Save Our Shops

Save_our_Shops02

We’ve posted about A&C Continental Delicatessen; The Moroccan Cafe; L S Mash & Sons; and Cinco Quinas and they remain among our favourite places in Brixton. We are so lucky to have food shops and places to eat in Brixton that offer such good value and high quality. But unfortunately, as many readers will already know, their future is under threat. Their landlord, Network Rail, is giving all of them notice to quit, along with all the other businesses in the triangle between Atlantic Road, Brixton Station Road and Popes Road. Similar action is being taken against shops under the railway arches in Herne Hill. The stated reason is that they want to renovate the arches under the railway line but the real objective is to make more money by upping the rents.

The ArchesA storm of protest has ensued, unsurprisingly. Vague suggestions have been made that businesses will be allowed to return when the work is complete but it must be open to question how many will survive, given the interruption to their trade and the certainty that rents will be significantly higher. Without doubt it would be good to improve the entrance to Brixton Station but much more would be tragically lost, especially those businesses that make Brixton special. See this and other posts on Brixton Blog for more details

Network Rail do have a responsibility to use its resources efficiently. But it also has a legal responsibility to protect the environment in which it operates. Article No. 37 in its Articles of Association sets out the Objects it is expected to follow. It starts out with all the stuff you might expect about running a railway but it includes, some way down, the following section:

“37.1.28 To have regard to the protection of buildings and other objects of historic,architectural or other significance when formulating and implementing proposals and more generally to participate in, manage and co-operate in projects or works designed to restore, preserve, improve or protect the environment.”
I think that “environment” needs to be understood in its widest sense and it’s clear that the proposals would inflict significant damage on the environment of Brixton town centre.
If you want to help defend our shops there’s an online petition here 

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