- Tower Hamlets
Local people have voiced concerns over the possible closure of Allders, a landmark of Croydon, which has gone into administration.
The store, which would have been celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, went into administration yesterday following financial troubles. The store has blamed rising rents and tough market conditions.
Croydon was also the scene of some of the worst rioting during last year’s disturbances.
Christine Bick, a 35-year-old accounts assistant from Croydon said Allders was part of the history of the town: “It offers so much variety and choice with the concessions.”
Ethel Whiffin, 86, from Purley called Allders ‘The heart of the town’. She added: “It’s always nice to know it’s there. Very worrying, I don’t know where it’s going to end, I really don’t.”
Y Patel, 54, a local newsagent, spoke of Allders as a ‘destination shop for local people’. He said “Croydon means Allders and Allders means Croydon. I blame the council for raising rents.”
Croydon council points out that: “We don’t set or charge rents – the private freeholders do that.”
The council remains optimistic for the future of retail in the town and its leader, Councillor Mike Fisher, said it would work with the administrator to see if it can find ways of keeping the store open. It had already offered to defer business rate payments.
The council leader said it was ‘a sad day’ for the town, but added: “I still believe we are well-positioned for when the economy begins to grow again.”
He added: ”Like the rest of the country, Croydon is grappling with very difficult economic conditions and reduced spending power, and this shows how even the most long-established institutions are potentially threatened.”
By Joanne Fagg and Anja Mcloughlin