INDEPENDENT businesses along a row of eight shops dating back to the 1930s have been told to pack their bags by property developers.
The shops in Sewardstone Road, Chingford, were given no notice before London developers Sav Group told them they must go by September.
Robert Wood, 36, who has run Woody’s barber shop for 13 years, was “absolutely devastated” by the news.
He said: “It’s finished my business, 13 years I’ve been here. It’s killed me.
“I’ve got eight years left on my lease but there’s a break in a clause and we’ve been told to go.
“They didn’t give us any notice about this happening.
“I’ve had to find another job and teach barbering in colleges.
The father-of-one, who employs four people, said his customers were “gutted” with some of his oldest clients now facing a long slog up Kings Head Hill to get their hair cut in Station Road.
He added: “It’s no good for the community, but we have to suck it up and get on with it.”
Mark Pickering opened Budget Signs on the corner 18 years ago and claims the developers do not even have planning permission to redevelop the parade.
He said: “I’m not happy about it, I do not know what I’m going to do.
“It’s taken me a long time build up this business and they’re taking it away from me and I get nothing in compensation.
“I can’t just pick my business up and go somewhere else. We’ve had a clientele for the past 20 years who come to us and know where we are.
“It’s not just me, they’re making people in the flats above homeless. They’ll go from paying reasonable rents to the higher ones people are demanding now.
“We are looking round for a new shop and for a place of this size, we will have to pay double what we pay here.
“There is little to offer in Chingford and I need to stay round here for my customers.”
Liz Waldrab, 37, who works in Budget Signs, lived in a flat above the shop parade when she first moved from home aged just 15.
She said: “Shops have come and gone over the years but the community here is very friendly.
“If they brought in a big shop like Tesco it would destroy the area and the small businesses."
Owner of Sphinks Tattoos, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Everyone is gutted but there is nothing we can do.
“We have been shafted, they’ve offered the lease back to a few people but they can’t just hang around for 15 months, they need to trade.”
Sav Group has been contacted for comment.