The Blog’s Delores William went along to the famous Brixton Arches yesterday (19 September) at precisely 1.30. The reason? That was the deadline given to the remaining independent traders to hand over their keys by Network Rail. If they did not they would lose the enhanced compensation they had been offered.
Ray Murphy has been trading in the arches under the name of Budget Carpets for 26 years. He doesn’t want to leave and he doesn’t want their money.
Network Rail will not guarantee that Budget Carpets will be able to come back to their unit. Ray says he has been told by Network Rail and Lambeth council that there is a long list of people waiting to take over the units when they have been renovated.
Ray Murphy: Some people give into bullies. We don’t.
Because of the planned changes to the units they have been reclassified as “exclusive” with increase rents and rates.
Delores recorded Ray while he was still trading. He had customers in the shop and it was business as usual, but with a twist. His workers and neighbours were preparing banners for a short march and demonstration under the railway bridge on Atlantic Road. Ray doesn’t have to come into Brixton every day, but he loves the area and loves the community.
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, came along to support the traders. He was born and raised in Clapham and Streatham and knows Brixton very well.
Next stop for the traders? The High Court.
Listen to Ray …