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Fishmonger allowed to start smoking fish again

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
9:47 AM

A historic London fish smokehouse is to be allowed to continue trading, weeks after it was shut following just one complaint about the smell.

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Walter Purkis & Sons’ smokehouse in Crouch End Broadway is believed to be the oldest working smokehouse in the capital and is famed for its smoked kippers, salmon and mackerels.

The business was forced to stop smoking fish after Haringey Council received a single complaint about the smell and the smoke emanating from the 1880 building.

A council officer said the family-run firm would be fined if it continued, as it would be in breach of the Environmental Protection Act and the Clean Air Act.

The smokehouse shut down on December 21 and although it was able to complete its Christmas orders, still lost a large amount of turnover from not being able to smoke fish.

But following public outcry the council has backed down and the family, which also has a branch of the fishmonger’s in Muswell Hill, has been allowed to start operating fully again.

Cllr Nilgun Canver, cabinet member for the environment, said: “We recognise the unique nature of this family business and its importance to the local community, and we are really keen to help find a solution in the best interests of everyone involved.

“We have been working closely with Mr Purkis to help him find a way to reopen the smokehouse while also reducing the impact on neighbours. It has now been agreed that Mr Purkis will reopen the smokehouse and we will support Mr Purkis over the coming months to help him upgrade the smokehouse equipment.”

But Mr Purkis, who has owned the Crouch End shop since 1982, is not yet convinced by their promises.

The 65-year-old said: “We will be happy if it does come out right but we are a little worried in case it is a temporary thing until things have calmed down.”

The closure of the smokehouse sparked a petition across the pond in New York, where Mr Purkis’ daughter had treated colleagues on Wall Street to her father’s wares.

Mr Purkis, whose family also have a branch of the fishmonger’s in Muswell Hill, said: “All the bankers thought it was wonderful so they were all up in arms when they heard Haringey had closed the smokehouse down.”

The smokehouse owner has also expressed his gratitude to all the loyal customers for the support they have shown him over the last few weeks.

“We will have to think of a way to say thank you,” he said.

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