Published: 22 June, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a popular 100-year-old butcher’s shop in Barnsbury voiced disappointment this week that the building is expected to become flats.
It will be the end of an era for Maurice Woods, the butcher whose grandfather started the business in Liverpool Road in 1909.
Mr Woods, 70, revealed that he is seeking planning permission to convert the shop to a ground-floor flat. He already owns the flat above.
The shop has been closed for several months while he recovers from a knee operation.
Although other small businesses, including butchers, have expressed interest in the premises, Mr Woods said he is being urged to turn it into homes in order get money to pay for his retirement.
His decision to sell follows a move by Islington Council to allow an electricity sub-station to be built on open space directly next to the shop. The sub-station, which will supply power to 30 flats, has now been built, although the mechanism is not yet in place.
Mr Woods said: “I always warned the council that if they allow this installation right next door to my shop and home I’d close down.
“I’m going to submit a planning application for change of use from butcher’s shop to flat. It’s a pity but the premises were originally a house when my grandfather converted them.”
Regular customer Louis Leigh early this year launched a Facebook campaign and petition with more than 400 names calling on the council to reconsider the decision to give the go-ahead for the sub-station.
He said: “He was such a good butcher and will be really missed. But he was due to retire anyway and I can understand and respect all the reasons for wanting to sell up. I still believe, however, that if it wasn’t for the sub-station Maurice would probably have stayed on.”