Charity landlord criticised for Hackney shop rent rise

Shops in Well Street market Campaigners wants to save shops in Well Street market

Shopkeepers in an east London market fear they may be forced out of business after a charity, which is their landlord, raised their rents.

About 25 shops in Well Street market in Hackney, where Tescos founder Jack Cohen began trading in 1919, said they faced rises of more than 100%.

St John Hackney Joint Estates Charity said it needed to bring the rents in line with current market rates.

Residents and Labour MP Meg Hillier have called for the market to be saved.

Shops 'struggling'

Hackney Labour councillor Ian Rathbone, who is secretary of Well Street Traders and Residents Association, said more than 5,000 people had backed a campaign to save the market.

He said: "It is quite a poor area and shopkeepers have been struggling for years to keep the market going.

Jack Cohen while serving in the Army Tesco founder Jack Cohen began trading from a barrow in the market in 1919

"Its very hypocritical of this charity, which actually supposedly gives money to the poor of Hackney, to actually just take it from other poor people in Hackney."

Some shops in the market, which was established in the 1850s, were served with eviction notices while others are in the process of renewing their lease, he said.

Noorjehan Baiyat, 51, who owns a shoe shop, said her annual rent had gone up from £6,000 to £18,000.

She said: "There's no way we can afford that sort of rent because we are just surviving on what we are earning. As a charity they should be helping us, not kick us out of our shops."

'A business transaction'

Ms Hillier, Hackney South & Shoreditch MP, asked the charity to "consider phasing rent increases".

Geoff Taylor from St John Hackney Joint Estates Charity, said the rises were open to negotiations.

The charity helps fund school projects, parenting courses, clubs for the elderly and alms houses and its work was not to "subsidise" businesses, he said.

"Our purpose is to raise money for local charities, we can't raise money from empty shops, so its absolutely imperative that we have businesses in these shops," he said.

"It's a business transaction, these are businesses, we have to act in a commercial business-like way and it has to be done in a commercial way and we have to charge market rents."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London

Weather

London

17 °C 8 °C

Features

  • chocolate cake and strawberriesTrick your tongue

    Would this dessert taste different on a black plate?


  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George leaving New Zealand'Great ambassadors'

    How New Zealand reacted to William, Kate - and George


  • Major Power Failure ident on BBC2Going live

    Why BBC Two's launch was not all right on the night


  • Front display of radio Strange echoes

    The mysterious 'numbers stations' left over from the Cold War era


  • A letter from a Somali refugee to a Syrian child'Be a star'

    Children's uplifting letters of hope to homeless Syrians


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.