Along with statements from Cllr Jack Hopkins and Brixton Pound on Network Rail’s plans to evict our beloved local businesses under the arches in Brixton and Herne Hill, Network Rail themselves have now released a statement and FAQs. We publish them here in full. Check out the debate at urban75 and sign the petition here.
During 2014 there has been a lot of consultation by Lambeth Council and Network Rail on proposals for the long-term future of Brixton Central. In line with this overall masterplan vision, Network Rail has been planning a refurbishment of most of the arches in the triangle area bounded by Atlantic Road, Brixton Station Road and Pope’s Road around Brixton rail station and occupied by a wide variety of business tenants. We hope to start this refurbishment in late 2015 and these works will last for up to 12 months, during which time the arches will be closed. From early 2015 until the time the arches are vacated, we will be helping existing businesses find suitable relocation premises where possible. We have produced some Frequently Asked Questions about these plans.
FAQ1 Why is Network Rail announcing this refurbishment programme? During 2014 local people fed back their comments on proposals for the long-term development and regeneration of the Brixton Central area, which includes the station, Brixton Station Road, Atlantic Road and the land between the viaducts. Whilst Lambeth Council and Network Rail continue to consult on these draft masterplan proposals, we are taking the opportunity to start the process by refurbishing most of the arches in the triangle area closest to Brixton Road.
FAQ2 What is planned? Most of the arches in the triangle area beneath the viaducts (bounded by Atlantic Road, Brixton Station Road and Pope’s Road) will be refurbished over the next few years. This will include redevelopment of the arches and the freestanding structure between the viaducts, modernisation of power and other services and new frontages. This is intended to improve the condition, quality and commercial attractiveness of the arches for the occupiers, thereby bringing them in line with market conditions in Brixton for retail premises with an attractive street-front to help attract shoppers, increase visitor footfall and help provide a boost for the local economy.
FAQ3 What will happen to the existing businesses? The existing businesses will need to vacate their premises in late 2015. We have commenced individual consultation with our tenants to give them an understanding of how these plans will affect them and the support we will provide through the process.
FAQ4 Will these businesses be able to relocate locally during the works? We have appointed a commercial property agent to help affected businesses find suitable relocation premises if required. This service will be available to all affected business tenants free of charge.
Network rail say they will offer “stepped rental increases over a period of time for affected occupiers that wish to return” http://property.networkrail.co.uk/brixton-arches.aspx
Interesting that their own CEO Mark Carne said that Network Rail is the “company that people love to hate” http://gu.com/p/4669v/stw
As usual, information from FAQs is complete babble-speak. They forgot the most frequently asked ones: How are businesses used to railway arch rates going to afford non-railway arch premises? how can the workshops find anywhere suitable, even with free agency help?. Oh, and why evict – why not work with them?
Answers please. In English, this time. (Not that irritating developer-babble where they say one thing but mean another. Example: “This is intended to improve the condition, quality and commercial attractiveness of the arches for the occupiers” – No, it’s clearly not for the occupiers, because you are about evict the occupiers. It’s not the same thing, so stop spouting such annoying nonsense!).
They will start saying “thank you, your feedback is important to us” next…
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