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Shoe repairman told to vacate Ilford station premises after 20 years to make way for Crossrail

Jimmy Papi, 56, in his shop Kristi's Shoe Repairs Jimmy Papi, 56, in his shop Kristi's Shoe Repairs

Thursday, April 3, 2014
9:53 AM

The owner of a shoe repairs shop has been told he must vacate his business premises of 20 years to make way for Crossrail.

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Jimmy Papi, 56, has received a letter from Crossrail informing him that he must close Kristi’s Shoe Repairs, which is attached to Ilford station in Cranbrook Road.

He said: “I was shocked to say the least, I have committed a lot of my life to this.

“If the shop wasn’t successful I guess I wouldn’t have been here that long. I don’t want to move elsewhere after I have put so much into this; it takes several years to establish yourself.”

Mr Papi, who first began repairing shoes 36 years ago, commutes every day from Brentwood where he lives with wife Tracey, 47, youngest daughter Katerina, 17, and eldest daughter Kristiana, 22, who inspired the shop’s name.

He said: “I have commitments to my family and so I really need to carry on working.”

Mr Papi’s loyal customers have already rallied around with a “few hundred” having signed a petition to keep him in business.

“I don’t know what outcome the petition will have but everyone has been very kind. There are some really genuine people who say they will miss my service. It would be nice to stay.”

A Crossrail spokesman said: “We understand this is potentially an unsettling time for Mr Papi.

“To allow Mr Papi the opportunity to plan for the future, the period of notice has been extended until April 2015.

“We have been in contact with him but will arrange for Transport for London to get in touch to discuss his concerns and to ensure he understands fully the compensation process.”

He added: “The land is required as part of major improvements to Ilford station that will benefit the thousands of passengers who use it every day.”

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