Fashionable boutique in Roman Road closes following the opening of Westfield shopping centre at Stratford

14:02 08 May 2012

The Finnesse shop in Roman Road has closed after six years

The Finnesse shop in Roman Road has closed after six years

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The opening of Westfield at nearby Stratford has proved the final nail in the coffin for one of the most chic shops at a famous East End market.

Owner of Finnesse Lifestyle Ulla Cronin, whose shop recently closed down, said trade had been a nightmare since the shopping complex opened.

But Ms Cronin, who still runs an online version of her clothes and interior goods outlet, also hit out at Tower Hamlets Council of pouring money down the drain hole by not following through with its promised investment in Roman Road.

Ms Cronin said: “I think that Westfield opening had very negative effect, my Christmas was so bad and business generally slow and the past few months were a nightmare. I had days that I had no takings at all but still overheads to pay. There were days were there were hardly any people on the streets.

“ There are quite few shops that has closed. I was told by the council there were funds to improve the Roman Road but I didn’t see any improvements.

“About three years ago there was company telling people how to improve shop and window display, and they had funding, but then they went and nothing happened. I think it was money poured down the drain hole.”

Leader of the Labour opposition at Tower Hamlets council, Joshua Peck, also hit out at Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, on social network Twitter for, “stopping” the investment in Roman Road.

Cllr Peck tweeted: “I’m very sad to see Finesse closing after six yrs. “Another Roman Road business bites the dust. Still angry that Mayor Lutfur Rahman stopped support for Roman Road.”

A council spokesperson said a range of measures had been delivered over the past two years to help regenerate Roman Road.

She said: “These have included a shopfront improvement programme, providing small grants to eligible landlords and shopkeepers to assist them in improving shopfronts.

“Public realm improvements have included electricity points for market traders, deep cleaning and decluttering of the footways, better street lighting, and feature lighting to two gateway buildings, and pedestrian access improvements along the length of Roman Road from Grove Road to the market.

“The measures have contributed towards a significant reduction in the retail vacancy rate,” she said.

The Finnesse shop can still be found at www.finnesselifestyle.com

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