SHOPKEEPERS say a new cycle route will kill off their trade and "ruin the borough".
The Enfield Council-led cycling scheme, called Cycle Enfield, is being introduced in various locations throughout the borough in a bid to make cycling safer.
But there is widespread concern the cycle lane at the junction of Compton Road and Green Lanes, in Winchmore Hill poses a serious threat to businesses in the area.
Malcolm McGrath, director of Keymakers locksmiths in Green Lanes, 62, said: “It is disrupting the lives of people, it’s making things very difficult for customers to travel to Green Lanes – businesses will be forced to close because of the scheme.
“The consultation was a complete sham. The council made up their minds – they knew what they were going to do and have taken no notice of residents or businesses or anyone else. They are ruining the borough.”
Adapting the junction to make it suitable for the cycle lane resulted in the loss of on-street parking which the retailers say was vital for customers visiting their stores.
They fear as the closest car parks are a five-minute walk away, customers will stop visiting their stores in favour of competitors with more convenient parking.
Marc Nortan, who co-owns Auto Store in Green Lanes with his brother Gary, is also fearful for the future of trade following the introduction of the route.
The 49-year-old, who has lived in Enfield all his life, said: “First of all, we are a car parts shop but do cycle bits as well so we are not against cyclists in any shape or form, but I think the whole thing is wrong.
“Enfield Council just didn’t listen to anyone. Everyone has said it’s absolute craziness.
“What we are worried about is will people just avoid the area? Will they think they are not going to bother and just drive somewhere else? Will they just go to Halfords where they can park? That’s another win for big business.”
He said there are many other more suitable locations for the cycle scheme, including New River and Queen’s Avenue and said he expects the changes to cause “damage to the businesses”.
However, it is also a lack of clarity regarding how the route will impact the area that is concerning Mr Nortan and he criticised the council for not doing more tests to assess the impact of the scheme.
He added: “You have to be a fortune teller to work this out but I don’t think the council should be playing with people’s livelihoods in such a manner.
“They should have trialled it for a month, it affects so many people. Residents come in and they are all moaning about this saying ‘what have they done?’
“I’ve never seen traffic like it in 49 years.”
Hanisa Kiremitci, Manager of Winchmore Hill Café in Green Lanes, said the ongoing building works are disruptive and already impacting business.
The 39-year-old said there was a power cut on the street for two days last week which she claims was caused by builders digging the road; forcing them to close the shop early.
She said: “We have lost regulars as most of them can’t park here. The workers work so slowly – they closed the road and put some small lights there but they were so slow. I don’t know when it’s supposed to be finished.”
She also warned that the cycle route will be dangerous because of its proximity to the bus route and ultimately she does not think the scheme is necessary.
An Enfield Council spokesperson said: "Cycle Enfield is a once in a lifetime opportunity to dramatically improve the borough's transport links and regenerate our town centres.
"Nonetheless, a scheme of this magnitude inevitably requires a degree of short-term disruption, particularly whilst complex junction remodelling is taking place, such as those at Ridge Avenue.
"However, our contractors are working as quickly as possible to complete the works, improve the traffic flow in the area and bring this exciting scheme ever closer to fruition."