Creating a better Brixton

Brixton is world renowned for its extraordinary character, rich diversity and cultural heritage. Its economic centre is small, tightly knit and while there is a strong focus on retail, food and drink it is also home to a small, but growing creative cluster. It is surrounded by residential neighbourhoods, many with their own strong identities, as well as an important community living in the heart of the town centre.

We are working with all our partners to make Brixton a stronger, fairer and more prosperous place. As a part of this, we have four key campaigns:

Better Schools   Better Streets   Better Homes   Better Jobs

Council-led regeneration in Brixton could see over £350 million invested in the town centre, with an extra £2.2million spent in the local economy by new residents alone. As a council, we are committed to ensuring this growth benefits everyone and that it brings opportunities for residents in Brixton and throughout the borough.

The Brixton Economic Action Plan

Brixton Economic Action Plan overlaid on external image of Electric AvenueThe Brixton Economic Action Plan (2017) sets out some of the key economic challenges and opportunities facing local businesses, residents and investors. It sets out seven key areas for the Council and its partners to focus on. Key conclusions include that while Brixton should be looking to meet and surpass the London average in key higher value sectors, given its advantages in terms of connectivity, skilled local workforce and other amenities, it does not have enough workspace to facilitate growth and realise its full potential. The report also underlines a requirement to increase levels of employment in the town centre to support its day-time economy and to provide a range of spaces, including affordable space, to ensure the economy retains its diversity and continues to grow and develop. Read the Brixton Economic Action Plan 2017 final report.

Your New Town Hall

Aerial view of how the new Town Hall and civic centre will look.The Your New Town Hall project has rejuvenated Lambeth’s historic Town Hall, which is now open to the public. The refurbishment has preserved its features and made it more open and accessible to residents. It will also reduce Lambeth Council’s core office buildings from 14 to two, saving at least £4.5m a year.

The project will feature quality office space for local enterprises and start-ups; an energy efficient civic building with customer centre and council offices; landscaped public areas; 219 new homes, 47 per cent of which will be classed as affordable homes; and a new cycle hub with changing/shower facilities and a café. You can find out more about the Town Hall project.

Somerleyton Road

Somerleyton RoadOver a number of years, Brixton Green, Ovalhouse Theatre and Lambeth Council have been working together to bring over 300 new homes, a theatre, a nursery, a chef school and much more to Somerleyton Road. A planning application for Somerleyton Road was approved by Lambeth’s planning committee on Tuesday 15 December 2015 and the Council is now working through a detailed delivery strategy and procuring contractors before the start of the first phase.

Brixton Central Masterplan

Brixton Central Masterplan

We have been developing long-term plans for the area that includes the current Pop Brixton site, International House, the mainline train station, and the land in-between the tracks off Valentia Place. We call this project the Brixton Central masterplan.

In mid-2018 we expect to publish a refresh of the draft masterplan for consultation and a delivery plan, so watch this space.

Pop Brixton

Pop Brixton entranceA partnership between Lambeth Council and operator Make Shift, Pop Brixton has become a thriving destination for new business, affordable workspaces, food and drink, retail outlets and community projects. It is a temporary project, making positive use of the land whilst the Council establish its plans for the long-term future of the site.  We recently concluded an evaluation of Pop Brixton’s first two years, which can be found here (and the executive summary, here). The project is home to 47 businesses, supporting nearly 200 FTE jobs, with nearly three quarters of businesses owned by Lambeth residents and three quarters of employees living in the borough. Moreover, the average tenant purchases 40% of goods locally too. The project has also generated nearly 5,800 tenant volunteer hours and supports six social enterprises benefitting from sub-market rent levels. Pop is also home to Impact Hub Brixton, which was set up with grant from the Council and provides affordable co-working space and a programme of events and support with a focus towards social entrepreneurs.

International House

International HouseInternational House is an eleven storey office block owned by Lambeth Council. Council staff will vacate the building and move to the Your New Town Hall complex by mid-2018.  The ambition is to rent International House to a specialist workspace operator for five years. The space has the opportunity for a mix of different types and sized businesses, including studios, offices and co-working space. The council will seek an operator to run the space in a way that reflects the council’s economic objectives for the borough, including factoring in affordable workspace into their business plans.

In 2014, the Council acquired the head lease of the building, having already been the freeholder. This move provided greater flexibility in determining the future of the building. Its longer-term future, which could see the building being demolished, will be decided through the Brixton Central masterplanning process, which is due to be progressed further later this year.

The Brixton Townscape Heritage Initiative

Fruit and veg corner shop in BrixtonThe Brixton Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) will ultimately see £2.6 million investment in the town centre, with funds coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lambeth Council. The money is available for Victorian properties on Electric Avenue and Atlantic Road that have been identified as at risk.  We have completed 2 projects to date, with more in the pipeline.

