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Independent bookshop in Kew Village is fearful for the future
The shelf life of a treasured independent bookshop could be cut short as it is threatened with closure.
A landlord’s wish to double the size of the bookshop in Kew Village would be the final chapter for the store, as its owner would not be able to afford the rent.
The plan would see the wooden building demolished and replaced with brick, with only the shop front remaining, a new level built on top and a doubling of the retail space.
Owner of the Kew Bookshop Isla Dawes said: “It is just going to change the whole character of the building and Kew Village has this unique character with these little buildings which will be lost.
“This is an independent business that is not closing because of online shopping.
“It is really depressing to think that we work to make sure this is a thriving business and that is for nothing when the landlord can rip the rug from under your feet.”
The Lion and the Unicorn in Richmond was the latest victim of rent rises after it ceased trading in August last year.
The landlord of the parade of shops in Station Approach, which includes Oliver’s Wholefoods and Canopy, wants to alter the buildings, which are of townscape merit.
The row of shops has one of the oldest unique wooden frontages in London and has been there for about 100 years.
Miss Dawes said: “The charm of these buildings is their wooden structure.
“They have stood for almost a century. If the shop was reclad, it would stand for another hundred years.”
Campaigners have asked the public to back a petition to save the bookshop, which has already gained momentum and attracted almost 600 signatures.
Robin Meltzer, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park, said: “This could really impact on the whole fabric of Kew.
“It would only be the start – an awful precedent would be set.
“The super landlords will come back for more. First, it will no doubt be the next building along and then the next. Before long, only the big chains and estate agents who can afford the high rents will move into Kew, destroying its village character forever.”
People have been asked to sign the online petition as well as formally object on Richmond Council’s website.
For the online petition, visit robinmeltzer.com/save_kew and to see the plans, visit tinyurl.com/kewbookshop.
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