HS2

04.06.18

Business owners face closure as Network Rail pushes on with billion-pound asset sale

Business owners based in railway arches around the UK face closure as Network Rail goes ahead with plans to sell off infrastructure assets in a billion-pound sale.

A buyer will purchase all 5,500 arches by the end of the year, which will allow tenants to remain. Yet some business owners have already been forced to close due to rents enforced by Network Rail.

Network Rail have said that rent reviews happen periodically as part of normal business and are not connected in any way to the sale, and no business has experienced a rent increase anywhere near the amount stated – arguing the majority (85%) of rent reviews are agreed at an increase of 10% or less.

Deputy head of media at Network Rail Paula Whitworth said: "We are proud to have so many small, diverse, independent businesses thriving on our property estate – of the 4,455 arch spaces that we let out, fewer than 30 are directly let to national chains – and we don’t want that to change.

"We want to retain good tenants and when the time comes to review rents we always work with businesses to come up with solutions that work for them, including stepped increases to help them manage any changes. Once the sale is completed all current leases and arrangements will transfer to the new owner and be protected."

Action group Guardians of the Arches has been set up to combat the plans to sell the arches to private firms. On its website, the group says: “We are already under huge pressure from Network Rail. Some of us have already been forced to close. Others have had to move out of places they’ve been doing business in for decades, with terrible consequences for their own businesses and for the places and communities they have had to leave behind.

“This has to stop. It’s easy to forget this, but Network Rail is publicly owned. And the land it owns is public too.

“That means they have a responsibility to serve the public good. They say the government is forcing them to balance the books, so they have to sell off their assets – including the arches. But how many small businesses will go under as a result? Is that really serving the public good?”

But a spokesman for Network Rail told Sky News: “The sale of Network Rail's arches will enable the company to raise funds to improve the railway network for the benefits of millions of daily users.

“Some areas have seen marked regeneration in recent years which can lead to increased rents but we will always do our best to stagger any increase.”

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Network Rail announces cashflow boost for suppliers

02/04/2020Network Rail announces cashflow boost for suppliers

During the coronavirus crisis, Network Rail is awarding thousands of British firms a crucial boost to their cashflow, by declaring a move to imme... more >
Railway work proceeds to keep vital lines open

01/04/2020Railway work proceeds to keep vital lines open

Staff on nationally critical routes, such as the West Coast and Chiltern main lines, are keeping essential supplies and key workers moving during... more >
LNER donates to charity fighting food hunger

31/03/2020LNER donates to charity fighting food hunger

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is continuing to support its suppliers and communities during the COVID-19 outbreak by giving out fresh sandw... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >