Brixton residents angry at proposals for new restaurant on Coldharbour Lane

The plan is to turn the cab office into a Rosa's Thai Cafe
The plan is to turn the former cab office into a Rosa’s Thai Cafe

A number of local residents are objecting to the opening of another restaurant on Coldharbour Lane.

A planning application has been submitted for a change of license at 400 Coldharbour Lane, previously the office of cab company Granada Cars. The new owners plan to lease the space, at the bottom of Connaught Mansions, to Rosa’s Thai Cafe.

The chain, run by husband and wife Alex and Saiphin Moore, has spaces in Soho, Westfield, Spitalfields and Carnaby Street. In July, they said they were “very excited about opening a new site in Brixton” and want to address any issues the community has about the proposal.

Owner of the site Julian Pycraft confirmed to Brixton Blog he still intends it to be a branch of Rosa’s.

On Lambeth’s planning site, a number of residents have objected to the the application for the “change of use from Minicab office (Sui Generis) to restaurant (Class A3)” because they fear a restaurant would generate noise and smells.

One commenter said: “We use the roof space all the year round where we go for fresh air and to dry our laundry and nurture our roof gardens, we do not want fumes and more noise here.”

Others are concerned with the proposal to store food and rubbish in the basement of the building, saying this is likely to attract vermin.

Some residents also feel they were not given enough warning about the proposed changes. Consultation letters were apparently sent out to Coldharbour Lane residents on December 23 and letters to Connaught Mansion were sent out on January 13.

However, local resident Talya Tibbon said: “the planning officer confirmed that they actually didn’t send the letters out initially and only following my conversation with her on January 12 did they go out. The application is claiming to have ‘consulted’ us and to be ‘supported’ by neighboring businesses, which is not the case.”

Lambeth Council say they have followed the correct procedure. A council spokesman said: “Consultation letters were initially sent to local residents on December 23 with a second batch of letters sent out on January 13, following an initial review from the Planning Officer. Residents can comment on the application until February 3.

“We encourage as many residents as possible to have their say on planning applications.”

If you are a local resident and would like to have your say visit Lambeth Council’s planning site



  1. None of these mega property people or companies give a toss about Brixton or it’s residents. It’s just the next cash cow as they see it on it’s uppers. It’s no surprise Pycraft and his City Heritage company want in. The more they come to the area the more the long-term independent shops will feel the pressure of rent rises to leave or close. It’s not automatic that anything that opens must be good. There is always a context of why and how this is happening.

  2. Great to see a new business ( 4-5 restaurants is hardly a chain, get real protesters!), occupying a shabby old part of a shabby old parade. It is a sign of the times that the restaurant is another Asian type, I would like to see a good homely Italian, or family restaurant personally, maybe French or Greek. But the in-thing is Asian of some sorts, notwithstanding the bad breath on the Tube the next morning. So that is just an indication of what the majority like. I hope all the good new restaurant fever makes its way up poor old Brixton Hill. Here we used to be the fashionable part of the area, now its all just a load of old junk shops and betting shops with piss-up walls outside – looking very tatty indeed.

  3. Great to see an unused shopfront put to use. A shame that its yet another chain coming to Brixton.
    The best way to sort this is to vote with your feet – the quality of the food at Rosas is terrible and people won’t return if they can’t compete with the rest of the good (independent) stuff in Brixton

  4. Why should there be “rats in the basement”? Most restaurants will comply with as many regulations as possible, as it is not in their interest to have rats running around the place… How do you know that there are not rats there already and opening the restaurant may actually be a positive change re: rats? Unless you know something we don’t …

    • Have you read the application? They plan to keep waste and trash for a week! I know there are no rats there now because I do. I’ve lived above restaurants before – it’s a very common problem. Maybe you haven’t.

  5. Beyond the issue of objecting.. Doesn’t anyone find it curious that the restaurant -chain owner was so confident the council will ignore objections and grant the license change, that he announced his new branch opening already in the summer, way before any application was submitted?? I do..

    • Maybe it’s because it’s already a retail outlet and there are other food shops right next to it and around it.

