1. ITV Report

Shopkeepers under Brixton's famous arches facing eviction by Network Rail

By James Banks: ITV London reporter

Shopkeepers in Brixton's railway arches have been told they will soon have to vacate their premises as owners Network Rail plan to redevelop the site.

Earlier this week businesses were informed that they would have to seek alternative arrangements whilst the twelve month refurbishment takes place.

Credit: ITV News

José Cardoso, who owns the A & C Continental Deli Continental Grocers Deli told ITV News:

It's obviously to maximize profits, the units will not have the same layout as they do at the moment, some of the smaller units will be knocked through to make larger units, which will be more attractive to bigger businesses.

– José Cardoso

Along with many of the businesses Jose's shop has been a feature of the Archways for over twenty five years.

He like many others feels let down, as he believes much of Brixton's recent success has been down to independent traders like him.

Credit: ITV News

I don't think there's a safety aspect to their motivation for doing it... it's only really been recently that they've taken an interest.

If you speak to any of the tenants along here we'd love a nice new fascia to the shop... but what's happening is that we're not being given the opportunity to benefit from that.

– José Cardoso

That's because at the moment Network Rail says it has not planning to give current tenants preferential treatment when applying for the refurbished archways, even though many tenants said they are happy to pay higher rent, once the work's been done.

Which has led many local residents to fear that gentrification could see the end of this quirky and unique shopping centre. So much so that an online petition has been launched.

A spokesman for Network Rail told ITV News that the plans would 'spruce up' the archways rather than totally redevelop the area.

A spokesman said that the project was at the very early stages and that planning permission had not yet been given for the work.

The were keen to stress that they were trying to give the current tenants as much notice as possible.

The refurbishment is likely to start in the latter part of 2015 for which Network Rail will need to secure planning permission. The work should take around 12 months to complete.

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.

– Network Rail