Independent shop owners say they are less than impressed with multi-million pound cycling scheme proposals they say could divert customers elsewhere.
The ‘mini-Holland’ bid from Enfield Borough Council is hoping to rope in a share of a £100million pot from Mayor of London Boris Johnson to improve cycling routes in the borough.
However, a presentation of the proposal by Councillor Chris Bond and Del Goddard to business owners in Enfield Town left traders with concerns.
The initial plans that have been presented to the Mayor would only allow buses and cyclists to use Church Street between 7am and 7pm.
This means that Cecil Road is likely to become two-way street as opposed to the current one-way system.
Chris Theodoulou, who has run Emma Claire hairdressers in Church Street for 36 years, believes that this would be a “disaster” for the high street.
He said: “If the cycling scheme only allows for bikes and buses to go down Enfield Town high street, that would be a disaster and we would lose a lot of passing trade that we depend on.
“There are a lot of issues with what they have put forward; the market place car park would lose all its revenue and our traditional high street will lose its spark. You only have to look at Hoddesdon town centre who have recently reversed its pedestrian area because it was losing a lot of business.
Mr Theodolou fears that despite the council's insistence that consultation will take place, there is little room for manoeuvre for a ‘plan B’
He added: “My other worry is that, when consultation takes place, how far will the council be able to deviate from its original plan that may win the money from the Mayor. Will they be allowed to radically change their plans because at the moment, plan A is not the best option?”
Chris Patel, of Grays newsagents in Enfield Town high street, fears his business will be directly affected by possible changes.
He said: “If the council brings in the 7am to 7pm restriction to only allow buses and bikes through the town would be a massive problem for my business. We usually have trucks deliver our good and if this was to happen, we would suffer greatly.”
Founder of community group Love Your Door Step Emma Rigby said: “The funding would be fantastic for the borough but it’s very important local businesses and residents are listened to during the consultation period.
“We have to be careful that it doesn’t kill Enfield Town like it has done to Hoddesdon. If everyone works together in partnership, it could be very positive.”
Cllr Bond said: “We are absolutely committed to supporting businesses in Enfield and we believe the mini-Holland proposals will help make our businesses and high streets thrive by making them more accessible through the reduction of congestion and by encouraging people to travel to them in different ways.
"The mini-Holland funding decision will be made in spring and any outline proposals agreed by the mayor will be subject to a full public consultation in this borough with the potential for changes to be made before a final scheme, if successful, is implemented.”