Shopkeepers in Lisson Grove Shopkeepers are hopeful after Westminster Council froze rents pending an official review of its proposed fee hike.
Westminster Council has pledged to review a proposed rent increase of 25 per cent in Church Street, after traders in the popular shopping hub delivered a petition in July which asked for rents to be frozen.
Shops, including Mornicrest Chemists, thought their pleas had been ignored when they received notices from Westminster Council telling them costs would rise. The chemist was told to prepare for its rent to go up to £22,250 a year, from £17,800.
Labour councillors lobbied the council and have now secured a commitment that the huge rent rises will be put on hold until a full review can be carried out.
Harvey Buat Audio and Video owner Alan Taub said it was a success for traders. "It's barmy in the present economic climate to put rents up when many shopkeepers are not even breaking even," he said. "More shops would definitely go down if rents went up and you would see an erosion of the number of independent retailers. If the shops in Church Street are the same as everywhere else, then it has no future."
Westminster Council confirmed it had not made a final decision on rent increases in Church Street, which are reviewed every five years.
"The financial implications of a possible freeze on rent for [these] businesses is under consideration by the council, along with other options to help them cope with the difficulties of the current economic situation," said council director of property Derek Barnden.