Monthly Archives: June 2011

Demolition of Duke of Wellington pub, Acre Lane

A housing association, Genesis Housing, has apparently started work on demolishing the Edwardian Duke of Wellington pub on Acre Lane, despite 30 outstanding issues with Lambeth Council and residents which were to be resolved before work could begin. The Acre Lane Residents Association (ALRA) has stepped up their campaign to stop the work, which they claim is being carried out so aggressively that neighbours’ homes are being damaged in the process. In reaction to scaffolding being erected on the building earlier in the week, the words ‘No to Genesis demolition!’ were emblazoned across the building yesterday. 

The following summary was sent by the ALRA committee to Chuka Umunna MP on June 23:

  • Genesis Housing had received planning permission to build on the Fulham Timber Yard site and Edwardian building of the Prince of Wales pub on Acre Lane.
  • The decision was resolved pending 30 outstanding issues for their consultation with Lambeth Council and affected neighbours before work could begin.
  • These have been utterly ignored and aggressive demolition has begun in force this week.
  • This not only totally ignores the agreed arrangement between the council and the neighbours backing onto this issues, but importantly also breaks the law within party wall agreement.
  • This work is officially illegal
  • Neighbours are absolutely at the end of their tether; incredibly upset and angry. A corporation called Genesis, without any care or consideration whatsoever, is literally beginning to destroy their homes.
  • For example, just a couple of lines from residents on the Acre Lane residents website today:

Whilst I appreciate emails saying that various people are being informed YOU HAVE TAKEN NO ACTUAL ACTION TO PROTECT US.”

“I’ve just got home to find rubble in my back garden and the vines ripped of my back wall (see pictures attached).I was not notified that this work would be done”

 “I’m a Labour Party Member and a proud resident of Brixton and have been for 10 years plus yet I doubt I have been more ashamed than now. Co-operative Council? Only if you are Genesis Housing Corp”

  • Quote from Paul McGlone today;

“I spoke to Sue Foster less than an hour ago and she was clear Genesis had no right to begin demolition on the site. I know action is being taken as we speak to try and stop them.”

  • Quote from Diane Morris, Chair of Planning Committee today

“Given that the boundary treatment is the subject of a pre-commencement condition, I think that any demolition of the boundary walls themselves would also be a cause of concern.”

  • Despite numerous mails, Steve Reed has done nothing, said nothing, not a single reply to anyone.
Genesis Housing sent Brixton Blog the following statement today:
“Genesis received planning permission on the 25th August to build over 30 environmentally friendly homes, including affordable housing on Acre Lane. It would be a car-free development to minimise the impact of parking for local people and would include green spaces for the community to enjoy. When we received planning permission we carried out minor work to prepare the site for demolition. Due to very recent changes in case law we have ceased this minor work until after the pre-commencement conditions meeting with Lambeth Council at the end of July. Throughout the whole process we’ve consulted with the residents closely and will continue to do so.”

Photo: Charlotte Wiig


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Lambeth Council: Capita contract

Kaye Wiggins reports from Lambeth Council

Last night’s council meeting was a much calmer affair than a previous meeting,  when protesters stormed the chamber and forced the councillors out.

There was a handful of quiet observers and the evening ran to a tight schedule, finishing after just an hour and 20 minutes.

Still, an important decision was passed: the council’s cabinet approved a plan to give a contract worth around £60m over 10 years to the services company Capita. The contract is to provide the council’s revenue collection (which includes council tax collection) and telephone customer services.

The Lib Dem councillor Alex Davies was quick to point out that Capita already ran Lambeth’s council tax collection. He pointed to that day’s front-page London Evening Standard article, which said Lambeth had more uncollected council tax than any other London borough, and asked whether it was a good idea to give the company any more responsibility.

Davies also said the plan meant jobs would be moved to Southampton. “This is untold upheaval, without notice,” he said.

“Staff were told about the decision by email, out of office hours. That’s not a nice email to find in your inbox. It’s no way to treat staff,” he said.

But Labour councillors were keen to point out the benefits. Councillor Pete Robbins said it would mean a £500,000 increase per year in council tax revenue if targets were met, and said Capita had agreed to create 40 apprenticeships as part of the contract.

The council leader, Steve Reed, described the contract as “an improved service at a reduced cost with community benefits.”

The new contract aims to save £10m over 10 years: a big sum, but still just a tiny fraction of the £79m the council must save this year alone.

