A London car mechanic has launched a crowdfunding campaign to save his garage and two other railway arch businesses.
Len Maloney, who has run JC Motors in Haggerston for two decades, has teamed up with TripSpace Yoga & Dance and Signature Brew E8 to raise the £30,000 required to bring their properties into a community land trust (CLT).
CLTs are non-profit, community-based organisations run by volunteer directors who develop housing and other assets, such as business units, that are owned and controlled by the community.
As part of the campaign, Len has recorded a cover version of Ben E. King’s 1961 classic, “Stand by Me”. Anyone who supports the Crowdfunder will be invited to a live performance at the neighbouring brewery in December.
Earlier this year, Len faced eviction after Transport for London (TfL) tripled his rent. He said: “TfL is demanding that I pay £70,000 in rent arrears because they tripled my rent in 2018. If I do not pay this amount in total, TfL expects me to vacate my arch and leave Hackney.”
By bringing the properties into a CLT, the arches would be saved from private sale and rents kept at an affordable level.
Len told the Hackney Citizen: “If we allow these big landlords to push for as much money as possible, they’re going to take away the businesses that are important to local people. The connection I have to people here – that doesn’t grow on trees.
“All I’m seeing is corporate heavy duty businesses coming in, and the landlords are favouring them. I do not see young people walking into those businesses for apprenticeships.”
At the time of writing, with one day to go, the crowdfunding campaign had reached £24,000 of the £30,000 target. Click here to donate.
Source: Hackney Citizen