Murky Depths

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Deptford, Transport

Businesses complain of huge rent hikes after Network Rail forced to sell arches

Arches beside Deptford station

Lewisham Council have written to the Arch Company who purchased spaces under railway lines after businesses complained of “facing huge rent rises”.

Network Rail were forced to sell arches across the country by the Conservative Government in 2018. The scheme was later heavily criticised by the Public Accounts Committee.

Deptford arches

The National Audit Office has also criticised the scheme. It’s claimed in this Guardian article that: “The National Audit Office (NAO) also found that the rent charged for 5,261 properties sold to Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners could increase by 54% over the next three to four years.”

Selling arches also threatens future engineering work and rail upgrades with added expense and an even more protracted system.

The sale produced one-off income for Network Rail but lost the scope for decades of future revenue to support the rail network. In many nations, rail networks are supported by income from business operating from land around and below lines and housing development around stations. This helps cross-subsidise operations plus provides a larger customer base for rail services.

Network Rail had themselves come in for criticism in places for increasing rents before the sale, though there is speculation that occurred to gain a higher sale price.

3 Comments

  1. Graham

    We need more rent caps put in place by both the Government anfd Local Authorities so rents and business rates are set at reasonable and affordable levels.

    Otherwise a lot of both business and residential properties will be left empty and unoccupied for many years. Which does not help the local economy and could result in a loss of local jobs if these businesses are forced to close.

    • Michael Peacock

      Graham
      We need more rent caps put in place by both the Government and Local Authorities so rents and business rates are set at reasonable and affordable levels.

      Otherwise a lot of both business and residential properties will be left empty and unoccupied for many years. Which does not help the local economy and could result in a loss of local jobs if these businesses are forced to close.

      FEBRUARY 13, 2020

      Absolutely agree with you Graham – ‘Network Rail were forced to sell arches across the country by the Conservative Government in 2018. The scheme was later heavily criticised by the Public Accounts Committee.’
      How dumb & shortsighted whoever collectively imposed this should hang their heads in shame.

      To the Arch Company – you are obviously out to bleed everyone that pays your outrageous rents dry – well when they all pack up shop – and you get no income – ‘I leave it with you.’

  2. You would think the thought of empty units would give Arch pause for thought. Further, there are quite a few permanently shuttered units already.

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