IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

We’ve lost out with LTNs

13 November, 2021

‘We have lost a host of customers from outside the immediate vicinity due to LTNs’

• LA Fromagerie opened in 1992 on Highbury Barn and we also have two other shops, in Marylebone and Bloomsbury.

We also have our warehouse where we operate our wholesale on Frogmore Estate, Kelvin Road, round the corner from the Highbury shop.

We have lost a host of customers from outside the immediate vicinity due to LTNs, low traffic neighbour­hoods, and the short-sighted narrowness of the council and people wishing to keep the area enclosed and out of reach.

How is it that our footfall and sales in my shop have dropped yet our Deliveroo and home deliveries have risen and continue to do so since LTNs were introduced?

We are not a shop for delivery only and we have to pay a huge fee to Deliveroo for their service.

If customers are wanting to shop with us, but find getting to us difficult and unfriendly, isn’t that a sign that the local high street will fail?

After nearly 30 years in Highbury are we to become a delivery-only? And if so do we need a shop front with staff and rent and rates to pay out if that is the case?

Just like dark kitchens exist for restaurants and food delivery, is that the way forward for shopping too?

Cargo bikes, unless they are stacked with enough packages, are very expensive to use as a delivery source. And if there are a number of deliveries for the bike then the lag-time can be several hours and for chilled produce, such as dairy, that can mean temperature problems especially in the summer.

People might want their neighbourhoods to be quiet but we are living in a metropolis, London, not the countryside.

But what is happening is Highbury and Islington are ring-fencing the borough to be out of bounds to anyone other than those within walking distance of the shops.

It is a distant memory when people would come from all over London, and even as far as Kent, to visit Islington and Highbury to enjoy the shopping and restaurants.

Even as a resident with a home overlooking Highbury Fields I cannot travel by car from one side of the fields to the other, or from Highbury Grove into Highbury Fields.

From my shop and warehouse, the circuitous route to get home, I have to drive down Highbury Grove, through Highbury Corner, along Holloway Road, left into Palmer Place, right into Liverpool Road, right into Holloway Road again and then down that road to then turn left into Fieldway Crescent in order to get to Highbury Crescent.

I have an electric car but am penalised as a resident for wanting to be able to work and travel around my area to my business. I walk when I want to but, basically, every working day I need my car to get to my business and shops, and also take goods.

We shouldn’t have a borough so intent on keeping people out and reducing businesses to a state where they cannot continue; yet the council will not reduce rates to compensate for this or see it as their problem to repair the damage.

The excuse that they are making the area clean and pleasant, is lacking in genuine fact due to pushing all traffic onto a few roads, causing more pollution, and idling cars, buses, lorries, and vans.

There is no joined-up thinking and a council-run exclusively by one political faction is unfair. No council should be run in this way without recourse or ability to properly discuss and make rational decisions.

There is a faction in the council intent on creating a closed community with no vehicles; it is not liked by many councillors (who are bullied into keeping quiet); and it is certainly not what the government had in mind when they gave grants for councils to look at ways of tackling pollution and encouraging people to do more exercise.

A local resident who wrote to Islington with a Freedom of Information request was astonished to see that 75 per cent, 3,053 were opposed to the LTNs, 526 (13 per cent) agreed with the LTNs, and 289 (7 per cent) were mixed. Yet all that is not in the recent 132-page report by the council.

We should rally together, those 3,053 people and more, as the numbers are growing and tackle the council about the LTNs and how they are ruining the borough. There are more roads in line for enforcement and we have to act now.

PATRICIA MICHELSON
Founder / Director
La Fromagerie

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