Treasured Kew Bookshop saved from development

Read on: Owner Isla Dawes

Read on: Owner Isla Dawes

First published in News by

A treasured bookshop hopes to be the next NeverEnding Story, after community backing saved it from closure.

The Kew Bookshop, in Station Approach, was threatened with closure when its landlord wanted to double the size of the retail space, meaning its manager could not afford the rent.

Richmond Council this week refused to take forward the application, which would have seen a large part of the building demolished, because it said it would be detrimental to the area, which is of townscape merit.

Isla Dawes, who owns the bookshop in Kew as well branches in Barnes and Sheen, thanked the community, local politicians and the Richmond and Twickenham Times for their support.

Between four petitions, some set up by local politicians and another campaign by two schoolchildren from Kew Green Preparatory School, almost 2,000 people objected to the plans.

Miss Dawes said: “The support has been fantastic and we couldn’t have done it without our locals.

“Both political parties locally have also helped a great deal.”

At the same time the bookshop was shortlisted for a greetings card industry award in the best independent bookshop card retailer category.

Fears grew the plans to alter the bookshop would set a precedent for the row of shops in Kew Village and the quaint parade would lose its character forever.

The council said the proposal would lead to increased need for parking due to the loss of off-street parking and no plan for extra spaces.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park Robin Meltzer, who started a petition to save the bookshop, said: “I’m delighted that we could represent the views of so many Kew residents to protect this historic building for the benefit of the community.

“I hope this signals success for all of our local independent shops which make our village such a vibrant place for the community to shop and come together.”

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith said the news would come as a huge relief to the people of Kew and its traders.

He said: “This is a great success story, and residents can be proud of having massively influenced the decision.

“It is not yet known if the landlords intend to appeal, or to resubmit an application, and we will therefore have to stay closely involved.”

An application has been submitted for the wooden-fronted buildings, which are about 100 years old, to be listed by English Heritage while the council has been asked to include it in the Kew Village Plan.

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