Businesses 'hit with drastic drop in income' after part of Enfield mini Holland scheme finished

Francesca Gillett
Bike lane row: businesses have hit out at plans for the new route in Enfield

Businesses along the route of a controversial new north London cycle path have claimed their income has been hit dramatically by the scheme.

More than a third of the Dutch-style cycle highway between Enfield town centre and Palmer’s Green has already been finished after months of construction work.

It is part of the £42 million Cycle Enfield project, backed by £30 million of Transport for London funding, and will see segregated bike lanes on both sides of Green Lanes, the A105.

It is hoped the project will follow in the success of similar "mini Holland" cycling schemes, including in Walthamstow where the new layout saw traffic fall by half.

But businesses in Winchmore Hill, on the stretch of road between Green Dragon Lane and York Road where work has just been finished, claim they have been hit by a loss of income.

Kamil Cemal, manager of family dry cleaning firm Seabird which has been in business for three decades, told the Standard he estimates income has gone down by one fifth.

He said: “My customers are moaning, my regular customers used to come every week but they are not coming every week now. They are saving their dry cleaning up and then dropping it off.

“At the beginning it was not too bad but now it’s started to affect us."

Mr Cemal, who has worked in the shop for 20 years, said: "We used to have the parking bays, we used to have a whole lot of spaces.

Winchmore Hill: Some of the businesses hit by the effects of the cycle lane. (Google)

“We are right on the corner and now customers can’t find parking spaces. I would say my income has gone down by 20 per cent.

“I’m going to give it until next year and see how it goes. I’ve got landlords trying to put the rents up, the council trying to put up bike lanes.”

The owner of Riverside Florist, just a few shops along, claim they are missing out on customers and said there is a fear businesses could “tumble like a pack of cards”.

Florist Malcolm Slaughter said: “We have been here 52 years. We don’t want to pack up because we have something to offer still.

“The ones we are missing out on are the chaps, the men that pull up across the road, they are good customers.

“The other ones I definitely feel sorry for are the elderly people coming in to order funeral wreaths. They don’t need to walk miles when there is nowhere to park.

“If there was more parking, I think that would sort a lot of the problems out.”

He added that local cyclists have told him the controversial cycle lane has caused a divide between bike riders and motorists.

“I have had chaps on bikes come in and say the last thing they needed is this, they said we are enemies now,” Mr Slaughter said. “They said cars are trying to run us off the road.”

A spokeswoman for Tessa Stevens health and beauty salon, also on Green Lanes, said they have been forced to put on a click and collect service for customers because the new limited parking has hit clients.

Construction began on the cycle route last September after an 18-month consultation process which ended after the council won a judicial review.

It is hoped the scheme will promote more healthy forms of travel and cut down on traffic, with the council calling it an "incredibly exciting time for Enfield".

The work is being carried out in several stages by Ringway Jacobs Ltd. The next stage, installing the cycle lane on the stretch between Borden Avenue to Walnut Grove, is due to be finished by the end of March.

Enfield council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said: “To date we have completed over a third of the A105 Cycle Enfield Scheme and work is accelerating.

“We expect to complete it to schedule in September.

Anger: Drivers initially protested against the mini Holland cycle lane in Walthamstow. (Nigel Howard)

“Cycle Enfield is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our high streets and town centres by investing in the look and feel of our key destination centres. It will help promote more active forms of travel through the creation of safe segregated cycle lanes.

"We take the viability of businesses in Enfield extremely seriously, but also recognise that during any infrastructure work some temporary disruption inevitably occurs, which our contractors are trying to minimise wherever possible through the introduction of a range of mitigation measures.

"However, we are confident that the completed project will bring major benefits to everyone in the borough."

In November last year campaigners called for the so-called mini Holland cycle schemes to be introduced in towns across the UK after the first pilot scheme in London - in Walthamstow - produced a massive fall in traffic.

Despite initial opposition to the scheme, there were 10,000 fewer vehicles a day - more than half less traffic - on 12 roads in the village area of Walthamstow following its introduction.

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