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DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
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Saturday, 13 June 2015

A SAD DAY FOR THE CULTURAL LIFE OF LONDON

The Evening Standard wrote an evocative piece about the closure of Video City in Notting Hill.
Video City played an essential part of the cultural life of our city: its closure is a small tragedy.

We look around our city and see ever more evidence of small, independent retailers being driven out of our neighbourhoods only to be replaced by dreary chains of non UK taxpaying coffee shops and dishonest estate agents- such as Foxtons.


The Evening Standard reported...
"DVD and video rental store which counts Sir Mick Jagger, Richard Curtis and Laura Bailey among its customers is closing after 30 years.
Video City on Notting Hill Gate, thought to be one of the last of a tiny handful of high street rental shops left in London, will shut its doors for the final time on June 24.
Owner Simon Brzeskwinski said he had been defeated by “a perfect storm of events” that included soaring business rates, the opening of Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, the departure of customers from the area as property prices rose and Apple’s decision not to include a DVD player in its newest laptops."


25 comments:

  1. I'm not it's Westfield and Apple that killed the video store. It was probably the likes of Netflix. Netflix pretty much killed off Blockbuster in the US and its business model is clearly doing the same everywhere else.

    We have Netflix, Amazon, Sky, BT, Apple, Tesco and dozens more offering video rental on demand on a variety of kit, including computers, TVs and games consoles. The traditional video rental store simply can't compete with that.

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    1. I'm really doubtful about the Westfield claim. What is Westfield supposed to have done to have killed the store? Have a cinema on site?

      The north of the borough is admittedly not particularly well served in terms of local cinemas, but there's always been a cinema in Shepherd's Bush (in the old shopping centre) and another in Bayswater. I doubt the cinema in Westfield could have made that much of a difference. That the old Shepherds Bush cinema across the road is still going suggests not.

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    2. Exactly. Those who watch lots of rental films have gone to Netflix and co. Those who watch the occasional rental film haven't. But occasional users aren't enough to keep the business going.

      Blockbuster went bust in October 2013 - the writing on the wall for the whole retail video rental sector.

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  2. What Netflix Amazon etc don't have is a "Simon" who has provided a very personal service plus deep knowledge of films which he has shared with his many customers who will greatly miss him

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  3. A certain Ex Labour Councillor (who spent most of the election in the West country) will have to get his Gay porn movies from somewhere else

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  4. Regarding the damage caused by crushing level of local business rates, a local residents recently mentioned the issue to Cllr Ahern. His sole response was that the council doesn't care.

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    1. Of course the Council does not care. It needs sky high business rates to finance £1.5 million a year to Holland Park Opera, £1 million a year for two Mayors, a Bentley and Jag to transport the relics, plus the flunkies, finance to spot unidentified UFOs in Ladbroke Grove, and all the other stupid and ridiculous things that puffed up Cabinet Members want to indulge in.

      Pass the sick bag

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    2. It's a common misconception that local councils set and get business rates. "Properties are assessed in a rating list with a rateable value, a valuation of their annual rental value on a fixed valuation date using assumptions fixed by statute. Rating lists are created and maintained by the Valuation Office Agency, a UK Government Executive Agency. New rating lists are normally created every five years, however, the 2015 revaluation has been postponed until 2017. Billing and collection is the responsibility of the local authorities, but the taxes are pooled centrally and then redistributed. The Local Government Finance Act 2012 gave local authorities the power to keep up to half of business rate income and transfer half of it centrally, to central government. The central share is then distributed to councils across the country in the form of Revenue Support Grant." Source Wikipedia.

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  5. MR SQUARE KILOMETRES14 June 2015 at 09:37

    This might have something to do with the fact that Cllr Ahern has never had to be in business. He has been funded throughout most of his career by his financially successful wife, the very unpleasant copper's daughter 'made good', with hugely ambitious climbing capabilities.

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  6. Simon at Video City is a great guy and locals love his caring and helpful attitude towards customers. But the world moves on and his market died. He did not plan for the migration of his business.

    American railroads had the same problem when the airlines came along and killed their market.

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    1. Sad, but true.Netfix and others provide the service. As for finding all the information, the internet provides this, without any human intervention. It is not the trend nowadays to eliminate the human touch from our lives.... Robotics society, I guess....even sex is being mechanised..:-(

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  7. Observer is mistaken about business rates. The council collects them, but only as agents for HMRC. RBKC ensures it has enough money to pay for for Holland Park Opera, 2 mayors, the Bentley, the Jag and UFOs etc, by depriving the disabled, the old and the poor of decent services.

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    1. absolutely right. RBKC can do nothing about the rates, but can do a lot about the waste of funds, thus depriving the disabled and others from help, whilst keeping its zillions untouched....

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. My understanding is that a proportion of business rates does come back t the Council. Am I wrong?

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  8. This time Sad Badger is mistaken. They are our zillions!

    14.24 is correct. The government gives a grant to each local council. Most local government funding is derived from this source rather than from council tax. The grants are routinely manipulated for party political ends. For instance, currently Gateshead, with the worst unemployment in the country, has suffered the largest cut in its grant from central government. The system is rotten.

