Ravi Raveendran is a man with a mission. You may have heard his name before, or seen reports of his embryonic campaign, because Ravi has taken his story to as many places as possible - to all the trade press, the local papers, his trade associations, his council, his MP.
He trades as Colombo Minimarket in a parade of four shops outside Alperton tube station. He’s been there 20-odd years, but he’s going in December - along with the rest of the parade - chucked out by Transport for London (TFL) which is the landlord and is developing the site. Then it will go up for auction.
TFL can do this, without warning and without any compensation, because the four tenants are all outside the Landlord and Tenant act. When they renewed their leases at various intervals it was just take it or leave it.
None of them stand a prayer of getting any of the four units back. As Ravi says, his would be perfect for one of those parcel lock-ups that are springing up everywhere. Or Tesco might offer to knock two into a Tesco Express.
Ravi rages: “This is a community; we are not inside London.” He adds: “I do Oyster cards, news, top-ups… I get regular customers every day.”
He maintains that all TFL’s new leases are outside the Landlord and Tenant act. “It’s become the norm. They just want to maximise profit.”
So, a petition will be started at Alperton. Ravi is also well connected through various trade associations and will take his campaign to other retailers.
This isn’t just a ‘save my little kiosk please’ campaign. He wants a policy change.