Lambeth council has announced details of public consultation on a major development – the first since it pledged to change its approach as a result of criticism in the Kerslake report it commissioned on its home building programme.
The development will see major changes in central Brixton with development of the Pop Brixton site and refurbishment of former council offices at International House. Improvements to nearby streets and markets are also promised.
The council said local residents, businesses, and “key stakeholders” from across the borough would be invited to take part in community workshops “where they can learn more about the development and help to shape this opportunity”.
The workshops will be led by engagement specialists, Mutual Gain, “who will work to ensure the diversity of the area is represented and local people have input”.
Essex-based Mutual Gain says it exists “to empower organisations and communities to reconnect in the social space, which lies between the state and the individual. Ultimately, we aim to promote greater participation and active citizenship within our democracy and increase social capital, for the mutual benefit of all.”
The redevelopment of the Pop Brixton site and International House sites, the council said, “will provide new homes, workspace and commercial space … as well as improvements to market infrastructure and the public realm”.
It summarised its plans:
- Refurbishment of International House to provide more than 7,800 square metres of workspace for local businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups – with 20 per cent secured as affordable workspace.
- More than 200 new homes, of which half would be delivered as social rent and shared ownership/London Living Rent
- Street markets improved through the provision of new car park, storage space and waste compound facilities
- Brixton Station Road and Popes Road improved to promote a healthy and safe environment for walking and cycling and other forms of active travel
- Climate resilience measures such as tree planting, landscaping and the introduction of sustainable urban drainage systems.
Long established Brixton market traders trace its decline as a produce market to the demolition of the multi-storey car park that stood on the Pop Brixton site until 2011. Its disappearance was linked to a complex planning deal for a massive new Tesco in Streatham.
The council has avoided discission of how development of the Pop Brixton and International House sites will relate to or be affected by plans for a massive development in the area between them. These at first included a 20-storey tower on Pope’s Road.
The planning application for this development by the Amsterdam-based company AG Popes Road BV was suddenly pulled for revision last year. Lambeth council had controversially approved the application, but it was “called in” by London mayor Sadiq Khan. The current occupant of the site is a Sports Direct store and Sports Direct still owns the site.
Cllr Danny Adilypour, Lambeth council deputy leader and cabinet member for sustainable growth and new homes, said: “We are committed to involving the local community in these exciting plans for the centre of Brixton, which will deliver genuinely affordable housing, space for local businesses and better facilities for residents.
“I am looking forward to hearing the views of residents and businesses who can help shape the final proposals.
“Their contribution will be vital to making sure the project reflects the views of local people.
“This is a real chance to deliver affordable homes and workspace in a way that places environmental sustainability, active citizenship and training and job opportunities for local residents at its heart.”
The council said at least a quarter of apprenticeships created by the development will be offered directly to local people during the construction phase and that 15 local residents will be supported to achieve professional training qualifications.
The site at 49 Brixton Station Road has been occupied by Pop Brixton since 2015, and the former council offices at International House in 6 Canterbury Crescent has been used to create an affordable workspace since 2018. Both leases have been extended until Autumn 2023.
The public workshops are the initial stage of engagement on the scheme, with community consultation events expected to take place from March 2023 and followed by the submission of a planning application later this year.
London Square chief executive Adam Lawrence said: “This is an opportunity for local people to help shape this landmark project that will bring significant investment into central Brixton and more jobs for Brixton residents.
“Our focus is to work with Lambeth and the local community to provide well designed affordable homes of the highest quality for local people and families – with attractive green public spaces to improve the surrounding area.”
“This is London Square’s second project in Lambeth, following its award-winning transformation of a derelict cinema site on Streatham Hill, which had been empty for years, into new homes with shops, a café, and a community theatre.”
For more information on the programme of engagement that MutualGain is leading, contact firstname.lastname@example.org