Popular Potters Bar shop forced to close
PUBLISHED: 16:18 18 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:34 18 October 2016
A popular Potters Bar shop is being forced to close after 40 years on the high street.
Elaine’s Stationers owner Chris Piercey said the shop will shut before Christmas because he can no longer afford to run it in what he said is becoming a “dormitory town”.
The father-of-one explained a “frenzy of rent increases” coupled with several offices being converted to flats have pushed his Darkes Lane shop over the edge.
“The high street is dead,” he told the Potters Bar Edition. “The last nail in the coffin was the office buildings closing down, particularly at the train station. Office workers are the lifeblood of the town.
“They are here every day spending their money. How can you lose those workers then have to suffer the brunt of rent increases?”
Mr Piercey pointed to several closures on the stretch, including the Post Office, HSBC, The Money Shop, a sandwich bar and Ocean Dry Cleaners – all of which remain vacant.
He previously voiced fears to Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden, who referred his concerns to the treasury minister. But Mr Piercey was unhappy with the response, and is now set to lose his livelihood.
Mr Dowden said exemptions from Permitted Development Rights, which make converting offices to flats easier, were available in “exceptional circumstances”.
“Mr Piercey highlights the wider effects of the loss of office workers,” he said. “It may well have reached the point where Hertsmere Council should apply for an exemption.”
Regarding rent rises, he added: “There are problems with introducing private sector rent control.
“It was tried in the 1970s and resulted in fewer properties being rented, so I think we need to think carefully about whether that’s the right thing to do.”
Readers Butchers in Darkes Lane is also set to close before Christmas, with 67-year-old owner Dave Butler saying rent prices have so far put off any interested replacements.
He added the unit has been a butchers for 80 years, but if no one wants it he will have to leave it as “a shell”.
“All we are going to have is charity shops, hairdressers and banks,” he said.
plied his trade