The owner of an independent café store for over 31 years is concerned that he may have to close-up the business as the “high street is dead”.

Tamer Izzet, the owner of Goodfellas on Station Road, Harrow, has been struggling to keep his business afloat with the introduction of various chains and other stores, fearing that it is overshadowing smaller independent businesses on the high street.

He said: “So many places have opened up the last few years and now it’s like the people have changed, the high street is dead, and no one comes to these smaller businesses.

“It’s lots of smaller things, there’s nowhere to park the cars as they’re turning places into flats.

“I don’t know how long I can survive. This was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had.”

Mr Izzet has tried various approaches to modernise his business and compete with well-known high street brands, including renaming the store from Café Express to Goodfellas, altering the menu with healthy foods and offering other cuisines and introducing online delivery through Deliveroo.

Formerly known as Café Express, the family business started in 1987 which Mr Izzett then took control of from his father many years later.

Over the last few years, Mr Izzett has noticed less customers attending his café and is as a result suffering with debt and being threatened to close.

“I think back to 2010, it wasn’t that bad. Harrow was a better town centre. But now they’ve closed the car parks, and there’s companies like Pret, Greggs, Wenzels – I can’t compete with the prices they can afford to offer, it’s impossible.

“And it’s not just me, it’s most of the smaller shops on the high street.”

He added he believes that Harrow Council should do something to provide a supportive network to stores suffering with larger competition and business rates.

However the assessment, valuation and determination of the rateable values for commercial property is part of Central Government, not Harrow Council.

A spokesperson from Harrow Council suggests that any businesses that want to appeal the assessment made for business rates, to appeal through the government website here.

Angela, 73, who is a regular customer and lived in Harrow for over twenty years is worried that her favourite food joint may close.

She said: “It’s not a quick café, but now there are so many other cafes, building sites behind and pop-up cafes introduced.

“It would be a real shame if it would have to come to a close. People come in now to get their food, but they can’t get food if the owner can’t afford to buy the food.

“Where are people supposed to go if it closes?”