Kentish Town estate agency closes branch a year after big ‘craft beer effect’ launch
Property firm's exit revives question: Does Kentish Town have too many estate agents?
13 January, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
The ‘we have moved’ sign (and a prankster’s addition) at Greene and Co in Kentish Town
WITH Kentish Town now ranked as a million-pound neighbourhood in terms of London’s raging property market, estate agents have targeted NW5 in a stampede for business.
But just 13 months after a fanfare opening, a property firm has announced it has shut its branch in the area after reviewing trading conditions.
In a move once again stoking the debate about the number of estate agents in Kentish Town, Greene and Co closed its shop in Highgate Road in the run-up to Christmas – but, as our picture (right) of a message pinned to the outside shows, it was not to everyone’s disappointment.
The company is part of a larger group of estate agents, Countrywide, which has agencies throughout the country.
A spokeswoman told the New Journal: “There was a strategic review of our businesses and we looked at a network in London and how they were performing. We needed to make sure we had the strongest branches in the right place and ensure branches were not competing with each other.”
Fifteen other estate agents operate in Kentish Town Road, the high street close to the Greene and Co branch on the site of the old Tally Ho pub in Highgate Road.
The spokeswoman added: “The Greene and Co branch was looked at and we spoke to the people working there. The discussion was around the branch and, of course, there is never a good time to close a branch.”
At its launch, the branch pitched for business within the narrative of a changing neighbourhood.
Sales manager Leon Bernandout said at the time: “We are now seeing a growing number of young professionals, primarily City bankers and brokers, moving to the area as it becomes increasingly trendy as a result of the craft beer effect.”
The block the branch was based in has struggled to fill its ground-floor commercial units. It was finished in 2007 and Greene and Co was the first company to move into the unit.
Roger Winfield, chairman of Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum, said his group was more concerned with protecting retail shops in the area.
“The closure could be because of its location off the main stretch of Kentish Town Road and the enormous competition from other more established estate agents,” he added.
“Having a vibrant retail sector on Kentish Town Road is what matters and we would welcome a retail shop in that location. On whether the closure of Greene and Co suggests there are sufficient numbers of estate agents to meet the demand in Kentish Town, we are not in a position to comment, but it might be a reflection that the market has reached saturation point for estate agents.”