Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate Helen Hayes says she is in complete support of the Brixton business facing eviction from the arches and calls for Network Rail to drastically change their plans.
Hayes told Brixton Blog that Network Rail have gone about the situation “in the worst way possible.”
“The important thing about the arches is that the businesses are a huge a part of the community and the character of Brixton town centre,” she said. “The idea that they would all be vacated with no guarantee to return is the wrong thing to do. Network Rail should be looking after their existing tenants. The need to do the right thing by them.”
Hayes visited tenants in Brixton today and said she had got the sense that the businesses would appreciate a phased approach to vacating for the refurbishment, “so they don’t all have to leave at once.”
“What they really need is much, much more certainty about their right to return. All the businesses I spoke to said they understood that rent increases were inevitable but they feel that this work is being done to increase the rents dramatically. Which would be untenable for basically all of them.”
Hayes said she was in full support of the Brixton Community United campaign. “What National Rail must do is come back with an approach which demonstrates a commitment to the existing businesses.”
“The approach taken so far has been completely inappropriate.”
“The tenants are not opposed to investment in the arches, to improving their condition and image, but what we don’t want is for Network Rail to see it as an excuse to push existing businesses out, increase the rents and get new ones in. That’s what we’re opposed to.”
“The same thing applies in Herne Hill. Its about what Network Rail’s objectives are: investing in their property to look after their tenants is a good thing, investing to get the tenants out so they can hike up the rent is destructive to the community.”
Hayes said what was clear from meeting the Brixton businesses this morning was that Network Rail has for many years been an absentee landlord. “They told me there have been many times where there has been maintenance issues, vermin issues or leaks and Network Rail hasn’t acted responsibly.”
“But now commercial rents have been increasing in Brixton town centre, they’re suddenly interested in their property there.”
If these businesses were replaced with chains able to afford the hiked up rents it would “kill the town centre. Brixton is such a special place because of its diversity.”
“There’s been a lot of change recently but some of the most valuable aspects of Brixton are the ones that have been there the longest and the deli, the hardware shop and the fishmongers in the arches are part of that.”
“I am going to be doing everything I can to support them.”
Sign the petition to halt the evictions here
That’s the last thing we need—another sainted PPE grad with a bunch of wafer-thin opinions spread very thinly, stuffing up the green benches. It’s as if they’ve all been bred in some sort of lab. Is there anything even worst?
[…] See my interview on the arches with Brixton Blog here: https://brixtonblog.com/save-our-shops-helen-hayes-says-network-rail-has-behaved-in-the-worst-way… […]
That’s the last thing we need—another sainted PPE grad with a bunch of wafer-thin opinions spread very thinly, stuffing up the green benches. It’s as if they’ve all been bred in some sort of lab.
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