New road scheme could finish our business, says retailer

Camden retailer K&I Kitchens may be forced to close if a new road scheme goes ahead that will make deliveries to its showroom impossible.

Changes Camden Council is proposing for Baynes Street, where K&I Kitchens is located, will effectively mean that the large lorries supplying the showroom with furniture and appliances will no longer be able to deliver there as there would be no way for them to get out again.

“If the road scheme goes ahead, we are done,” K&I Kitchens owner Kalin Mihaylov told kbbreview. “The last thing we want as a business in these challenging times is to deal with something like this.”

And even though delivery vehicles over 7.5 tons will be permitted to enter the road for access purposes, they would then be prohibited from exiting Baynes Street on to Royal College Street, as under the new proposals that street would be for buses, emergency and refuse vehicles only. These lorries are also too big to turn around on Baynes Street itself.

Mihaylov explained: “The biggest point is that the street is very low-traffic anyway, so I don’t see why they are doing this here. The Council’s reason is that on the nearby junctions there are quite a few cycling accidents. They are trying to reduce these.

K&I Kitchens owner Kalin Mihaylov

“The problem we have is that the lorries are too big to turn around and then exit the street in the way the Council has proposed. This will mean that we won’t be able to receive deliveries as normal. Our suppliers will simply refuse to deliver to us, which will result in our business collapsing.”

K&I Kitchens’ suppliers have supported Mihaylov by responding to the Camden consultation in a bid to help the Council understand the difficulties the new scheme will cause. The largest lorries from Häcker are 21-ton vehicles, while other suppliers like Stoneham, Crown Imperial and appliance deliveries are smaller, but around 12 to 14 tons.

Mihaylov’s solicitors have written to Camden Council and he has also contacted his local councillors and his MP and Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer.

A week after the consultation period started, Mihaylov was able to speak to a planner of the scheme to describe how their business operated.

The difference in lorry sizes from the 21T Häcker lorries and the smaller Crown Imperial trucks.

“Last week the planner did call me and asked how our business worked. But that was the first time and it was way into the consultation period. For the first time, he realised that there would be something seriously wrong with the scheme and he said he would take this information to his superiors,” Mihaylov said.

“I also had an email saying that they had options to accommodate the lorries or use different roads for deliveries. But that would have the exact same effect as closing the road. The reason we invested in this showroom in the first place was because we could take deliveries.”

The company was originally set up in 2003. Its first showroom was in Eversholt Street, Camden, and it purchased its current premises in October 2016 and moved in in June 2018.

K&I Kitchens is exploring other solutions to the delivery problem, such as using third parties to store them, but these often result in extra costs.

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “The coronavirus pandemic has created new road safety challenges and our priority is to make it easier and safer for people to travel around the borough. As part of this, the Council are proposing changes to Baynes Street and St Pancras Way to make these streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, whilst also improving bus journey times in the area. In line with new Department for Transport guidance, we consulted on these proposals to get the views of local residents, businesses and stakeholders, which will all be carefully considered during the upcoming decision process.”

The new road layout will also include double yellow lines outside the showroom. The street will also be made a two-way street, where previously it was one-way.

In the consultation document, the Council said the reason for the change was to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. A statement said: “We want our streets to be safe spaces for you to walk and cycle, for children to get to and from school safely and healthily, for businesses to be able to flourish and for you to be breathing cleaner air.”

The two-week consultation period ends today (February 2). On the Camden website, there is a place for people to express their views on the plan.

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