‘It’s a slap in the face’ say residents as luxury Finsbury Park flats advertised in Hong Kong
We’re airbrushed out, say Fashion Village traders who fear impact of City North development
02 March, 2018 — By Emily Finch
How the City North development is being marketed
LUXURY flats at a controversial new development have been advertised in Hong Kong and Singapore, sparking fears that local residents will be outpriced and forgotten.
Shop owners in Finsbury Park’s “Fashion Village” have already raised concerns over the vast £220million City North development, which they say has contributed to a major reduction in footfall in Fonthill Road.
They say disruption from construction work, alongside the closure of Wells Terrace tube entrance during the course of the build, has seen sales plummet.
Now, flats at the development have been advertised on global real estate company Savill’s Singapore and Hong Kong websites alongside a swanky promotional video which locals have branded “a slap in the face”.
“The video makes Fonthill Road invisible,” said Andrew Paschalis, co-chair of Fonthill Road Association, who discovered the website advertising the flats abroad.
“It’s annoying. It begins with an affluent couple and street signs which have nothing to do with us and then a Bentley car and a Prada shop. We’ve been airbrushed out of it. The message of the video seems to be gentrification.”
Although the 10-minute clip, which stars two models, does show footage of shops in nearby Tollington Park, there is no sign of the 140 or so fashion stores which line Fonthill Road, next to the 22-storey development due to be completed at the end of 2020.
Jeremy Corbyn tours Fonthill Road
“The thing that is needed is social housing and this is a slap in the face. Why are they advertising in Hong Kong and Singapore? Do they not want people locally to buy the houses to live in?” said Vickie Christensen, manager of London Fashion Centre, in Fonthill Road.
The development by Telford Homes and the Business Design Centre Group is for 355 homes, with 46 at “affordable” prices, alongside a gym, cinema and supermarket. It is not clear how many of the flats will be social housing.
Fonthill Road has a long history as a fashion district. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who toured the road early last month, told the Tribune he was seeking a reduction in business rates alongside an advertising budget from Telford Homes to help publicise the fashion stores in local newspapers and on radio.
Ms Christensen said she was still waiting to hear about a possible reduction in business rates, which will ultimately be decided by the Town Hall.
“We had a big meeting on Monday with councillors and told them we are concerned it’s taking so long,” she said. “The new business rates come into force next month. We are waiting with bated breath.”
A spokesman for Telford Homes said City North properties were not currently for sale in the UK or abroad.
He said: “The Savills’ Singapore website that refers to ‘prices from’ is historic and has been removed to avoid any further confusion.
“The previous phase of City North was launched in the UK and subsequently overseas, in compliance with London First protocol and the earlier Mayor’s Concordat.
“The development has not been marketed purely to investors, be they in the UK or overseas, to help ensure that there is an appropriate mix of owner-occupiers, tenants and affordable housing residents.”
The spokesman added: “City North will deliver much-needed new homes for people who want to live and work in London, many of whom either cannot afford to buy or do not wish to buy. Local residents will all benefit from a range of new amenities, including step-free access to Finsbury Park station. Increased footfall to the location should benefit existing retailers.”