Apart from being a somewhat iconic enterprise locally, the Big Table is precisely the kind of small business that is crucial to the country's economic recovery and the economic health of the area.
It was therefore deeply saddening that Crossrail served a Compulsory Purchase Order for the land on 24th June 2011 to make way for a substantial electrical sub-station as part of the scheme. While the Big Table won a temporary reprieve until January 2012, the closure still appears inevitable.
While the Big Table lies just outside the boundaries of Westminster North its closure is a pressing issue for my constituents and I am therefore completely committed to trying to save Big Table and to supporting local residents and other representatives in their efforts to find a solution. This is not a political issue and representatives of all political parties are working together to find a solution. As the Rt Hon Malcolm Rifkind MP (Kensington) put it: "My position is the same as Karen's. Every effort should be made to find an alternative to demolition".
To work towards this aim I have made representations to various stakeholders and recently wrote again to Crossrail, Transport for London, Kit Malthouse AM, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Sir Malcolm in advance of the public meeting held on 9th November.
I remain heartened by the willingness of residents to take a stand on this issue as well as the degree and vigour of opposition displayed by Councillors from both local authorities. Local opposition to the scheme continues to build and alongside demonstrations Labour Councillors in Kensington are presenting a petition to their Full Council.
I visited the site again myself on Saturday to discuss potential solutions including locating the sub-station on the plot in such a way that allows the Big Table to remain in some form and alternative locations on the other side of the Great Western Road. Crossrail need to give urgent consideration to these or other solutions that could save this important local business.