Network Rail have told tenants in the arches on Atlantic Road and Brixton Station Road, from Brixton Road to Pope Road, they will need to vacate the arches later this year.
The refurbishment is likely to start towards the end of the year. Network Rail says the work will take around 12 months to complete, though they still need to secure planning permission.
In a post on Urban 75, A & C Continental Grocers deli said they had been told new units will be available from 2017, “but there’s no ‘first refusal’ given to us on the increased new rents that will come with any new tenancy. We have to apply like anyone else interested. So it looks like after over 40 years, its Goodbye A & C Continental Grocers & hello Pret a Manger, Waitrose Local etc.”
Network Rail said: “Plans are being prepared and each of the tenants and leaseholders in these arches is being contacted to discuss the plans and how individual businesses will be affected. Tenants will need to vacate the arches later this year and Network Rail is advising them early to allow time to plan for the temporary closure of the arches for the refurbishment works.
“Tenants will be supported by Network Rail with a package of financial and professional support including assistance to find relocation premises. It’s important to add that we are not looking to turn the arches into a clone-town and we are aware of our responsibilities not just to our tenants but also the rest of Brixton to get this right.”
Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth cabinet member for Jobs and Growth, said: “We want to see the diversity and individuality of Brixton maintained alongside any plans to refurbish the railway arches. The plans are ultimately a matter between tenant and landlord, however we are pushing Network Rail to provide a comprehensive support package and will be holding a meeting with the existing business tenants before the end of the month to discuss the issue.”
There will be a meeting for the affected tenants at Lambeth Town Hall on February 24 to discuss the plans with councillors and officers. Network Rail and representatives of Brixton Business Improvement District (BID) will also be there.
The Brixton Blog has begun a petition in support of the threatened traders. Click here to sign it and to share on social media.