SAVE OUR SHOPS: Cllr Jack Hopkins believes “progress has been made”

Lambeth Cllr Jack Hopkins: Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth

Lambeth Councillor Jack Hopkins says he believes there has been “some progress” for the shops in Brixton’s arches facing eviction.

In a blog post on the Future Brixton website, Hopkins said “we’ve won an important first assurance.”

He said: “Network Rail have listened to concerns raised by the businesses and the Council, and guaranteed continuity of trading until after Christmas, rather than what was a startlingly quick six months. I know that an additional four months does not solve the problems but it does provide some certainty for businesses and their employees and it’s a good initial concession.”

He also pointed to Network Rail’s statement which said: “Network Rail recognises that we have to look after our current tenants. They will be given the opportunity to come back, the company will help identify new or temporary premises and will also help with expenses

“The new premises will have rents that are fair and are set at or below the market rate for this area. It is in no-one’s interest to have empty premises.”

Hopkins said: “So, some progress but there needs to be an offer of proper compensation to employees should businesses have to temporarily suspend trading at some point, and I’ve asked Network Rail to consider phasing the works rather than everyone having to temporarily relocate in one go.

“The Council will continue to support the local businesses that are at the heart of Brixton and add to the diversity and individuality of Lambeth.

“I think this shows that Network Rail are listening and not simply intent on kicking out all the businesses in a quest for profit. The approach has been insensitive and clumsy, but now that Network Rail are meeting with all businesses to discuss specific and individual concerns, I am more confident in them that they want to do the right thing.”

The question remains, however, about what Network Rail actually means by “rents that are fair.”

One trader reported on the urban75 forums that he was told his rent would be tripled, unaffordable to most of the businesses currently occupying the units.

Network Rail say they don’t want empty premises, but whatever they make the rents this is an unlikely outcome.

What is likely is that the units will be filled with big high street chains eager to cash in on Brixton’s new popularity and can afford a higher rent.

You can sign the petition to stop the eviction of Brixton beloved shops here.


  1. OK – I actually have mixed feeling about all this.

    I’ve been in Brixton 10 years and it has obviously changed a lot. I welcomed the improvements to the indoor market as it was lay pretty much empty for years, but don’t use it often now as the bubble has burst and it’s too busy (and not all that cheap).

    I’ve been wanting the station renovated for years – at least the passageway that runs between Brixton Station and Atlantic Roads. It’s disgusting – what has taken Network Rail so long to renovate?

    Getting on to the businesses under the railway arches. I once asked one of the stalls in that dank passageway about renting a unit for a new business idea I had, and he told me to speak to ‘Stella the hairdresser’. Turns out she is in charge of renting those units (whaat?! how??) Then we have the bar which is now closed – it was ‘Brixton Bar and Grill’ when I moved here, a passable venue, then it turned into a late night bar called ‘Atlantis’ which was blatently a place to score and use drugs. Onto ‘The Baron’…which is always dead. I really don’t believe that most of these retail spaces ‘serve the community’, rather they are relics of a bygone era and a waste of space.

    My proposal – keep the Deli at the end of Atlantic and the fishmonger, and the big wig shop which is always busy. Ask the rest of the tenants for proof they are turning over a profit.

  2. Jack hasn’t “won” anything. He was a Johnny-come-lately to the issue who’s pulling the standard Lambeth Labour tactic of trying to claim credit for the hard work of others – in this case the traders on Atlantic Rd, Brixton Buzz and Brixton Blog.

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