You’ve heard the tale. Independent business owners move into an affordable location. Business thrives, along with others nearby. Landlord hikes the rent and rates go up. Business owner goes back to square one. That’s the usual story of gloom for areas in the grip of gentrification in London – and it’s what looked like happening when Network Rail sold off a bunch of railway arches to private owners last year.
Yet this time there’s a plot twist, with a group of property tenants called Guardians of the Arches joining forces to fight back against the threat of rising rents. A crop of businesses – including mechanics, café owners and specialist food sellers (to name a few) – are joining forces to transform their east London-based campaign group into the country’s biggest commercial tenants association.
With communities falling down like dominoes in the capital, let’s hope this is a boost for the diversity of local businesses in London. If you’re down to help the Guardians unite in their landmark fight, support their crowdfunder now – and help make sure London’s railway arches can nurture the next generation of great independent traders.