February 2020

Brixton on the Move

Forum foothold in International House

At last we can confirm that we have negotiated a presence with 3Space, the managers of the former Council office space in International House. This will provide hot-desk space for our part-time administrator, a base for smaller-scale meetings, and an address for correspondence in case of changes among the Forum’s volunteer office-bearers.

We will be joining several other local projects already based in the building, so there may be some accidental extra meetings in the lobby! See also the final section of this bulletin.

Impact Brixton has moved

The Impact Hub has moved from the back of Pop Brixton to the former Photofusion Gallery space at 15 Electric Lane, on the 1st floor above the western end of the Market Row arcade. We understand that the previous cycle of meetings and events is being maintained.

To remind you, Photofusion themselves are now in International House -access to the gallery is from the 1st floor walkway to Brixton Recreation Centre, up the steps from Brixton Station Road and continue past the Rec entrance to the 1st floor entrance to International House.

Brixton £ Café back in action

The Brixton Pound Café has re-appeared, now at The Platform, the former public toilet block at 2 Ridgeway Road, SW9 7AH – the Loughborough Road end of Wyck Gardens. They are operating on Mondays & Tuesdays, 12-30 to 2 pm and 3 to 6 pm, offering lunch and supper made from surplus food on a pay-what-you-can basis. There’s also a drawing club for kids from 4 to 5-30 pm on these two days, with all art materials provided. Enquiries to Sean Roy Parker, food projects co-ordinator, kitchen@brixtonpound.org

Other days of the week, The Platform is operated by Loughborough Farm Café, open for breakfast 8-30 to 10-30 am, and lunch 12-30 to 3 pm, or brunch on Saturdays 10 am to 3 pm (closed Sundays).  There will continue to be occasional guest chefs and cookery workshops.  You can also rent the space to hold your own supper club or workshop event – enquiries to  ljcommunitycafe@gmail.com

Brixton Businesses in the balance

There are changes afoot among commercial café and restaurant operators too.  Thunderbird recently closed its upmarket fried chicken restaurant after just one year of trading.  It still has 3 other London sites and is backed by private equity investor Trispan, which also has a majority stake in Rosa’s Thai Café (with 18 sites nationwide).  This echoed the sudden closure of Meat Liquor in Market Row exactly a year earlier.

Despite this, Bird, another fried chicken chain, opened in Electric Avenue at the end of January, their first opening since the company was bought out of administration by Crown Partnership last year.  Other Side Fried earlier moved from one of the Pop Brixton shipping containers to one of the few arches on Atlantic Road that’s not obstructed by scaffolding propping up the railway platform above.

Of greater concern, Hondo Enterprises has been trying to push up rents for the more established businesses in the arcades. In particular, Nour Cash & Carry, in Market Row, is threatened with closure by 25 July.  There is already a petition to save this supermarket – see www.brixtonbuzz.com

Planning ahead

A bumper batch of Planning-related consultations are underway right now, some of which were introduced at the last Forum meeting on 30 January.  There are more details on the Consultation pages on the Lambeth Council website, www.lambeth.gov.uk

If you have specific concerns or queries, please share them with our colleagues at the Brixton Society, who are already working on responses – e-mail to planning@brixtonsociety,org.uk or see selected items on their website, www.brixtonsociety.org.uk

Brixton Livable Neighbourhood Consultation

The present phase is consulting on traffic restrictions and improving facilities for cyclists and pedestrians in 3 areas around Brixton:

– around Railton Road and the side streets that feed into it.

– around Ferndale Road, but considering the whole area between Acre Lane and Landor Road.

– the north-east quadrant, around Barrington and Loughborough Roads.

Closing date for comments on this stage is 7th March – see the dedicated website, www.brixtonstreets.commonplace.is

Enquiries to 07 860 180 545 or e-mail: brixtonln@lambeth.gov.uk

The next phase will follow on in May, and focus on 3 other areas:

– Brixton Town Centre generally.

– Streets west of Brixton Hill, from Blenheim Gardens northwards to Acre Lane.

– east of Brixton Hill, the area around St. Matthew’s Road.

Lambeth Local Plan – latest draft revision

This is the overall package of planning policies for the whole borough of Lambeth, and the first reference document for potential developers and their architects.  This latest draft revision replaces an earlier draft published for comments in late 2018.  Don’t panic when you see there are 500+ pages, because both the old and the new text have been included, and most of that is background information which developers will ignore anyway!  

