Makerspace on London Live - part of Guardians of the Arches crowdfunding campaign

(Dermot Jones) #1

Eleanor Cunningham from London Live came down and filmed a nice piece about the Railway Arches - yours truly tumbling out the words and great shots of @Mieke and @Jonty_Bottomley in the Woodshop – plus some filming around Herne Hill

I’ve been quite involved with the Guardians of the Arches (GotA) for some time now, and am part of the crowdfunding team – Makerspace hosted a local tenants meeting at the end of last year, and is a founding member of GotA

Super quick bit of background: Network Rail’s controversial sell-off of 5,200 railway arches went through in February. Two investment/property companies joined together as The Arch Co. to pay £1.56bn…Blackstone (USA) and Telereal Trillium (UK). As private companies they have obvious pressure to get maximum rents out of their acquisition…and that could be a problem for many arch tenants: railway arches have traditionally been cheap and cheerful workspaces: enabling entrepreneurs and makers to thrive. Nowadays – with the drive for residential property, and the weird increases in high street rents – they’ve become the last outposts of light industry in many areas and seen an influx of what would traditionally been high street occupations: breweries and bakers for exmple

GotA started as a campaign to prevent the sell-off. Now that the deal is done there’s a time imperative for arch tenants to band together to try and ensure there’s a chance for the long-term sustainability of arches as a vibrant, varied and vital part of the mix of our towns and cities: the next twelve months could be crucial

The crowdfunding campaign is to raise enough cash to turn a voluntary group into something more sustainable: to get someone on the payroll and dedicated full time to this important cause, and form the largest commercial tenants’ association the UK has ever seen

Check out the website for more info and share as much as you can: with arch tenants, influencers, and just in general. The story of how are arches are changing could soon be one of 'remember when there used to be local mechanics, metalworkers and joiners…or local industry of any kind". The reason this is important beyond just the tenants themselves is that most city planners agree that for a city to survive it needs a rich mix of residential, retail and industrial – with that mix at a local area you can have strong local communities. At the moment there isn’t really anything protecting that mix…and you can hardly expect a private company to be able to put that ahead of profits…

The Crowdfunder is here

(electrotech) #2

I’ve just made my donation. Good luck to us all.