The railway arch economy is a British success story. Don’t kill it, Network Rail | Ben MacKinnon | Opinion | The Guardian
As a tenant of three railway arches in Hackney that house the bakehouse I set up almost a decade ago, it was galling to hear that Network Rail will be selling off the thousands of Victorian railway arches they own, in a deal worth £1.5bn, to international property giant Blackstone.
When we first learned about plans for this short-termist sale over a year ago, I and other tenants set up a campaign to stop it: Network Rail is one of the country’s biggest small-business landlords and the sell-off could put hundreds of community businesses at risk. We were originally assured by the transport minister, Jo Johnson, that he would look over our proposals before the sale went ahead – something he sadly didn’t stand by.
I embarked on my journey to become a baker back in 2010. I lived in Hackney, and it was here that I wanted to be based. I wanted to use local ingredients, trade as part of the local community and source ingredients from farms in the region, which I could visit. I started by using a local restaurant’s wood-fired pizza oven and delivered bread around the local area by bicycle. As my confidence grew I began to look for a permanent home for my business, which I went onto christen the e5 Bakehouse. The railway arch economy is a British success story. Don’t kill it, Network Rail | Ben MacKinnon | Opinion | The Guardian