What matters for us is a small number of policies and sections that deal with topical issues – for example:

– An Evening Economy Management Zone (far too small, ED8 and PN3(c));

– Safeguarding space for business and employment (ED2 & 3 and PN3(e));

– the size of dwellings provided by new building or conversion (H4/5/6);

– protecting existing housing (H3 & 11);

– the siting of hotels (ED14),

– Tall buildings (Q26).

There are also dedicated chapters on Brixton Town Centre (PN3), Stockwell (PN6) and Loughborough Junction (PN10).

The deadline for comments is 13 March.  We encourage you to share your concerns, and alert us to anything that would make life grimmer for Brixton residents.

Draft Design Code

The Council has also published a draft Design Code to expand on selected policies in the Local Plan.  Some of this merely replaces existing guidance on home extensions and new basements, but a critical section to examine will be that on Tall Buildings.  Lambeth has recently been willing to accept developments which are both big and ugly, so this section urgently needs to be tightened up.  A slightly longer timescale for commenting on this code (technically a Supplementary Planning Document or SPD) – 7th April.

Affordable Workspace

A shorter SPD, to amplify the updated policy in the Local Plan, which aims to safeguard some premises for local businesses, and in particular, to keep their rents affordable.

Sounds like a worthy aim, but will the wording be watertight enough to be effective?  Again the deadline for comments is 7th April.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Council is proposing adjustments to the charges it makes when new developments are completed, to help offset the costs of new infrastructure and community amenities that new apartments or business space will require.  There are indications that the Council is more receptive to over-dense developments because of the cash coming in if those developments go ahead.  Already CIL (and the earlier Section 106 payments) from developers have financed a number of new or upgraded amenities that the Council could not easily have funded from other means.  The deadline for comments is as for the Local Plan revisions, 13 March, and these last four documents can be found via the Consultation pages on the Council’s main website, www.lambeth.gov.uk 

Towers at Loughborough Junction

Loughborough Junction Action Group have alerted us to a current planning application for a massive development overlooking the Junction railway station, centred on existing workshop space in Hinton Road, Wellfit Street and Hardess Street.  This consists of 2 residential towers, one of 29 storeys and another of 20 storeys, making them the tallest of several proposals on this side of Brixton in the past year.  Application ref. is 19/04280/FUL if searching Lambeth’s Planning database, and deadline for comments is 25 February.

Other planning applications

Brockwell Park: a modest extension to the Community Greenhouses, to provide extra toilets, and better accommodate visiting school parties.

Application ref. still awaited so no deadline yet.

Rush Common: proposed refurbishment of the play area between Brixton Water Lane and the Brixton Orchard, application ref. 20/00467/RUS, comments deadline 2nd March.

Popes Road: Hondo’s plans for replacing the Sports Direct/ Flannels shops were recently displayed for comments, but it may be a while before they turn into a planning application.

The ground floor market stalls and performance space could work well, but the 22-storey office tower above is hard to love!  It may still be worth you sending comments to hello@yourbrixtonvoice.com or contacting the consultation organisers, Lowick Group, on (020) 3633 7192.

More News and Events

Full House for Tai Chi at Brixton Library 

With 66 people already registered, and another 20 on the waiting list, the free Saturday morning sessions at the library are now closed to new registrations.

The Friends of Tate Library Brixton are negotiating with the funders for these sessions to continue until 4th July.

We have been asked to point out that the same instructor moves up Brixton Hill afterwards to conduct Tai Chi sessions at Windmill Gardens, from 11 am to 12 noon each Saturday. The downside is that there is a charge for these later sessions, of  £3 (waged) or £1 (unwaged).

Brixton Windmill – 2020 programme

Opening dates for Brixton Windmill have now been confirmed, starting on 11/12 April and continuing on one weekend a month until 11 October (with an extra weekend on 19/20 September for London Open House).  Bookings for tours will be open a month in advance – see their website: www.brixtonwindmill.org/visit

After last year’s well-supported event, there will be another Beer and Bread Festival in Windmill Gardens in May – confirmation of date expected soon. 