Grants could cover up to 85% of works are available to property and business owners.  Eligible works include bringing empty residential and commercial premises back into use, upgrading windows, shop fronts and signage and repairing or reinstating historic architectural details. If you think you might be eligible, contact Ellie Cook at ecook@lambeth.gov.uk.

Brixton Public Realm Strategy

Aerial view of the new paving on Electric AvenueThe streets of Brixton add to the character of the town centre; they are home to its markets and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In 2014, following on from a recommendation in the Brixton Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), the Council, working with local people, produced the Brixton Public Realm Report. The proposals in the report are initial thoughts on what could happen, not completed designs. Since the strategy was finalised the Council has now delivered projects on Electric Avenue and Canterbury Square (outside the police station) and has worked up more detailed designs for Atlantic Road and part of Coldharbour Lane and Somerleyton Passage and Somerleyton Road.

Street Market Masterplan and Action Plan

Bustling Brixton street marketBrixton’s street markets are a vital ingredient of what makes Brixton diverse, creative and independent. They part of the very fabric of community, commerce, heritage and place. The Street Market Masterplan and Action Plan has been developed by the Council, working with market experts, Quarterbridge, researchers ROI and architects Gort Scott. It is based on extensive survey, consultation and research, with market traders, local shoppers and members of the public attending numerous events, street market pop ups and consultations to help us shape the final report and masterplan. We will be consulting on a final report in May 2018.

Once the plan is finalised, a project steering group will be established to oversee the delivery of the report. The work has already guided the first stage of improvement work to the street markets, at Electric Avenue and will be used to inform and secure funds for future improvement work to the markets at Pope’s Road and Brixton Station Road.

Electric Avenue

Electric Avenue at nightThe Electric Avenue works, completed in 2016 are the first phase of a wider Street Market Masterplan and a key project in the Brixton Public Realm Strategy. The investment has included new paving; new market stalls and gazebos; improved stall layout to improve pedestrian movement; and the hugely popular Electric Avenue rooftop illuminated sign and painted Pope’s Road bridge signage. The improvements have also led to changes in the way that the market is managed and waste is collected. A document summerising the story of the improvement works can be found here.

The £1m investment was funded by the Mayor of London’s High Street Fund, Lambeth Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The High Street Fund programme also funded a number of complimentary projects, such as improvements to the Pope’s Road toilets, card payment consoles for market traders, the Brixton £ cash machine, and the Impact Hub Brixton space at Pop Brixton. The Council is currently evaluating this wider programme and will publish the findings later in 2018.

Canterbury Square public realm improvements

Canterbury Square, BrixtonFollowing publication of the Brixton Public Realm Design Study in 2014, Lambeth Council engaged Urban Movement to develop public space improvements for the area in front of Brixton Police Station.

The new public space, Canterbury Square, aims to create a social, attractive and relaxing space for local people, and visitors to Brixton. The completed project includes new shrubs and tree planting and materials such as self-binding gravel, which reduces the amount of surface water entering the drainage system. The project has also provided new seating and cycling parking.

The project builds on the series of Pop-up Parks held on the site during the design phase and informed by these includes new permanent stone and timber installations, which encourage children’s play as they pass through.

Atlantic Road & section of Coldharbour Lane public realm improvements

Atlantic RoadThe Council has been working with the Brixton BID, Brixton Neighbourhood Forum,

Brixton Society, Brixton Market Traders Federation, Ovalhouse Theatre and architects Metropolitan Workshop, to understand the issues facing Atlantic Road, and the section of Coldharbour Lane between Atlantic Road and Somerleyton Road.  The street can be congested with cars, vans, lorries, buses and cyclists, and the narrow pavements can be crowded. This can make it difficult for businesses, intimidating for pedestrians and cyclists, and confusing for visitors.

The project then considered ideas for how a new layout could make it more welcoming, attractive, usable and safer. The Council worked up a bid for funds to Transport for London’s Liveable Neighbourhoods fund, to deliver the improvements. Unfortunately, it narrowly missed out, but we are now actively considering how we can secure the necessary money to deliver this important project.  Watch this space!

The Brixton Recreation Centre

Brixton RecIn 2015 Lambeth Council published an independent report on a range of refurbishment options for Brixton Recreation Centre. Specialist engineers and surveyors, working with architects Stride Treglown, identified the scale of refurbishment work to the Rec necessary to secure the building’s long term future. The report recommends a two phase investment strategy which would allow the Rec to keep running for the next five to seven years while the Council seeks funding for more extensive refurbishment, estimated to cost between £20m – £45m.The report is split into Part 1 and Part 2 and can be found by following the links. Lambeth council has already earmarked £6m to carry out vital maintenance and repairs to the Rec as Phase 1.

