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Everyone's angry about... Herne Hill rent hikes

Isabelle Aron

We unpick the issues that have got Londoners all riled up. This week, it's rent hikes in Herne Hill threatening local businesses.

What's that coming over Herne Hill?

Well, it's not a monster, if that's what you're thinking. Not exactly, anyway. Things aren't exactly hunky dory in this pocket of south London, thanks to a huge hike in rents for businesses. Local traders say they're being priced out of the area with increases of up to 70 percent being demanded by landlords the Dulwich Estate, an organisation with charitable status that funds several posh schools in the area.

Huh. This doesn't sound very charitable. How have locals responded?

They held a protest on the high street last week, as the Just Williams toy shop was forced to close its doors after ten years. Giles Gibson, chairman of the Herne Hill Forum which organised the protest, said: 'There's a big question about how Dulwich Estate is behaving as a charity.' While local resident Jane Austin (no, not that one, she spelt it with an E, you wally) has started a petition calling for the Dulwich Estate to 'charge reasonable rents', which has already received more than 5,000 signatures. Celebrities have even gotten involved. You know it's serious when James Nesbitt and Jay Rayner are pissed off.

And what does the Dulwich Estate have to say for itself?

John Major (no, not that one, either), chief executive of the Dulwich Estate, insists that it is not trying to price out independent shops to attract big chains, but that 'there is a strong demand for property in the area'. Strong demand for property in London? Hold the front page! If you want to stick it to the man, you can sign the petition at That'll show 'em!

Want more reasons to despair? A mega-developer is proposing to take a bulldozer to the historic Norton Folgate buildings

And what the heck happened to Brentford's Lucozade sign?


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