crouch End Project's 'about us' page states:
Over the years there have been many events and initiatives (Fashion Week, Green Weekend, Christmas events, Pop-up shops to name a few) . . . .
perhaps Annette's is the wrong kind of pop up shop?
The BID is quite an interesting concept. If one is proposed and the conditions met for holding a referendum, then the result is binding, even on those businesses which voted against. The funding comes from a surcharge proportional to the business rates. I have looked at two BIDs in a little detail.
In Rugby the BID was renewed in 2010 for a further 5 years, so there must be something good about it though, as in many votes, the winning majority was made up of roughly three quarters of half those entitled to vote, which is actually a minority. According to its accounts it now owns a freehold property (purchase price c£70,000) and pays c£140,000 in directors' salaries.
In Market Harborough there was a No vote, with the No campaign being orchestrated by a business which is part of the Rugby BID .
can someone explain precisely what the aims of Crouch End Project are?; those of Crouch End Traders are obviously purely commercial- promoting their own interests plus sponsoring the Christmas lights etc fair enough
Seems no one can explain the point of the CE Project. Interesting!