Friday 17 December 2021

LETTER: Council and developer push out our small family company in Wembley with a 'take it or leave it' CPO offer


Dear Editor,

We own a company supplying packaging to the jewellery and gift trade, which has been successfully trading for over 65 years.

For many years we were happily situated in our own approximately 20,000sq ft warehouse and factory in Highbury, Islington.

Then one day in 2000 we were presented with a proposed Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to make way for the new Emirates Arsenal stadium and luxury flats. Arsenal working together with Islington Council decided they needed our premises and from that time on they made our lives a living hell. Eventually the CPO came through in 2005 and the offer of compensation and help they were obliged to offer, was derisory and to finally get a settlement cost hundreds of thousands fighting in court. We knew we could not fight Arsenal, especially with the Emirates and Islington council behind them. All we wanted was a fair deal to help us move and to compensate us for all the troubles, which unfortunately we did not get. The grief and heartache that went together with this episode is unforgettable and definitely took years off the Directors’ lives.

However, in 2007 having no option and with limited funds, we moved to much smaller premises in Wembley, Middlesex. This time we were renting commercial offices and warehouse from old business friends who were downsizing their business. We had a good relationship with them for many years and were offered favourable terms to stay. We had a solid business plan in place based on our income and expenditure, taking inflation into account on a yearly basis and we were all happy and contented.

Imagine our surprise when in 2019/2020 we were once again presented with a CPO situation. This time it was CBRE / St George who working with the local Brent council had bought up huge tracts of land in Beresford Avenue to redevelop for housing.

This means that we are once again confronted with a situation where we are going to be evicted from our premises with no recourse to help or assistance from the local council or CBRE.

Whilst we have no argument with the council for trying to put more family housing in place, we really feel that we should be compensated for, and in a correct manner. This means that we require realistic financial help to move to suitable premises that fit our requirements, and so far, this does not appear forthcoming, and all our requests have been refused.

It therefore appears that, to our shock and disgust, we will have to move shortly from our current premises and fund most of the move ourselves. The amounts on offer are derisive and are nowhere near enough to move comfortably and set ourselves up once again.

Whilst it is incumbent by law for CBRE to find us alternative premises, very little suitable places have been offered to us. Furthermore, any comparable premises that we have found suitable, are higher in costs than we have been paying and continue to pay currently and are rejected out of hand as ‘being too expensive’.

When we enquired why the financial offer re moving did not include help to meet these ‘forced on us’ increased costs, like higher rents and rates etc, for similar size area, we were basically advised that either you take our offer or suffer in silence!

This we feel is extremely unfair and definitely not what we require or wish to hear.

Financial blackmail is sickeningly ugly, and we who are the ‘piggy in the middle’ have no say whatsoever.

We cannot believe that in the 21st Century – a private company in bed with local government can run roughshod over a small company, that has been trading for many years and that offers employment to local people, and they can just push us out with no real recompense.

We are currently at a standstill.

We have a really sinking feeling that this is going the way of our previous CPO with no one to address these venture capitalists who can run roughshod over people with absolutely no comeback.

Finer Packaging

Lilia House

14 Beresford Avenue

Wembley Middlesex



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just what you'd expect from this awful Council and their greedy developer friends/partners (in what). Tower Block Tatler, Ego Butt and Dr Mclennan are at it yet again. It is surely time for them to go now? They pretend to be there for local businesses, and here they are destroying one, they pretend to be builing Council Housing (but they are not at Social Rents), they only care for their developer friends, we ask why are they so important?

For the sake of Brent, go now.