And no one does it better than Hurendra Bhatt. Two issues ago I carried the story of Hurendra's ongoing fight with Islington Council over what appeared to be minimal criteria being applied before granting planning permission for what was rumoured to be a six-storey development plus big Tesco just a few doors up the road from him. He got a reply in mid-March to his letters sent in January and February to Islington's Group Planning Officer to complain about the council's laissez-faire attitude. This letter confirmed that there was an approved scheme for 60 residential flats plus three shop units with the developers in discussion with Tesco to secure it as occupier of the largest unit.

The letter goes on to confirm that what Hurendra calls 'incentives' was a legal agreement requiring various benefits for the immediate area which included £105,000, potentially rising to £215,000, for environmental improvements to the pavements along Holloway Road including the area in front of the magistrates' court. He has not been idle since, having written to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, pointing to his previous letters and suggesting that the council consulted only those businesses within a radius of 250 yards.

Not everyone has Hurendra's stamina for lobbying. In fact, when I carried this story two issues back, I put in his plea for other Islington retailers to join the fight. So far, no one has come forward. Apathy can sometimes be the worst enemy.

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