We're not the first to break this news, but we'd urge all readers to consider signing the Kew Bookshop petition. The petition was started, with a deadline of June 1st, after landlords submitted planning permission to demolish the "beautiful century-old wooden" property, and replace it with a two-level brick structure.
A report by The Bookseller tells that Isla Dawes, the shop owner, strongly rejects the terms of the planning permission:
“The applicant has made a case that the present building is not fit for purpose, but this is not true, and all this building needs is to be re-clad in wood and it would be fit for purpose for a further 100 years without destroying its character and with it the character of Kew Village.”
We're not ones to stand in the way of genuine, well-considered progress. But the shop, which currently does business to the tune of £300,000 per year through retail, is fighting fit in terms of its business.
Further, unsympathetic demolishing of a century-old building could be argued to show a lack of interest in heritage while setting a dangerous precedent.
And what if the plans were to go ahead? Dawes tells that she wouldn't be able to afford the rent of the new property and would be forced to close the shop. With independent stores across the country closing due to ailing enterprise, what sense to close one that is going strong?
The petition reads, "Before long, only the big chains and estate agents who can afford the high rents will move into Kew, destroying its village character for ever."
We firmly believe bookshops are more than buildings. And when the buildings are as well-regarded and long-standing as Kew Bookshop, we stand fully supportive. In fact, we've already signed the petition.