Following the occupation of Tony's Café on Broadway Market, another shop on the same street is also set for eviction.
Spirit, who runs the Nutritious Food Gallery at no. 71 has a court date on 27th January and may be evicted soon after that.
A statement from the occupiers of 34 Broadway Market follows:
71 Broadway Market is the next on Hackney Council's hit list. It's tenant, Spirit, has been living and working there since 1993. He is threatened with immediate eviction pending the outcome of his appeal court case on 27 January at Shoreditch County Court.
When he first rented the building from Hackney Council it was derelict and Spirit had to invest £40,000 of his own money to turn it into a thriving business. As he said: “My blood and sweat are in this place.”
The Nutritious Food Galley is the only shop selling West Indian food and produce in the whole area between Hackney Road and Ridley Road Market. If it closes, it wont just be Spirit who loses out, but a big part of the local community!
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
When Hackney Council auctioned off many of its commercial properties from 2000-2003 it should have given Spirit, the long-term lease holder, first option to buy his property. At the time Spirit made it clear to all parties involved with the sales that he was determined to buy 71 Broadway Market and had the means to do so.
Spirit went to the Council’s auctioneers on the morning of the auction and signed a document that he believed was a contract of sale. He handed over a cheque for £10,000 as a deposit to buy the property for £100,000. Just hours later as he was attending the auction, Spirit watched his property go up for sale again! The Council’s auctioneers sold the building to an offshore investment company based in Nassau for £85,000 - £15,000 LESS than Spirit had offered to pay for it!
Six days later the auctioneers, Nelson Bakewell, returned Spirit’s cheque to him without explanation and they have refused to say why the cheque was returned ever since. Hackney Council has never been able to explain why this happened, yet they still refuse to seek justice for Spirit.
THE COUNCIL HAVE FAILED SPIRIT AND THE PEOPLE OF HACKNEY BY SELLING 71 BROADWAY MARKET!
• Why did they sell it for LESS money to a developer?
• Why have they deprived the local community of an essential and unique grocery store?
• Why have they allowed a well-loved and hardworking family man to be driven from his home and livelihood?
• Hackney Council have never offered compensation to Spirit for the money he invested into the property nor have they offered him any alternative accommodation for himself and his two young children.
COME TO THE PUBLIC MEETING ON 16th JANUARY!
7.30pm-9.30pm at St. Michael's Hall, corner of Lansdowne Drive and Lavender Grove, E8.
Jessica Crowe, Deputy Mayor of Hackney will be there and you can put your views directly to her!
SUPPORT SPIRIT OUTSIDE THE COURT ON 27th JANUARY, 10.30A.M.
Support Spirit at his Court Appeal against eviction at Shoreditch County Court, 19 Leonard St, EC2.
Broadway Markey occupation feature and updates on libcom.org news