The London Diamond Bourse (LDB) has warned that it could move from its historic Hatton Garden home if members feel it is no longer a viable base in the wake of huge changes taking place within the area.
The LDB is preparing to review the situation and confirmed today that it is planning to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) where members will get the chance to discuss its future.
The LDB’s current lease still has three years to run, but COO Victoria McKay wants the organisation to look long-term.
“We have made no secret of the fact that our lease ends in July 2019 – it is imperative that we make plans beyond that date,” she said. “As a membership association, the EGM is an ideal opportunity to consult with our members as to their feelings about the various options available to LDB beyond 2019.”
Huge rent increases in response to Crossrail services in the area have raised concerns that traditional jewellery businesses in the Hatton Garden district could be forced out.
According to an Evening Standard report, Hatton Garden rents have doubled to £70 per square foot in the last three years.
McKay told the paper that although retailers might remain in the area, workshops would face pressure to move. “It’s not a case of a mass exodus yet, but we do have a big problem as I think the workshops and offices will be forced to move elsewhere and then we will become fragmented,” she said.
The LDB has more than 300 members who will be invited to have their say on what it should do once its own current lease expires.
“We are duty bound to consult with our members and it is of huge importance that we gauge their feelings on our future in the first instance,” added McKay. “Once we have held our EGM, we plan to be as transparent as possible and keep the rest of the industry informed of our position.”