In January much-loved local toy shop, Just Williams, was forced to close after its landlord, the Dulwich Estate, raised rents by 70%. It is clear that the Dulwich Estate does not need to raise rents - the only reason for doing so is, in its own words, to "maximise revenues for the beneficiaries". In its last annual report the Dulwich Estate boasted record profits of £6.78 million (up from £6.26 million for 2013/2014). About 85% of its profits go to the three large local private schools while the four non-fee paying schools it also benefits receive only 15% of the charity's income.
By its actions the Dulwich Estate, along with Network Rail, has forced local businesses in the railway arches to close - benefiting its own narrow interests rather than the local community as a whole. But the fantastic response of local residents, supporting local businesses like Just Williams and the Half Moon pub, shows that we will not take these changes lying down.
Southwark Green Party demands that the Dulwich Estate complies with its charitable aims to provide a "tangible benefit to the community at large" and reverses its draconian rent increases, which are hitting not only local small businesses but also tenants in the privately rented properties it owns.