Rising commercial property rents and mothers who like to share a chat over a coffee are being blamed for ‘ruining’ one of London’s most fashionable districts. Traders in Primrose Hill, home to actress Sienna Miller, One Direction star Harry Styles and retail guru Mary Portas, claim that these combined factors are forcing the closure of established businesses and leading to a lack of diversity.
Sophia Szymankiewicz, who has run Russian tea room Trojka since 1992, closed the business two weeks ago after being faced with a 70 per cent rental increase.
She said; “Camden High Street is now all coffee and food places and Regent’s Park Road is going that way too.
“The chartered surveyors that look at how leases are constructed do not take into account that we were a family business, that we knew everyone in the community.”
Another tenant, Peter Haxton, will be closing his health food shop next month after being told that his rent would triple. He says the landlord has kept it below market value for a long time and he accepts that this can’t continue. He complains that when he opened the shop there was a great diversity of businesses in Primrose Hill but this has changed.
Along with rising rents weekend visitors and ‘yummy mummies’ are also accused of changing the character of the district.
Another local trader said; “I don’t think people realise that soon Primrose village will be café village.”
“The yummy mummies just want somewhere to settle their prams and have a mummies meeting so anywhere with coffee and a table is in demand.”
However, business woman Natalie Allen hit back at the criticism.
She said; “People wouldn’t open a café if they didn’t think the demand was there. And I hate this phrase ‘yummy mummy’ – I’m a mum of two but I’m running a business too.”
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