Supporting our High Streets

Here’s my most recent Muswell Flyer Article on supporting our local high streets

One of the best features of Crouch End, Highgate and Muswell Hill are their unique high streets. Instead of endless chain stores, we have a rich range of diverse independent shops, which add so much character to our local area – and I want to keep it that way!

We are going through tough economic times, and without the support of multinational head offices, many of our independent retailers are struggling.

The Labour-run Council hasn’t helped, either. They’ve raised parking charges on the high streets to a whopping £3 an hour – which puts off potential customers who want to stop and browse. One local resident contacted me and said: “I do not shop on the high streets in Highgate and Muswell Hill because of the ridiculous parking rates.”

A local independent retailer also contacted me and said: “I run 3 shops which have suffered badly from the huge increase in parking charges.”

That’s why the Lib Dems have been campaigning for reduced parking charges and for 30 minutes free parking across the Borough. The campaign has gained a great deal of momentum. The traders had already put together a 5000 strong petition calling for lower charges.

We now have a very large number of signatures in support of 30 minutes free parking. You can add your name here:

Residents have been vocal in their support. Local resident Denis Jones said: ‘I feel that it would help trade in the Broadway. If there was 30 min free parking I would use the shops instead of going to free parking trading estates.’

The ruling Labour Group at Haringey Council remain stubborn. They have refused to change their parking charges to date. It is such a shame that they will not listen to residents and common sense arguments. Local residents and retailers really deserve better.

Nonetheless, the Lib Dems and I will carry on campaigning and pushing the Council to do more to help our local independent shops and high streets.

In other news – I have also been running a competition in my constituency to find the best local independent shops. The voting has now closed, but the results still have to be announced.

This will happen on Saturday 29th June (from 11am – 3pm) at a summer fete style event on the forecourt of Hornsey Town Hall. There will also be a draw to see which lucky voter will win £100 to spend in the shop they voted for.

A number of our favourite shops and community groups have already agreed to have a stall and exhibit at the event, and there will also be games and face painting for children, snacks, music and picnic space.

This will be a fantastic community event, which will help promote and publicise many of our best independent stores. I hope to see as many of you there as possible!