A young barber who has just opened up a new business in front of Peckham Rye Station could be forced to sell up within months, as the council presses on with plans to open up a new public square.
Adam Mizou, 27, is one of several business owners by the station who have been notified in writing of Southwark Council’s intention to compulsory purchase their leases if they do not come to an arrangement to relocate before the summer.
At that time the council hopes to submit a planning application to redevelop the area around the historic station, which will involve a number of businesses being vacated.
Adam has only just spent £10,000 opening his new enterprise, but says the council has refused to relocate him nearby because his business is not “unique” enough.
“I am the only one in the whole area who does European hair,” said Adam, who thought the plans to redevelop the station were still years in the future when he bought the lease.
“I was shocked. It will be very bad. In the first six months you don’t make any money anyway, so I’ll lose everything,” he said.
The manager of Jenny’s Cafe, which has been in the arcade for 40 years, says they are determined to stay put. “We want to be close to the station. We are going to fight to stay in Peckham. It’s not going to be easy for them,” said Seyit Kaya.
The branch manager of TSB bank facing onto Rye Lane said she had not received any written notification from the council of their plans, but Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Mark Williams, confirmed negotiations are underway with agents acting on their behalf.
Plans for a £25million revamp of the station, which involved bulldozing businesses and building flats, were halted in the face of huge public opposition early last year. Since then the council has been working with local architects to ask the community what they would like to see outside the area’s architectural showpiece.
Cllr Williams said: “We are working with local businesses to make this project a success, we want as many of them as possible to either re-locate back to the complete development or to be located as close as possible to the station.
“We have not issued formal notices to traders, but we have recently written to them with an update about the project.
“We will continue to discuss with them how the process will work, how they will be affected, how they can plan ahead, as well as relocation options and compensation. We will continue to offer as much support and guidance as possible.”