Protests hit Network Rail arches sell-off

Network Rail arches in Brixton
Network Rail arches in Brixton

Network Rail’s attempts to sell its railway arches and other property is being hit by the campaign group Guardians of the Arches.

As we reported last month, the group was set up by small businesses facing pressure from Network Rail. In Brixton, these include not only the traders forced to leave their leased premises on Atlantic and Brixton Station Road, but also the Bureau of Silly Ideas in Valentia Place and The Flower Lady next to Herne Hill station.

Elaine Partleton and friends from her shop The Flower Lady
Elaine Partleton and friends from her shop The Flower Lady that Network Rail had wanted to demolish before stopped by protests

The trade website Property Week reported today (19 July) that a joint venture between financial giant Goldman Sachs and the Wellcome Trust medical research charity had pulled out of a bid for Network Rail’s property portfolio because of the “negative attention” generated by Guardians of the Arches.

The joint bid had reached the second round of bidding for Network Rail’s 5,476 arches.

Network Rail is selling its properties because, when government took it back into public ownership, it told the organisation that it must itself fund billions of pounds worth of necessary work on Britain’s railways. When Network Rail was a private company, the plan had been for it to borrow the money.


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