Brockwell Hall

Brockwell HallBrockwell Park is now an increasingly popular destination with park-users and high profile events organised by the Council and others. In 2013, supported with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Council undertook major restoration to the park.

Brockwell Hall is located in the centre of the park, but its contribution to the life of the park is limited despite its recognised heritage value. Working with local community group, Brockwell Park Community Partners, the Council has now submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for grant to restore and re-use the Grade II* listed building, its coach house and stable block. The restoration and re-use of Brockwell Hall aims to conserve its fabric, share its history, celebrate its architecture, secure its future, and root it in the local community. Watch this space!

Loughborough Junction Masterplan

Multiple trains crossing some of the bridges in Loughborough JunctionThe Loughborough Junction Masterplan is being developed working with architects Hawkins/Brown.  The document which will set out a vision for the future of the local centre and the wider neighbourhood. This could include expanding the town centre, exploring the potential of key development sites and improving the local environment.

The masterplan, which has been produced in partnership with the local community, has already helped to drive positive change in the area, with the Council successfully securing funding to deliver the LJWorks project as a first phase, while private land owners are bringing forward proposals for a number of others sites. A series of public realm projects are also being completed in the area and the emerging masterplan is informing the partial review of the local plan, including a review of the town centre boundary. For more details on the masterplan, please visit the project LJ Masterplan website.

LJWorks

Artist impression of LJ Works, a two storey building right to the roadThe project will create a variety of affordable workspaces in the heart of Loughborough Junction, on a site opposite Wyck Gardens on Loughborough Road. The buildings have been designed by Architecture 00 and Public Works, working with the local community. They will include a mixture of workshops and studios and Mission Kitchen, a shared cooking space. We are working with partner organisations Green Man Skills Zone and Tree Shepherd to provide a programme of business support and training. The project also secures the future of the Loughborough Farm food growing project, which will expand across the whole site, creating opportunities for the whole community to get involved. More details can be found here.

The site will be initially managed by experienced local workspace provider, Meanwhile Space, with the aim of handing over management to the community in the next 5 years.

Brixton Windmill Education Centre

Watercolour of Brixton WindmillThe 200 year old, Grade II* listed Brixton Windmill sits within the Blenheim Gardens Estate.  The mill has been through periods of dereliction and restoration and, working with the Friends of Windmill Gardens, it recently benefited from investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lambeth Council. This also facilitated the development of a schools and adult education and events programme.

With this education programme at risk due to lack of available space, Lambeth Council agreed to fund the construction of an education centre.  Local architects Squire and Partners developed free preliminary designs, while the Council funded the Friends of Windmill Gardens to work with specialist consultants to produce a business plan to support their work once the building was opened.

The education centre secured planning permission in March 2017.  A contractor has now been selected with work due to begin in April 2018.

Brixton Road Bridge

Brixton Road BridgeLambeth Council, the Brixton Business Improvement District and the Brixton Design Trail ran a design competition to install a new design for the Brixton Road railway bridge to replace the ‘B OUR GUEST’ sign, which has come to the end of its life. This new gateway feature will be the third to be installed after the Electric Avenue and Pope’s Road bridge signs.

The winning submission called ‘STYLE AND PATTAN…INNA BRIXTON!’ came from two local designers Farouk Agoro and Akil Scafe-Smith. See their Brixton Road Bridge initial concept. They are now working with the Council and its partners to refine the concept prior to installation later in 2018.

Creative Enterprise Zone

The Mayor of London has awarded a Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) development grant for Brixton. This grant will enable plans to be produced for a potential Brixton CEZ as a stage 2 bid (to be submitted 31 July 2018).

Brixton is under increasing pressures. Rising property prices and the loss of commercial space risk the future of creative organisations’ ability to remain and grow in the area.

We want to ensure Brixton continues to be somewhere artists and businesses can put down roots, secure new affordable workspace and inclusive growth opportunities. The Brixton CEZ proposal will be developed by a consortium including Lambeth Council, Artist Studio Company, Brixton BID, Brixton Design Trail, Capital Enterprise, MakeShift, Meanwhile Space CIC, Ovalhouse, Reprezent Radio, Squire & Partners and others.

Tripod - Brixton’s new creative base

In the heart of Brixton, within Lambeth’s newly renovated Town Hall building, Tripod will provide the spaces and support for creative, tech and social businesses to do their best work. The new workspace is being designed by award winning local creative Eley Kisimoto and Dolman Bowles and will be operated by Meanwhile Space CIC.

Tripod will provide a range of spaces (from hot-desking to large studios) for businesses to establish and grow. As well as providing workspace, a bespoke enterprise support programme will be developed in cooperation with the tenants of the space.

A dedicated 12 month social enterprise residency is available, providing subsidised rates to an organisation dedicated to social impact in the local community.

Tripod is due to open in June 2018. For more information and to enquire about space please visit the website here.

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