You can also support your local Windmill when you shop at Tesco.  It’s one of 3 good causes competing for a donation from Tesco, which will be decided by whichever gets most blue tokens put in the “ballot box” as you leave the tills in local branches.  Remember to ask for the blue button tokens at the checkout!

Tennis Taster at Myatt’s Fields Park

On Sunday 1st March, 2 to 3 pm, a free coaching lesson – learn a new sport or improve your game.  To reserve a place, e-mail to manager@myattsfieldspark.info

Pop Brixton highlights

Sunday 23 February: The Youth Market returns to Pop Brixton, 12 noon to 6 pm.

Saturday 29 February: Mardi Gras Festival, with the old sea containers turned into a mini French Quarter, with live music from 3 pm.

All enquiries to info@popbrixton.org

Creative Writing Group re-launched

Brixton Community Base in Talma Road, SW2, are hosting sessions on Tuesdays, 12-30 to 3 pm, aimed at new participants. Sessions start on 3rd March and will continue once a month.  The sessions will be led by Shelley Silas. More information from info@brixtoncommunitybase.org 

Longfield Hall events

Friday 28 February: 7-30 pm, Behind the Bulge, a charmingly interactive Drag King solo show, full of song, smoulder and self-doubt, with the one and only Luke Warm.

Saturday 28 March: 7-30 pm, Cuba Night – food, cabaret, dance and film, celebrating all things Cuban.

Over 50s activities: Weekly daytime sessions, some free, some at subsidised rates, including Latin Dance, Yoga, Boxing Fitness, Ballet Conditioning, and of course the Longfield Voices community choir.  See their website for further details, www.longfieldhall.org.uk/events or call 020 7978 9153 or e-mail enquiry@longfieldhall.org.uk

Planning a Street Party?

If you are considering a street party or similar which requires a temporary road closure, the Council has reminded us of the deadlines for applications, as follows:

For events around the VE Day bank holiday, the deadline is 16 March.

For June and July events, the deadline is 1st April.

For August and September events, the deadline is 1st June.

For Car Free Day events, on 26 or 27 September, the application deadline is 24 July.

Enquiries to events@lambeth.gov.uk

Health and Social Care

Age UK Lambeth Volunteer drop-ins, 22 & 24 February

Two drop-in sessions for anyone interested in volunteering with the Independent Living and Care Partnership in Lambeth, on Saturday 22nd, 1 pm to 4 pm, and Monday 24th, 5 pm to 8 pm, both at the Vida Walsh Centre, 2b Saltoun Road, SW2 1EP.  Meet the teams and find out what opportunities are on offer – the Partnership are currently looking for help with Befriending, Advice, Hosts and Sporting activities.  More information from (020) 7346 6800, or see the website, http://lambethhilcp.org.uk/volunteering/

Suicide Prevention Training, 24 February

Lambeth Together is holding a free Half-Day Training Session on Monday 24 February, 10 am to 1 pm at 336 Brixton Road, SW9 7AA.  They would particularly welcome applications from groups offering welfare advice, debt counselling, food banks and other support for people in financial hardship.  Includes identifying early signs of distress and how to offer effective support.  To book, see website: https://bit.ly/2uq1IUs

Living Well Open Morning, 5 March

Are you interested in Employment and Volunteering opportunities in Lambeth?  If so, come to the Open Morning, 11 am to 1 pm at Mosaic Clubhouse, 65 Effra Road, SW2 1BZ.

There may still be scope for local organisations active in this field to reserve a stall.  All enquiries to Danny McDonagh, tel. (020) 7924 9657, e-mail to d.mcdonagh@mosaic-clubhouse.org or see their website, www.mosaic-clubhouse.org for this and other events:

Cancer Awareness Training, 4 March

This is aimed at anyone who can promote health and wellbeing in their community.  It will run from 9 am to 12 noon at 1 Lower Marsh, SE1 7NT (Room 407. 4th floor) on Wednesday 4th March.  It will be delivered by trainers from Cancer Research UK with nursing and pharmacy backgrounds, with emphasis on cancer prevention, lifestyle changes, screening and early diagnosis.  Book at https://www.eventbrite.com/e//lambeth-cancer-awareness-training-tickets-89954090105 or contact Louise Edlin, tel. 07 919 293 797 or louise.edlin@cancer.org.uk

Patient Participation Group seeks Digital Champions

Do you know individuals in the Brixton or Clapham areas who could help patients learn about digital services?

