Brixton at tipping point

Sleepless Brixton still

Brixton is at a “tipping point” says campaigners against noise and anti-social behaviour in the centre of town.

They say that, while it is becoming a “drunken tourism” zone from Thursday evening to Sunday night, both market traders and independent shops are struggling.

Traders in Brixton Market are meeting soon to discuss problems that they face.

Sleepless Brixton, the campaign started by central Brixton residents in 2017, said it had been working with Lambeth council, the police and local MP Helen Hayes on a range of issues.

It is calling for clarification on whether Brixton town centre is considered to be a residential area. If it is residential, the group says it should not be covered by opening hours set for “a major town centre”.

It queried whether the Lambeth Local Plan of October 2018, that sets out proposals for a town centre “evening economy and management zone” and the approach set out by the council in the licensing plan are aligned.

Its comments came as a council consultation on licensing, required by law every five years came to an end.

Licensing policy sets out guidelines for regulating any business that sells alcohol, offers entertainment or provides “late night refreshments”.

Sleepless Brixton said: “Central Brixton is at a tipping point right now. “It has always been a lively, mixed-use area of predominantly shops and residential premises, with a number of bars, restaurants, clubs and music venues as a vital part of the mix.

“But now it is becoming a drunken tourism zone, with a series of areas becoming hyperactive in the evening and night every Thursday to Sunday.

“Both the market and many independent shops are struggling, as anything beyond the high street seems to be declining as a shopping destination.

“Residential accommodation is being replaced or filled with temporary accommodation, whether short-term commercial letting or cheap hotels. This trend will increase the flood of hen-parties and drunken revellers who feel no attachment to the area.”

A new five-storey budget hotel is due to be built soon on the site of Superdrug opposite the Tube station – involving the loss of one of Brixton’s oldest bars, the SW9.

As the October Bugle reported, the Local Government Ombudsman has ruled that Lambeth council had failed to consider 6,354 noise complaints. But it has taken action against an early-hours busker who has been the subject of regular complaints. After he ignored a written warning not to use amplified equipment on the street between 9pm and 8am, he was sent a “community protection warning letter”.

When this was ignored legal proceedings were begun against him under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and he was also served a community protection notice under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014.

The busker failed to attend two hearings at Camberwell Magistrates Court and has fines and costs of more than £1,000 against his name.

The council was also successful in having an indefinite “criminal behaviour order” made against him.

The council says it is continuing to monitor the town centre and exploring a long-term solution for nuisance busking.