27 May 2016: Belsize Park Newspaper Seller's Kiosk Saved
Photo Polly Hancock
Nurul Islam celebrates at his Belsize Park kiosk. The popular vendor who runs the Belsize Park newspaper kiosk thanked his customers for pressuring Camden Council into doing a u-turn over the rent hike which threatened his business.
Nurul Islam had said he would no longer be able to run the business after the council doubled his rent from £3,841 a year to £6,575.81.
He would have been forced to shut down the kiosk he has run outside Belsize Park Tube Station for 13 years. After the Ham&High highlighted his plight last week they were inundated with letters of support for him.
Members of the community had rallied round Mr Islam describing him as a “local asset” and demanded the council reduced his rent. The council had said that his rent was being doubled as he was also selling sweets and drinks as well as newspapers from the kiosk.
But Camden Council announced that it had reversed its policy following the community backlash. Councillor Jonathan Simpson, cabinet member for community safety and the voluntary sector at Camden Council, said: “We appreciate that newspaper sales have been hit with the number of free papers handed out and digitised media expanding over recent years and so the sale of confectionary can help support the viability of these kiosks.
“We’ve reviewed our approach following community feedback so all kiosks previously paying a licence to sell newspapers only will now be able to sell confectionary, cigarettes and other associated news vendor type goods at no extra licence charge.
“We have been in touch with all traders about this and are formally writing to all the affected kiosk vendors with this position.”
The council said a total of seven newspaper kiosks across the borough would benefit. When the Ham&High went to see Mr Islam at his kiosk to celebrate the father-of-four had not yet heard the good news.
Mr Islam said: “I cannot thank my customers who supported me enough. It is a great day. Also thank you to your newspaper and to my local MP for taking it up. It’s great. I am so happy.”
His customers were today celebrating the news. Chris Langdon said: “It is great news that the council has changed its mind so quickly. It’s good for Mr Islam and his customers like me. It’s also good for the Ham&High that it doesn’t lose loyal news vendors like Mr Islam. And that can only be good for local democracy. The council should be commended for listening.”
Source: Ham&High 27 May 2016