Could your organisation host talks and demonstrations of the new digital services in February/ March?

A growing number of health services, including GP services, are available on-line, and the aim is to boost the confidence of more patients to make use of them.  If you could help, contact Wai Ha Lam at the Lambeth Patient Participation Group Network, tel. 07 340 805 027 or e-mail: waihalam@lppgn.org.uk

Funding, Training and Support

Now that the Integrate Agency are circulating their own e-bulletins to community groups, we will be scaling down this section, but we will still provide occasional notices and reminders. If you are not yet receiving information from Integrate, remind them of your existence by contacting richard.davis@integrateagency.co.uk

News from Locality

Communities in Charge: The government has committed to set up a Shared Prosperity Fund to replace European Funds for economic development.  The Communities in Charge campaign seeks to put local communities directly in charge of allocating the funding.  Locality has commissioned a film to promote this, showcasing the work of a community centre in Hartlepool – watch the full film at www.locality.org.uk/cic

London Community Spotlight: Locality has started a 3-year programme, with help from City Bridge Trust, to shine a light on local community organisations in London.  There will be a series of information and training events, the first being on Tuesday 17 March, 11 am to 4 pm at Cambridge House, Southwark, free of charge.

For established community organisations that generate income, they are also offering access to Lighthouse, a diagnostic tool for an organisational health-check.  A free guided session can be provided, face-to-face, by e-mail or by phone.

Enquiries to Charlotte Stannard, Development Officer, on 07 917 709 418 or e-mail to: charlotte.stannard@locality.org.uk

Training for Small Charities

The Annual Skills Conference of the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) is being held on Tuesday 24 March in the Waterloo area.  You can access four topic sessions during the day – pick your top 6 topics when booking, to ensure you can attend at least 3 of your choice. Twenty expert speakers will be delivering workshops or briefings.  The event runs from 9 am to 3-30 pm, with networking drinks until 4-30 pm. at a total cost of £30.  Venue: Chadwick Court, 15 Hatfields (off The Cut), London SE1 8DJ, bookings via their website, www.thefsi.org 

Free Gardening Course for 18-26 year-olds starts 21 February

A late reminder about this course based at Slade Gardens Adventure Playground – it will run weekly for 6 Friday sessions, 12 noon to 3 pm with lunch provided, at the corner of Stockwell Park Road and Lorn Road, SW9 0AD.  Enquiries to louisa@urbanfrowth.london or see www.urbangrowth.london/getinvolved

Women in Business

Raise your profile, build your brand, widen your network of contacts, and even get some recognition for your achievements.  Yvonne Thompson of 7 Traits Leadership Learning has given early warning of the WinTRADE global awards, when a series of events over 8-12 June will culminate in presentations at the Park Plaza Hotel on 12 June.  Nominations for the Awards close on 30 March (and yes, you can nominate yourself) – all enquiries to yvonne.thompson@wintradeweek.com

Contact us

Share your news

For inclusion in the March issue, try to send it before 28 February.  These bulletins are usually put together in a hurry, so there may not be time to check details if we get incomplete or conflicting information. We don’t have a team of roving reporters or sub-editors, so your best bet is to send your news in a Press Release format that we can easily digest.  Please continue to send to the Forum Secretary at apiperbrix@aol.com

Forum Meetings

We have booked dates for quarterly meetings of the Forum through 2020, but extra meetings can be fitted in if there is demand (offers of extra meeting places also welcome)..  

The next scheduled Forum meeting will be on Thursday 23 April at 7 pm at the Vida Walsh Centre, 2b Saltoun Road, SW2 1EP (Effra Road end, facing Windrush Square and BCA).  Agenda details will be issued nearer the date.

Our mailing list

Please notify admin@brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org

– if you are changing your e-mail or other contact details;

– if you want to add a neighbour or colleague to our e-mail list;

– if you have moved away or no longer wish to receive these bulletins.

Snail-mail welcome too!  

If it suits, you can now post or deliver documents to us at 3Space (6th floor), International House, Canterbury Crescent, SW9 

Bear in mind that we will normally be picking up post only twice a week

The forum for community groups and individuals around Brixton