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    1. Silly comment. You must be a Councillor - you guys always hide behind "its not our fault, it is Central Government"

      Pathetic.

      High taxes are a pox on all of us. And profligate Government spending (like Chelsea Care and Opera Holland Park and redundant Mayors) is an abuse of power. Taxing residents so that politicians can puff.

      It is absolutely staggering that a small Borough like K&C supports TWO Mayors at a cost of £1 million per year. What for?

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  9. Those who claim people stream more than rent DVDs are incorrect, due to the decline in video stores selling and renting customers turn to Amazon, who are making capital from selling DVDs.

    Netflix, Amazon and Sky do not offer the selection that the Video store can as certain contracts are made for streaming with particular providers. Tesco's blinbox is on the decline, no provider offers a complete catalogue of films where a video store can.

    It is a great shame that Prime Time closed down across London and the Borough as well as HMV and Virgin megstore closing down too, leaving Video City as the last video store in RBKC & London.

    This is councillors unwilling to help small businesses who have no care, it's time for us residents to lay down the rules and maybe even refuse to pay our council tax as a whole. This is the sort of thing that puts the fear of God into them, no cash flow!

    So many independent shopkeepers speak to are either being strangled by business rates or rent, or both! Everywhere will now look like the Kings Roadski full of chains that only the few can afford aimed at the Eurotrash and Oligarchcs.

    Paget-Brown maybe a charming leader of the council but is disappointing, which is noticed.

    Simon at Video city offers a great service it will be greatly missed but why does this have to happen at all, he offers a great service, pays tax and employs people. Is this not what RBKC wants on the High Street. Where is Karen Brady and Mary Portas?

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    1. I am unsure as to what Councillors can do. If the Council has within its power the ability to make life easier for the independent retail sector then it should. However, at the same time it's pretty clear that some retail offerings are quite simply not financially viable. Video rental is sadly one of them.

      However helpful people found Simon, and however good his ability to stock what his customers wanted to watch, I doubt he could really ever compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and the like. The numbers speak for themselves. Amazon currently lists over 12,000 films and 5,000 TV programmes for rental at the touch of a button. Can any physical store really compete with that?

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  10. Dear Wasp, few of the Dame's contributors is further removed from being a councillor than this writer. The fact remains that business rates are set in relation to local rents, collected by local councils and passed on to HMRC. The government dishes out the money largely in its party political self interest. It's worth noting that business rate payers once had a vote in local elections, but this is no longer the case.

    RBKC's property department invariably leads the charge to extract the highest possible commercial rents for it's own properties. Similarly inflated rents are naturally demanded by other property owners. The result is the unutterably dreary King's Road, where all the big name fashion houses trade at a loss. These stores stay open only because their competition is there. This lunatic scenario is repeated all over the rotten borough. As ever more dubious foreign funds are thrown at K & C commercial property, rents and therefore business rates rise. So the only businesses to survive do so if they are subsidised by parent companies. Small businesses go to the wall.

    Residential property is similar. Billions are routinely thrown at developing fairly modest properties; forcing up prices. The super rich are now aware that they're being ripped off. An added insult to ordinary residents is that such massively overpriced homes do not pay appropriately high council tax. The more valuable the home, the lower the percentage of council tax is paid. Another scandal. Residents have the vote.

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    1. The Voice of Common Sense15 June 2015 at 10:32

      Another sneaky idea to tax residents more. "Valuable houses should pay more Council tax". Balls.

      Council tax is supposed to pay for the clearance of dustbins, schools etc. It is a per capita tax. Everyone should pay the same. It costs the same to clear a rich mans dustbin as it does to clear a poor mans dustbin.

      If the Government needs more tax then add it on to VAT or income tax. Better still, spend less on fripperies like Holland Park Opera, two Mayors, the Bentley and the Jag.

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    2. Campden Hill Resident15 June 2015 at 10:37

      According to my News Agent (from Pakistan) this is the only country in the world that encourages foreign people like Russians to bring stolen money into the UK and park it in buy to leave houses. K&C is at the centre of this storm and what do our pathetic councillors do to articulate the need for change and therefore play their part in the political process?

      Nothing. Of course. All the reptiles want to do is "puff"

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    3. Notice to K&C Cabinet15 June 2015 at 10:42

      Do Councillors visit Wykham Square (Campden Hill) at night? Concierge properties where new terraced houses sell for £14 million.

      All the houses are dark after dark. No one lives there. But the doormen speak Russian. Fluently. And the underground garage is full of high end motors

      Trouble is that these owners do not buy newspapers. So my newsagent does not get income. So he cant pay his rates. And the rates keep going up.

      Get it?

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  11. Precisely. Business rates are payable whether they are affordable or not. So small businesses close, because they have no successful branches to provide a subsidy.

    Successive governments have charged council tax on a higher percentage of the value of the smallest studio flat, than on a vast, empty iceberg mansion. Nothing has been done about this for decades, for fear of losing votes. The funds are made up by imposing unaffordable high council tax bills on small businesses. They have no vote. So small businesses everywhere are forced to close.

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  12. You mean "unaffordable high business rates."

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