Children's March for Save Our Shops Campaign
The Save Our Shops campaign is rapidly building momentum. Since launching just over a week ago, 1,500 have signed the petition to stop Dulwich Estate from imposing a 70% rent hike on the much loved retailers in Herne Hill. The debate is heating up with Dulwich Estate publishing a response to the campaign refuting the rent hike claims, with Vicky, the owner of Just Williams toyshop the first to have a 70% rent hike, robustly countering their arguments stating that Dulwich Estate represenatives failed to respond to her emails and requests for negotiation.
And the children, the young customers of Just Williams, are so heartbroken by the closure of their beloved toyshop, that they are going to stage a protest on Saturday 30th January. Dylan, six, said: “I feel sad because Just Williams is my favourite toy shop and I like it in its old place.” Jemima, 11, said: “I don’t want Just Williams to go. It’s magic, and I just love buying my toys from there and seeing all the other kids there as well.”
Media coverage is also spreading with the Londonist and South London Press covering the campaign.
The campaign continues to build momentum with West Dulwich shops joining forces as they too are being imposed 70% rent hikes. The very fabric of our local community is these local independent retailers. The spotlight is now firmly on landlords such as Dulwich Estate, the charity set up to educate the poor and now the rich, failure to engage with the very community that has generated its multi-million pound profits from its burgeoning local retail portfolio. It's the independent retailers, alongside an active community that has made Herne Hill the vibrant community it is today.
This isn't the first time Dulwich Estates' lack of enagement and opaque operations have left their mark. The landmark Half Moon pub, Herne Hill's oldest building, remains empty following the floods due to Dulwich Estate lack of decision making and engagement with their local community. This once vibrant pub, one or South London's best music venues, future is still uncertain, even with the backing of Boris Johnson to keep it as a live music venue. Its time Dulwich Estate, which as a charity which should be acting in the public interest considers the long term impact on the community of the decisions they make.
If you are interest in joining the Save our Shops campaign, the protest march will be held on Saturday 30th January at 3.30 outside Herne Hill station. Or alternatively sign the petition here - https://www.change.org/p/dulwich-estates-dulwich-estates-to-behave-reaso...
Or please post your views on this debate here. What do you think about the range of independent shops in Herne Hill? What do you think Dulwich Estate should be doing?