Two Brixton Village traders who have run a stall for two years on Granville Court, the patio area at the rear of the Village on Coldharbour Lane, have been told to quit by the village’s new owners.
Carmelo Diotaiuti and his partner Glenda were told at 6pm on Friday (1 June) that the following Sunday would be their last day.
They are left without work to support themselves because, earlier this year, they gave up full-time work cooking and cleaning in a school in Brockley following a suggestion from Brixton Village management that a permanent kiosk to help them prepare food might be erected.
They built up their Venezuelan street food business, Tiendieta Del Sabor (Little Shop Of Flavour) from one into two stalls. They worked to prepare food on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and in the market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Carmelo and Glenda say that they were told the new owners of the Village wanted to “start from zero”. They were entitled to neither notice nor compensation because they paid for the space they used on a daily basis, they were informed.
Carmelo said: “Throughout these two years, we have not received any complaints, and our customers have been happy with our services as we are the only completely gluten-free Venezuelan Food option in Brixton Village.
“We feel let down by Brixton Village administration for treating us like that after almost two years working there.
“Also, for asking us to leave our only source of income without a considerable notice period.
“We have a customer base already, and they do not know where we are going to be as we have not time to let our customers know about this situation.”
After he and Glenda appealed to Brixton Village management, they were told to wait “two or three weeks” when their status would be looked at again. But they were given no guarantees.
A spokesman for Hondo Enterprises, which says that it runs Brixton Market – meaning Market Row and Brixton Village – said at first that no traders had been given notice. In a second response, the spokesman said the food stall, which had been there for two years, was “temporary” and “therefore there was no for agreement for the use of this space”.
He said that Tiendieta Del Sabor and other food stalls on Granville Court had been “operated without the owners’ knowledge, by the market managers on a first come, first served basis”.
The new owners had stopped all trading on Granville Court for the time being, the spokesman said, “whilst a proper plan is formed, and communicated, for the management of temporary market stalls. This is part of Hondo’s commitment to improving market management”.
The spokesman also offered an explanation of why official government Land Registry title deeds do not show Hondo as the owner of Market Row or Brixton Village. Instead they show that they were bought by two separate Amsterdam subsidiaries of the New York based hedge fund Angelo Gordon.
The spokesman said: “As announced in March, Hondo and its investors purchased the leasehold and freehold of the sites collectively known as Brixton Market.
“As is common practice, two special purpose vehicles were created to complete the purchase of Brixton Village and Market Row respectively, which is reflected in the market’s updated title at the Land Registry.
“Angelo Gordon is one of the investors in those vehicles, with Hondo taking the active lead in managing and improving the market itself.”
As the Blog spoke to Carmelo and Glenda next to where their stall stood, they were greeted by market staff and customers. And what looked like a photographic drone buzzed busily overhead.