After more than 10 years on the triangle, a popular Crystal Palace shop will close its doors for the final time on Sunday (January 12).

Homeware and gift shop ‘Smash Bang Wallop’ in Westow Street, first opened in April 2007.

Owner Liz Clamp said the closure was due to a range of reasons including, Brexit, more people shopping online and low mid-week footfall.

These problems, along with rising rents, are facing many of the triangle’s independent businesses.

Liz and husband Andy Pontin are well known locally and live in Crystal Palace.

Before opening Smash Bang Wallop, which started life as a gallery, Liz was a fashion designer and later taught at the London College of Fashion.

Liz said: “Unfortunately Crystal Palace has lost an awful lot of footfall during the week.

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“We’ve lost a lot of businesses here that are now residential and clubs like Kumon where parents used to drop kids off and mill around.

“The Brexit factor has impacted massively with people having a lack of confidence in the sales and the rents are unachievable given the current circumstances.”

Like other shops locally, in recent years Liz has had to reduce the number of staff she employs, from five to two.

In September, Blue Door Bicycles in Central Hill, which had been open since 2011, closed down.

But it is not all doom and gloom in Crystal Palace, with a range of independent shops still trading.

Liz was involved in setting up SE19 Lates, which saw shops open later to encourage people to buy their Christmas presents from local independent shops.

“It was so well attended and people couldn’t have done more. They really came out and supported us,” she said.

Liz is not sure what she will do next, but says she will be sad to shut up shop.

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“Crystal Palace is a special place because there is an enormous amount of people who want to make it work,” she said.

“I can’t believe how many people have come in to say goodbye since we made the announcement last week.

“One of the lovely things is seeing people who used to come in with their children and now their children come in to buy things.

“And seeing the heritage around here, seeing things like the Crystal Palace Subway, the Crystal Palace Transition Town and the library. Being part of a community where things are happening and developing.

“Although we are losing some shops there is an awful lot of energy and want to do things. I just want to say a huge thank you to all the customers and suppliers who have made Smash Bang Wallop.”

What can be done to help independents thrive in Crystal Palace?

The Crystal Palace triangle, three roads of shops, bars and restaurants filled with independent businesses and antique shops, straddles three boroughs, Croydon, Bromley and Lambeth.

And at the moment there are about 16 empty shops.

Liz thinks reducing business rates or the council buying up buildings to reduce rents could help.

This is an idea that has previously been raised by Upper Norwood and Crystal Palace councillor Stephen Mann.

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He said: “I am sad to see Smash Bang Wallop go, it’s a fantastic small business and they really engage with campaigns in the area. I did most of my Christmas shopping there this year.

“I think it shows the pressures that our high street is under and particularly our independents.

“We need to work together as a community and councillors to try and address some of these problems in our local retail economy, such as high rents.”

At the end of last year, Cllr Mann along with other local councillors and the Croydon North MP got together with businesses to talk about setting up an umbrella organisation to help the town centre.

It is hoped that this will be something like the Love SE25 group, which was set up in 2018 and is putting together a community action plan for local high streets.

Cllr Mann added: “It is a national problem and we are seeing it in what people consider to be a relatively successful high street. It is taking away some of our most successful shops.

“We have had one meeting and we are due to have another with local businesses.

“We are hoping to build this ‘I Love Crystal Palace’ group modelled on what SE25 have done.”

He added that he would also like to see a separate ‘area forum’ set up which could bring together representatives from the five different boroughs in Crystal Palace.