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Doubling of rent forces another Camden Passage shop to close

08 September, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

Chrissie Harper was given just nine days to leave after running the shop for 35 years

FRESH fears over the future of independent retail in Angel’s famous antique quarter were raised this week after a vintage shop decided to throw in the towel after 35 years following a more than doubling of rent.

Chrissie Harper, who opened Cloud Cuckoo Land vintage store in the early 1980s, is bidding Camden Passage farewell on Saturday after her landlord increased annual rent on the shop from £16,200 to £37,680.

Ms Harper, 77, said she offered to pay £23,000 when her lease was up but this offer was refused – and she was given just nine days to leave the premises. “I’m in absolute shock,” she said.

“I made an offer of what I could pay and the answer came back on Monday – they want the keys next Wednesday. I’ve been here for 35 years and I would have loved to have stayed for another two. I’m very sad.

Ms Harper’s shop in Charlton Place, off Camden Passage

“They [the landlord] say: ‘This is the rent in the area now.’ But no one in retail can pay these rents. We used to have seven vintage clothing shops here and there are just three left.”

She added: “It doesn’t really help the atmosphere in the Passage.”

The closure of Cloud Cuckoo Land, in Charlton Place, comes just weeks after Decadent shut up shop due to an almost doubling of the rent to £55,000 by another landlord.

And famous vintage clothing store Annie’s, which announced in 2014 that it would have to close after its rent was raised to £55,000, is still looking for a new retailer to take over its lease.

Camden Passage, in Angel, is home to a range of independent shops and antiques market

Traders fear independent retailers are being forced out of the area by a double whammy of astronomical business rates and rent rises.

Decadent owner Jody Peach, who ran the store for a decade, said. “On top of the economy being so down, you get these landlords coming in and doubling the rent. And my rates went up from £15,000 to £20,000.

“There will be no vintage shops left in a year’s time.”

Ms Harper’s landlord is property investment company Islington Benwell 3 Limited, which has assets worth £38million. Companies House documents revealed that its ultimate parent company is Yianis Holdings TC Limited, a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.

The Yianis Group is 100 per cent owned by John Christodoulou, a Cyprus-born British billionaire property developer who lives in Monaco.

Ms Harper is inviting people to her leaving party at the shop on Saturday afternoon.

Yianis Group declined to comment.

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