London Fields traders fighting Network Rail rent hikes take Guardians of the Arches campaign national

Traders from Chu's Garage, E5 Bakery, Maxwell & Pinborough, and Sulamen Ozer. Picture: Polly Hancock

Traders from Chu's Garage, E5 Bakery, Maxwell & Pinborough, and Sulamen Ozer. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A group set up by traders in the London Fields arches to tackle huge rent hikes from Network Rail has rolled out its campaign nationally.

The Guardians of the Arches was formed early last year as a way to collectively tackle increases of up to 300 per cent, which were revealed in the Gazette.

This newspaper has covered the battle extensively and helped traders in setting up a meeting between MP Meg Hillier and Network Rail bosses last year.

But then in March we reported a group of 10 traders had all but lost their battle after they were given deadlines to sign up to new contracts or leave, which many of them were forced to do.

Ms Hillier has now helped to schedule another meeting in Parliament, which will take place next month.

The firms have always believed Network Rail is trying to drive up the value of the arches before selling them to the highest bidder to raise much-needed funds.

Ahead of that meeting they have written to transport secretary Chris Grayling asking him to stop the sale and help them come up with a workable solution.

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The letter reads: “We have a simple request. Stop this sale of the railway arches. Stop the unnecessary destruction of local businesses and local economies all over the country. Instead, meet us and talk to us about how we can reach a settlement for the future.”

To read the letter in full and support the campaign, click here.

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