  6. Nice smells from a Thai restaurant can’t surely be worse than constant fag smoke from bored cabbies waiting for a fare – especially as the restaurant won’t be open overnight as well.

  7. Living in the heart of Brixton you do expect to put up with “a bit of noise”, but a big restaurant with cooking smells all day, rats in the basement from trash and waste stored for a week, and potential kitchen fires.. Not so much.
    There’s a long gap between a boarded up shop and a big high street chain restaurant (regardless of what the developer is “selling” it as). It’s a gap that can be filled with so many options of viable small businesses which Lambeth council and residents should encourage and support.
    Brixton still manages to keep its unique character despite its current trendy status. The addition of a place like Rosa’s and its likes will turn it into another generic characterless neighborhood.. Does anyone really want that?

    • This parade of shops has been derelict for as long as I can remember (decades!). We should be celebrating the fact that businesses, both in and out of Brixton, are interested in investing in the area at last. Ok. Let’s have a mix of different shops here. But if you really want people to have real choice, the mix will have to include both independents AND chains.

  8. We are not looking at a zero-sum game here. Whilst the landlord wants this to look like a choice between a boarded up shop and a restaurant and of course a number of the posters above have fallen right into the trap of viewing it as such. There are alternatives.

    In the past year this stretch of Coldharbour Lane has added 3 comparison retailers: Turpentine, Omnis and Diverse. The precise reason we have planning law in this country is to prevent unbridled capitalist landlords from converting every last shred of retail space into restaurants (which would always be the default since such units are more high yielding).

    It is the responsibility of Lambeth Council to support the development of Coldharbour Lane into a mixed use location and not one that simply panders to the wallets of landlords who live elsewhere whilst feeding off an evening economy run from our doorstep.

    It’s not clear why the council pay for expensive Retail Land Use Assessments if they are not going to convert their findings (such as the significant uptick in demand for retail that is anticipated in Brixton over the next 20 years) into concrete actions that prevent the wanton destruction of mixed use highstreets such as this one.

  9. Why live in central Brixton if you can’t handle a bit of noise?? Next they’ll be asking for the pubs and market traders to be kicked out. Move to the countryside if you want peace and quiet.

  10. This reminds me of a place I lived once, above a disused taxi rank. Then it re-opened as a dry cleaners with similar problems. Noise, smells, fumes and doors slamming. But to be honest, I just was glad it wasn’t a taxi rank again. 24 hours of cars and pissed people from every pub and club in the area. As for vermin, we got that from the butchers next door. What could you do though? Close down the family butcher who’d been there nearly 100 years? Unfortunately, flats above shops come complete with this problem.

  11. Don;t want to see it remain boarded up, but there must be something more interesting than ANOTHER restaurant, especially right next to existing Yum-D, and short walk from Kao-San,

  12. Same old NIMBYS wanting to leave another shop front boarded up rather that see Brixton evolve and develop.

  13. Rosas is a lovely Thai restaurant!!
    The new hotel will bring more traffic too
    It will only do Brixton good in the long run
    How can anyone honestly believe these welcomed changes will damage Brixton?!!
    Bring on the changes
    Portobello Road is a fabulous place!!
    Brixton is too!!

  14. As a former resident of Connaught mansions I most definitely CAN see the problem with this. What you might not realise is that there are 9 flats directly above the restaurants, for 3 of these flats the only windows in their home will open directly onto the small lightwell at the back of the proposed restaurant. There are serious concerns about, noise, smells and vermin. Residents first met the new owner many months ago where he promised to work with us and that he intended to keep the property at A1/A2 use. His company have done their level best to deceive residents. This man already owns a huge chunk of Chelsea and he has openly stated he wants to buy ‘as much of coldharbour lane as possible’ he continued ‘trust me in 10 years this place will be like Portobello road’. If you can’t understand the objection to a change of use then you must at least understand that his ‘vision’ of Brixton is one that will serve very few of the existing community.

  15. I really cannot see the problem with this application.It complies with Lambeth’s planning policy and all the other issues, such as noise etc. can be dealt with by conditions and building regulations. The applicants are reinstating a traditional style shop front which is welcoming. It looks to me to be a well run operation that should be supported.

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