Brixton Playground – A new vision for Brixton

Illustration of Brixton Playground by Squire & Partners
Illustration of Brixton Playground by Squire & Partners

Brixton BID have published a new vision for Brixton.

In the document, published on 25 June, Brixton BID state that: “Reopening Brixton means reimagining the public realm for businesses, residences, customers and visitors alike.”

Brixton Playground would see the pedestrianisation of Brixton Town Centre, including Atlantic Road, Coldharbour Lane, Beehive Place, Brixton Station Road, Pope’s Road and Ferndale Road.

This would mean that restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and retailers would be able to trade along the streets and social distancing would be possible. The closure of these street would create “a spacious, safe and sustainable Brixton for all”.

They continue “The Brixton business community believe this will allow for the safe reopening of the neighbourhood following the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In light of the new Business and Planning Bill 2020, published on 25 June and passed through the House of Commons this week, businesses would be able to apply under a new regime for a “Pavement Licence” which will last until the end of September 2021. Fees will not excede £100 and following a seven-day consultation period local authorities can decide to grant the pavement license.

Illustration of Brixton Playground by Squire & Partners

Brixton BID’s Vision

Current guidelines and legislation are evolving quickly – Brixton and Lambeth have an opportunity to be at the forefront of the new normal. This is what our vision would look like:

  • Permanent pedestrianisation after a three-month trial
  • Road closures of the following streets: Atlantic Road, Coldharbour Lane, Beehive Place, Brixton Station Road, Pope’s Road and Ferndale Road
  • Daily trading permitted from 10am to 10pm
  • Operational activities such as street cleaning and deliveries permitted between 6am to 9am
  • Permitting businesses to install outdoor infrastructure such as parklets, tables, chairs and greening features
  • Encourage businesses to switch to green last mile delivery solutions
  • Supporting for the walking and cycling agenda which will improve air quality
  • Stimulate the local street markets
  • Create community led spaces for events
Illustration of Brixton Playground by Squire & Partners

What next?

These proposals come after Lambeth Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency and public concern around maintaining social distancing as more businesses reopen. This new vision for Brixton could see the community take ownership over central Brixton, with the introduction of more green spaces and provide important support for the recovery of the local economy.

Brixton BID are asking “If not now, when?”


  1. Brixton Playground is an offensive name for the area for a number of reasons. The name turns the history of the area into child’s play and those associated with Brixton juvenile or children.

    Whether it be Nelson Mandela visiting Brixton or a Rastafarian who is proudly recognised as being part of the fabric of the area, the term Playground should be reserved for an area for children. Considering the racist history of black men being called ‘boy’, it is especially tone deaf and insulting for the residents and tourists alike.

    Surely a more appropriate name could be found to honor a Brixton great or visitor such as Mandela – perhaps the Brixton Mandela Urban Retreat. Something with more thought to honour, respect and dignify those live and frequent the area.

  2. It’s a No Thanks! from me.

    Sounds like BID (Business Improvement District) are trying to hijack TfL’s Livable Neighbourhoods plans (traffic calming and pedestrianisation) and bag themselves the new public space for their business members to trade from. And they are even suggesting that they be gifted this public space … for free!

    The images certainly aren’t shy about the proportions of space they want to take over. And the project’s working name Playground leaves no doubt at all what their priorities are.

    It would be nice if BID (Business Improvement District) would properly get on top of the nuisance already being caused by sheer number of visitors to the already hugely popular bars, clubs and restaurants, before trying to spill their businesses into our streets.

    Brixton is about a lot more than the throngs of drunk visitors BID can attract for the clubs and bars they represent.

    Vote YES! to Livable Neighbourhoods. Vote NO! to BID’s proposed takeover of our streets.

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