Eviction of long-standing Kings Cross motorbike business

MotopsychoThe owner of the motorbike business Motopsycho, a long standing feature in South Kings Cross, currently residing at 18 Acton Street, is to leave the premises by August, in spite of the owner Keith Pollen in his own words, “always having paid his rent on time and never missing a single payment.”

Pollen, a father of three, who inherited the business several years ago from his mechanic friend Adam Murray, now finds himself in a quite worried state.

The garage supports his entire family and a few mechanic assistants. The closure would force upon him difficult decisions at a time already not easy due to the economic downturn of the past years.

“In the worst case I may have to start completely anew, and businesses such as this one rely on slowly building up contacts with motorcyclists, who know the location of the garage, rather than your e-mail or phone number.”

Pollen says it could take years to rebuild the trade at a new location and he is hoping he can find a replacement workshop close to the current location. He is appealing to anyone with suggestions of potential locations in the area nearby, from where he could continue to operate.

The reason for Pollen’s demise is the fact, that the landlord is clearing 18 Acton Street for refurbishment to modernise it and convert the entire building into flats. Pollen says, that legislation has changed recently, making it easier to convert commercial units into residential properties.  Apparently some of the residential tenants above the garage  have also been told to leave.

The history of the business goes back decades.  Prior to running the  garage from Acton Street, the business was run from a unit on Kings Cross Road, but moved eventually into the spacier premises in Acton Street.  Just a few years ago Pollen had to upgrade the garage for fire hazard safety at much personal expense.

It is yet another tale of a long standing blue collar businesses being forced to vacate the Southern side of Kings Cross. Recently the Jaguar garage on Gray’s Inn Road, also shut for good, with the rooms currently used as a make shift car-park.

If you have any info on premises large enough to sustain a motorcycle garage either drop into the garage or phone Keith on 020-7837 04 72 or email via the website www.moto-psycho.co.uk/contact.html

About Daniel Zylbersztajn

Daniel Zylbersztajn, is since 2012 correspondent to the German independent left of centre daily newspaper taz, die Tageszeitung and Jüdische Allgemeine, and a Pilates Teacher. Born in Germany but also raised in Holland and Israel, he is a long term resident of London Kings Cross (first in 1991), involved parent, local and social activist, and positive lifestyle advocate. He also held posts in research, and conflict work, a.o. for the Palestinian - Israeli peace village Wahat al Salam ~ Neve Shalom. He holds a BA in history and politics from SOAS and two Master degrees, in Urban Sociology (Goldsmiths) and Sports Coaching (Brunel). He is founding and committee member of Coram's Fields User Group, the parent and community voice of Central London's biggest and oldest children playground and was its first spokesperson and chair. Daniel tweets under @zylbersztajn
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2 Responses to Eviction of long-standing Kings Cross motorbike business

  1. I think the owner of the building has got this wrong. In most places, the law changed making it simple for a landowner change from commercial-to-residential (one of the Tories’ sillier changes to planning law). However, this does not apply to certain areas, especially in central London, where the Boroughs demanded exemption and got it (or some of it anyway). I understood that all land within the “CAZ” (Central Activities Zone) in London was excluded from this easy-convert change in the law. So Keith Pollen’s landowner may be mistaken in thinking he can get a simple conversion to residential.

  2. James Melly says:

    Really sorry to hear this. Keith is a nice guy and provides a very good service. I hope he doesn’t go far so I can carry on using him to fix my bike.

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