‘A real slap in the face’: Brixton Arches traders fight back against Network Rail eviction

Defiant traders in the Brixton railway arches are refusing to give in to the planned Network Rail evictions without a fight. 

An online petition to stop the evictions has been signed by more than 21,000 people and a protest march, organised by the social action group Reclaim: Brixton, is confirmed for April 25.

The march will bring people and organisations in Brixton together to raise awareness of the impact of redevelopment in the area.

Co-founder of Reclaim: Brixton, Cyndi Anafo, 41, said: “Everybody seems to be on the same page about the inequalities that are occurring in the area and we’re all upset about the evictions and other threats to Brixton.”

“A lot of the changes in Brixton are progressive and really good, but it’s also about supporting the indigenous community who have really busted their balls to make it what it is now.”

In March Network Rail announced that all of the shops located in the arches along Atlantic Road and Brixton Station Road must relocate to allow for refurbishment work.

The redevelopment will take a year and rents are expected to rise dramatically, making many shopkeepers doubt they will be able to return.

Jose Cardoso, whose family have run A&C Continental Deli on Atlantic Road since 1990, said: “It’s been a real slap in the face. We’ve been turned into numbers.”

But Mr Cardoso said that the level of support from his customers and the community had been heart-warming.

“It’s put a lot of wind in our sails to know that people care about their local shops,” he said.

Network Rail has told current shopkeepers that they will be supported in returning to their premises.

A spokesperson said: “All existing tenants will be offered discounted rents on the newly created units, with stepped increases to allow them to plan for the future.”

Picture courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks

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