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Mr Bexfield, who has already garnered a substantial following on Twitter as well as extensive media coverage for his call, told ATG that he started the campaign after new owners Meyer Bergman told him his own lease would not be renewed when it expired in 2013 because he "didn't fit the look".

On looking into the property company's £5m plans further, he was horrified by what he saw in the application put before Westminster Council - and especially when he found out who the architect was and what he had to say about Burlington Arcade.

"The plans include installing three large stainless steel art installations, painting over the traditional brick façade inside and installing uplighting. None of this is in keeping with this unique 1819 Regency arcade, which was created to house independent traders," he said.

Replacing the current flooring with marble could also prove risky, he argued, as the entrances often become very wet when it rains.

And Mr Bexfield is very concerned about what architect Peter Marino is reported as saying in an interview with Esquire magazine that comes out in November. Referring to Burlington Arcade as "an historic thing", Mr Marino defends the transitory nature of his designs, and is quoted saying: "I like that my stores aren't built to last".

Many of the 73 shop units in Burlington Arcade are currently leased to jewellers, with a range of luxury goods and clothes shops making up most of the remainder. From what Mr Bexfield has learned, the owners hope that a more contemporary look will attract premium luxury brands such as Prada, Gucci and Chanel, but this would mean knocking a number of units together to make larger selling spaces.

Discussions over rents also alarmed Mr Bexfield.

"The previous owners bought the arcade five years ago for £64m and sold it for £104m. They renewed my lease in 2008 with a 23.5% increase in rent - it's about £400 per square foot at the moment. Now, though, the new owners want to impose a 40 to 60% increase as well as a nine per cent charge on the businesses' entire turnover."

Although some units currently have existing rent levels protected under law, Mr Bexfield believes that a growing divide in payments between longer standing tenants and new leaseholders will prove untenable before long.

Details of the plans, along with instructions on how to make representations to Westminster Council on them, are available on his company website at www.bexfield.co.uk, but any views must be submitted by the end of the month. His Twitter campaign can be found at twitter.com/#!/Danielbexfield

Mr Bexfield, who says he has put his own future in the arcade on the back burner while he deals with the wider issue, said: "In ten years' time, if I'm not in the arcade, I want to be able to walk through it and say I had a hand in saving it."

By Ivan Macquisten