Campaign supporting hardware store facing prosecution backed by nearly 1,000 residents

Kevin Bottomley (left) and Will Buckle (right) Pic: TheBigRetort

A community campaign to support the owners of an independent hardware and DIY store facing council prosecution is nearing 1,000 signatures.

KJ Building Supplies, situated in Loampit Hill, Brockley, faces a potential £167,000 fine for using a small yard adjacent to its premises to store timber and building materials. Kevin Bottomley, 72, who has run the business since the 1980’s is still the owner of the land and building, but retired from running the business in October last year, which he sold to Will Buckle.

If the prosecution by Lewisham Council is successful, Bottomley claims he will be forced to sell both the land and property, thereby putting Buckle and the shop out of business.

Kevin Bottomley in front of KJ Building Supplies Pic: TheBigRetort

KJ Building Supplies claims the historic use of the yard has not attracted any issues until the addition of a small shipping container four years ago, which is said to have prompted only one complaint from a local resident. However it is understood that the prosecution relates to both the use of the land as a builder’s merchant and the unlawful placement of the container.

Lewisham Council said that the owner’s appeal against an enforcement notice from 2018 was rejected by the independent Planning Inspectorate and that it has ‘no option’ but to take further action over what it claims is a ‘clear breach’ of the rules ”We remain happy to engage with the owner on any development proposal for this land.”

New business owner Will Buckle outside the shop ‘ Pic: TheBigRetort

As of last week the campaign: Save KJ – Stand Against Unjust Council Enforcement, has 984 pledged supporters.  

The Save KJ campaign aims to achieve “fairness, transparency, and justice”, with other local businesses including Middleton Café, pub, Wickham Arms, and antiques yard Aladdin’s Cave, displaying flyers to show their support.

Bottomley appeared at Bromley Magistrates Court on September 5 and has pleaded not guilty. The trial has been postponed and the case will be heard by a judge on January 11.

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