Bed firm set for David versus Goliath battle with Crossrail
Westbourne Green shop fights rail company’s plans to send in the bulldozers
An independent Westbourne Green bed maker is gearing up for a David versus Goliath battle with Crossrail to stop its site being bulldozed next year.
Big Table has had both its shop and workshop located on Great Western Road for almost 30 years but employees were shocked when Crossrail representatives walked into the store in June and served it with a compulsory purchase order to take over the site within three months.
The repossession was later delayed until next January but Crossrail have confirmed their plans to build a large electrical substation on the site.
Almost 100 people attended an emergency public meeting last week to discuss saving the bed and mattress maker with a 2,000-signature petition already collected in support of the business.
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London Assembly member Murad Qureshi says local concerns have not been taken onboard by Crossrail.
Speaking at the meeting, he said: “It’s a rare local manufacturing business and I am very proud to say that one of the few things that I have in my home that is made in London is my mattress from Big Table.
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“The building has already survived the Westway being built over it so I would like to think it can survive Crossrail.”
The business, which secured a 40-year lease in 1982, employs seven staff and is in the process of recruiting two young trainee apprentices. Its main building on Great Western Road dates back to 1901 and local residents argue the building is part of the area’s heritage.
Crossrail recently came up with a plan for Big Table to retain the shop building until 2013 with Network Rail occupying the rest of the site. It would then take control of the whole site from 2013.
Big Table director Stephen Bond said: “The Crossrail guys talk as though they are the law of the land. It seems as thought they can do what they want. If we were to leave there’s no chance of finding premises like this in a suitable part of London.”
A Crossrail spokeswoman said: “Crossrail is sensitive to Big Table’s concerns and has offered for the business to remain in its existing shop building until 2013 which would also enable Network Rail land behind the shop to be used in support of essential Crossrail tunnelling works from January 2012.
“Crossrail continues to work closely with Big Table to secure suitable alternative business premises.”