Rising rents force family out of shop

Niyan Patel and his wife Chetna Patel


Rising rents have forced a family-owned Dulwich newsagents to close after more than 30 years of trading.

Niyan Patel 56, and his wife Chetna Patel, 51, opened Yogi News in Bellenden Road, East
Dulwich in 1985.

But the newsagent closed on October 21, as an increase in rent means the couple can no longer make the business viable.

Mr and Mrs Patel said they would be sad to close the newsagents as it will not only mean leaving the shop but also their family home, where they have raised two daughters.

Mrs Patel said: “This is not just a business, there is very much a social side, there are customers who have given us business for the last 30 years, we have served three generations of some families.

“The hardest thing will be adjusting to not seeing those customers every day.”

Niyan Patel and his wife Chetna Patel outside Yogi News in Bellenden Road, East Dulwich

Mr Patel said they had seen a lot of changes in East Dulwich since moving to the area in the mid-1980s. “It wasn’t a nice area when we moved here in 1985 but it is up and coming and the general trend is that so are the rents.”

Mr Patel added that although the area had become nicer it had been at the detriment to the sense of community.

He said: “It was much more friendly in the 1980s, now people don’t have time to stand and talk.”
Mrs Patel said: “So many newsagents and small shops are closing. It will not be another newsagents which takes over the premises. It will probably be a cafe or restaurant. Newsagents are disappearing from the streets.”

Customers and residents said they would also be sad to see the business close. Debbie Kiang, of East Dulwich, said: “It’s very sad, it is a great loss to the area.”

Mirroring the Patel’s view that the area had become more gentrified Ms Kiang added “It’s bittersweet. Gentrification makes the area look nicer but there are definitely victims.”