London Road stories: Okay Niyazi’s dry cleaning business

The first of a series of interviews with those left to pick through the wreckage of Croydon’s 8/8, features Okay Niyazi, whose family business was burnt to the ground

Okay Niyazi stands in front of a scene of destruction which was once the site of a thriving business

“I watched on television as my business, which has been in the family for almost 50 years, was burning.

“At 11 o’clock it was still OK, but the police did not come and the fire just burnt down more and more businesses and flats, as the fire people could not get to the place.

“The people who did this, burned down my business, they think they are so big. They are not big. All they have done is ruined someone’s business and ruined someone’s life.

“Now what happens is I’m stuck without any business, without any job.

“The government talks a lot but nothing really happens. The council, in the end, just sent me to the Job Centre, and my wife, too.

“I just get pushed daily to get a job; they don’t help about my lost business.

“The council talks about a fund of £500,000 for interest-free loans, but my washing machines alone were worth £90,000, and I would have to pay for the lease both on the burnt out property and a new place. I don’t want to move a long way away, as I will lose my customers.”

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1 Response to London Road stories: Okay Niyazi’s dry cleaning business

  1. I attended the meeting organised by Malcolm Wicks MP. I do not live in West Croydon but I have always shopped there, during the day and late at night. I feel safe there because it is a friendly place. I heard about the dry cleaning business through customers of Mr Okay Niyazi. They obviously considered him a friend.
    Croydon Council does not care about small people. They are too busy with grandiose ideas that will kill the community. Is it ethnic cleansing? Do they want to build another shopping centre on the ruins where local shop keepers are not going to be able to buy into?
    Am I the only one who feels that the destruction was somewhat selective?

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