Council cash for looted salon

Published: Friday 26th August 11

An independent hair salon on Lavender Hill, Clapham Junction is the first looted shop to receive a crisis loan from Wandsworth Council.

Ocean Hair SalonOnelia Giarratano, co-owner of Ocean Hair Salon, has been offered £2,000 to help fund a new shop front, restore fixtures and fitting and reinstate stock and equipment.

The money is already in her account and will help ease cash flow difficulties pending the final settlement of her insurance claim.

Under the council's streamline support scheme loans or grants of up to £2,000 are available to all traders which came under attack during recent scenes of public disorder. If approved the cash will be handed over in days so urgent works can get underway.

If a looted shop is insured the money will be repaid once a settlement comes through. Any shops which do not have insurance cover will be offered the cash pending the settlement of a Riot Damages claim.

Mrs Giarratano said the financial help and practical support she has received from the council has been a life-line for her business:

""I have been extremely pleased with the support we have received from the council over the past two weeks. The situation was unprecedented and apart from Wandsworth's financial support, advice and guidance I don't know how I would have coped"

Wandsworth's business spokesman Cllr James Cousins said:

"In today's financial climate small businesses can find it difficult to access credit from traditional lenders and simply don't have the spare capital to cover major repair bills. This could mean shops have to wait months for insurance settlements to come through before they can get their business back up to full strength.

"Our scheme's quick turnaround means smaller, independent stores now have an immediate source of finance while details of the Government's support packages are being finalised.

"We are also been helping local firms by offering a business rates 'payment holiday' and ensuring fire damaged premises are removed from the rating list by the Valuation Office."

All of Wandsworth's riot hit businesses can also apply for council grants and loans up to the value of £15,000 but the approval process will take longer to complete for applications above the £2,000 threshold.

Once Government funding becomes available council officers will help local firms to access this support as well.

Cllr Cousins continues: "Clapham Junction has shown extraordinary resilience and character in the face of a shocking attack. Everyone you meet here, residents and business owners alike, is determined to get things back on track and to let the rest of the country see the true spirit of Battersea.

"We can all do our bit to help by making an extra effort to visit the town centre and spend our money in local shops. Every penny helps."

Only the very worst affected businesses in Clapham Junction remain closed and work is going on behind the scenes to return these traders to work.

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