Market traders have complained that the closure of the Pope’s Road Car Park has drastically cut business since Christmas, just when they thought they were emerging from the recession. The Pope’s Rd carpark was closed by Lambeth Council on December 19 for health and safety reasons.
A council press release in December said that a structural survey had found problems in the concrete walls and ceilings. It was scheduled to reopen in mid-February, but it is now uncertain how long it will have to stay closed.
The carpark served as an important facility for vehicle users coming to Brixton Market. Diana Godwin, whose family runs a fruit and veg stall on Pope’s Rd, said, “on the weekend, trade is now probably down by about a third. Our customers are parking as far away as Shakespeare Rd and up past Tescos on Acre Lane. A lot of my customers who have signed the petition, especially my Saturday customers, are Croydon people who were probably born in Brixton and still come to shop here. They closed the carpark four days prior to Christmas with no warning to us or the general public and no alternative.”
At a meeting last week, says Godwin, the council stated it would not be able to offer help with alternative parking until mid-May. Godwin and other Brixton traders have set up a petition to protest against the closure and to ask for more immediate help. “We’re asking for them not to leave it for six months. Already two traders in this road have closed since Christmas. Whether it’s got something to do with the carpark, I couldn’t say, but I think it played a part.” The Market Trader’s Federation are proposing that the council establish an alternative carpark on the wasteland just behind the market in Codharbour Lane.
I am waiting on a comment from Lambeth Council, but you can read their statement in the South London Press here.