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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

It's so weird. Since I moved to the area just over 2 years it feels like it has changed hands like 6 or 7 times. Every time it's open for like 2 months then closes. Anyone any idea why it never seems to work?

Tags for Forum Posts: opera/wanda

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The proprietor's application for A3 planning use (Restaurants and cafés) was turned down by the Council.

It seems that after years of supporting/not opposing certain A3 applications from certain people, the local 'representatives' are beginning to more actively oppose certain A3 applications from people they are less familiar with.

In return for this custodianship, you get Poundland Christmas Lights and... umm.... yeah, I think that's it.

So each time, the restaurant/café/pub place (that aimed to serve cheap lunch) has signed to rent the place despite there being no license at the time? I find this so weird. Like one of the guys who wanted to make it a sort of local pub seemed to have loads of licensing experience. And Opera opening then closing again pretty soon after then opening again.

Up till 2016, the premises had been a travel agent.

In 2017 it opened as Opera, the following year as Wanda.

On 30th Aug 2016, Opera applied for a temporary change of use from A1 (retail) to A3 (restaurant). It was granted until 01/09/2018. The rather belated application to extend that temporary use, made in February this year, was declined.

To protect Green Lanes as a local high street, Haringey has a policy on the percentage of premises that may be run as A3. For many years planning ignored the policy (one assumes with political blessing). As a result, the level of A3s significantly overshot the limit. About a couple of years ago, the Council began to adhere to the policy and started declining A3 applications. But some applicants have yet to get the message and seem to think that the rules can still be bent. Consequently, we see sagas like that at 5 Grand Parade and at the triple premises on the corner of Salisbury Road.

Time will tell whether this new adherence to policy gives us a more balanced high street or one full of empty unlettable premises.

For more on Opera / Wanda, click the tag added under your post.

 Hi Hugh thanks for that and for adding the tag. Even during the 2016-September 2018 period it changed hands repeatedly. I thought that maybe there was also an issue with something like the kitchen/ventilation/extractor fan etc. that people only found out after signing the lease. Opera opened then closed for a while before re-opening then re-closing.

Generally people vote with their feet/wallets. I didn't perceive Opera or any of the latter incarnations of the place as providing atmosphere, tangible quality or value for money above and beyond the obvious alternatives - getting a drink or a meal with friends at home, the available alternatives on Green Lanes or somewhere nicer like for example Stokey/Dalston/Islington/Crouch End.

The whole proposition of a 'cocktail' on Green Lanes even among the established players is a bit behind the curve - none of these places appear dialled into what is on-trend (see Dalston, Shoreditch etc.) This is the fundamental driver of nightlife culture so I don't see any of these places attracting a huge amount of customers from further afield and therefore all they have to cater to is local demand which can be mixed in terms of numbers of customers and their purchasing power. 

So yes, they go bust, and go bust they will until something materially better, or a more in-demand proposition takes its place. Let's not forget drinking in the UK is on the decline and pubs are closing left, right and centre, so placing a bet on a mediocre drinking establishment is pretty much a losing one...

That's a fair point. Opera was a pretty uninteresting experience when I visited. A lot of these places promise more on their menu than they can actually deliver, which means people visit and then do not return.

It's a shame because I think there probably is a demand for a higher quality bar/restaurant on the lanes. Brouhaha have proven that and I think there's much they do that could be improved further - so there's plenty of room.

No 60 (next to dry cleaners) is opening up as a cafe, despite previously having been a computer/phone shop. Bet they don't have the permission either.

They got their application approved very recently. Interestingly they positioned it as a mixed use retail (organic food) and restaurant. My take is that they are very much going to use it mostly as a restaurant - I don't see why they would need the bi-fold frontage otherwise, and having peaked into it, all the murals and mood lighting suggest more of a restaurant. The upside is that it looks like it may have a Portuguese influence, which if true will be welcome diversity - we shall see...

They got permission by making an A1(retail)/A3(cafe) mixed use application. 

A few displays selling organic goods at the front and the cafe behind those.

Not too sure how well thought out their plans are though. This quote from their application docs is amusing.

"There would be no flue to the rear as it would be a vegan café and the
premises would serve light hot food such as poached eggs, eggs on toast,
etc..."

Haha yes. Eggs the cornerstone of any good vegan meal...

Permission for mixed retail & A3 was given earlier this month. Conditions restrict hours of operation to between 0700 and 1900. 

There are more shop fronts than there is a need for shops. I would welcome many more cafes along green lanes. 

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