Highbury Corner blues

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Story and pictures by Hasti Razaghi

The construction work at Highbury Corner Road has reached a new phase with tube travellers having to negotiate a tortuous detour into Holloway Road and local business complaining about the disruption.

The project has three phases: first, the reconstruction of the bridge beneath the station forecourt; second, the relocation of gas, electricity, water and the telecommunication pipes and cables, third, reconstruction of the bridge. The works are still in the first phase.

The work to replace the section of the bridge will continue until mid June. During this time the exit from Highbury and Islington tube station nearest the newsagent will be closed. When you enter and exit, you have to walk around past The Famous Cock Tavern.

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It can be very crowded at the entrance so there are security stewards around the station. There are several signs and TfL staff are directing people around, using ropes to guide them across the road.

Harrendra Bhutt, 57, property manager at Lebara Universal Newsagent said: “Only a few customers come since they have closed the side of the exit. There is no business left, since it takes a long time for commuters to come back to the station”. According to Mr. Bhutt, when he spoke to TfL “they let the wind blow away”.

 

Many people on social media are angry because of the effects on the travel – traffic is busier and pavements are more crowded. On Twitter there is support for Mr. Bhutt since the shop is hidden.

A popular coffee shop is Temptations next to Highbury & Islington station. Owner Nilesh Bhuda, 31,  said: “I’m losing a grand per day, and the coffee queues are disappearing. Usually the queue is outside the shop but now it’s disappearing. I had to let four people of my staff to go since business is not going around.”

According to Mr. Bhuda, TfL don’t pay compensation. “I have sent a letter to the Mayor of London and Houses of Parliament about the issue.  If it doesn’t get solved, the election is coming up and I will campaign against them”.

 

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TFL are investing £25m and it is estimated that the project will be completed in 2018.

They declined to comment about the disruption to businesses.

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