Fair Rent for Network Rail/TFL Arches - SAVE SMALL BUSINESSES!

Fair Rent for Network Rail/TFL Arches - SAVE SMALL BUSINESSES!

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FountLondon started this petition to Blackstone Group and

The majority of Britain’s railway arches are owned by Network Rail; they are currently being sold and thousands of small businesses – like FountHackney and FountNursery – are under threat. We need to stand together and save them, our communities are flourishing and creating a buzz under these arches.  Why is Network Rail exploiting them and killing them off?!

Telereal Trillium and Blackstone have exchanged on the arches and both companies claim to want to keep small, creative businesses thriving, but it’s becoming apparent that they really do not understand what is going on at street level - or they do, but prefer to turn a blind eye, in order to service the needs of their shareholders! 

At a time when smaller businesses need support and guidance, it seems that many are facing a never-ending fight with increasing rent; several businesses located in the arches near London Fields/Hackney have had to leave their premises due to the hike in rent. The increase that has either killed off their business, or people have decided to take early retirement.

FountHackney is a lifestyle destination located within three railway arches; FountNursery is the hub of this and the space provides something for everyone (childcare, a restaurant and a retail space/office). We support small business start-ups who cannot soak up the increase in rent, which means the only other option we have is to increase nursery fees, which we are not willing to do. Most of our parents are freelancers, working parents, single parents - who are already paying a lions share of their income on childcare fees! The local council and government know this, so why aren’t they supporting us?

The increasing rent is an issue faced by the majority of the businesses around us; whilst our rent has steeped by a ridiculous 49.2%, there are rumours that other businesses are due to face a rise of 300%. How are businesses supposed to remain? This is exploitation at the highest level. Creative businesses have the insight to move to areas of development, and once we have created a buzz, the bigger giants come in and kick us out.

This leads us onto the worse-case scenario: the rent increase means more and more of the existing businesses will be unable to afford their spaces (a reality for so many members of our community and the area), meaning the big chains will soon be swooping in, taking the charm out of the area and decreasing the sense of community the area is known for. Unfortunately, this is what will happen to us if we don’t fight the proposed increase. We can share our community but why should we give it up? We had the foresight to move in and create this diverse community, we don't want to leave.

We have been interviewed on BBC London, BBC News and many other publications regarding this matter but it is now time to take it further.

At a time when smaller businesses should be expanding, creating new jobs and regeneration of the area, it seems that we have little choice – but this is where we need you. Alongside East End Trades Guild and Guardians of the Arches, we want to keep the ball rolling in ensuring that those who can help prevent the increase know about our struggle.  By signing this petition, you could help us get to the very top with our fight and hopefully prevent the rise from happening. This is your community, your family, your children and your FUTURE and we are all part of keeping this area true to what we believe.

Let's stand together and stop these bigger giants ruining our independency.  After all ‘small businesses’ are at the heart of our country, so help us save the arches!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!