Also at the meeting…

The council approved a new carbon management plan for its buildings. Under the plan, individual council departments will be responsible for their own energy budgets.

The council approved a new Local Implementation Plan for transport, which it will submit to Transport for London. The plan includes measures to improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians in Lambeth.

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New art gallery: Coldharbour London

A new gallery opened in SE5 this week. Coldharbour London is a low-ceilinged warehouse space on Southwell Rd with two floors of artists’ studios attached. It is the creation of Director Lucy Baxter and Creative Director Aretha Campbell.

The building was originally a print works and you can still see the imprints on the floor from where the printing presses stood.

In the opening exhibition ‘Illuminations’, five contemporary artists play with the idea of light.  The artists range from recent graduates to those already fairly established on the art scene.

We interviewed the gallery’s 28 year-old director, Lucy Baxter:

What was the motivation behind setting up the Coldharbour London gallery?

I’ve had the building for some time. It was derelict and I didn’t have enough money to turn it into flats. There’s a guy who runs artists’ studios on the same road, so I thought ‘why not turn this into an art gallery?’  It’s an incredible gallery space, so I approached the Creative Director, Aretha Campbell, with the idea.

Do you think South London is becoming a new art hub in London? Why?

South London is up and coming in the art world with galleries like the Hannah Barry galllery. Dalston is amazing for things like that but it’s saturated now. And I think with art comes rejuvenation in an area. South London is different to the rest of London. It’s got a real vibe of excitement about it. You walk down Coldharbour Lane and there’s a real buzz. It’s also cheaper so lots of artists live here. What’s good in south London is that there’s lots of local initiative too – things like the Brixton Pound. I grew up in Wimbledon and Streatham so it’s all very local for me.

What kinds of exhibitions and events have you got planned?

We’re going to have Open Studios in October and an exhibition with selected works from the artists who are based here. Around here there are lots of young guys and girls who are creative but don’t have the revenue to do anything with that, so we’re running workshops with the Lambeth College A-Level Art students on how to make a living out of art – the business side of art.

We’re also going to be doing some stuff with London Fashion Week and OxJam are putting on an exhibition here too.

How are you funding the gallery?

I work two jobs! For the first three years the studios should bankroll the gallery and I also hope to make it a rentable space.

What’s your relationship like with other galleries in the area?

Hannah Barry is going to do a pop-up show here and I’m really pleased about that. I didn’t want to arrive and be like ‘here we are and we’re not going to talk to anyone’. It’s all collaboration – lots of our artists are from the area and we want to work with other art galleries too. The arts cuts couldn’t have come at a worse time for us, so it’s best to support each other as much as possible.

Coldharbour London, 26-34 Southwell Rd, SE5


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Weekend Ahead in Brixton

Friday: A new gallery is opening today on the Camberwell/Brixton border, just off Coldharbour Lane. It’s called Coldharbour London, it’s in a beautiful warehouse space and it’s very ‘Shoreditch’. In this opening exhibition, ‘Illumination’, five contemporary artists play with ideas of light. Most beautiful is ‘Twins’ by Lawrence Lek.

Update: A few of you on Twitter have also been recommending the return of the Sambalanca night at Living Bar – disco, dub, Afro, and Tropical rythms from these Camberwell DJs. Free before 11pm, £3 after.

Saturday: Fat Freddy’s Drop are playing at the Brixton Academy and Reggae Roast – a new London reggae collective – are hosting the after party at Plan B. Plan B, Brixton Rd. Free before 11pm, £5 after.

Sunday: It’s the Brixton Farmers’ Market on Station Rd until roughly 1pm – Dulwich bakery Coco are joining the traders from this Sunday, selling cakes with ‘floral’ flavours such as elderflower and rose. In the evening, Simo Lagnawi is playing traditional Moroccan Gnawa music at Ritzy Upstairs.

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Tonight: Community Police Consultative Group meeting

In the light of the recent spike in shootings in Lambeth, some of you might be interested in attending the monthly meeting of the Community Police Consultative Group (CPCG) for Lambeth tonight. It’s taking place from 6pm at the Karibu Education Centre, 7 Gresham Rd.

The CPCG was set up after the 1981 Brixton Uprising and facilitates communication between the community and the police. Monthly meetings include a report from the Borough Commander and themed sessions on topics of concern, such as gun crime or stop and search.

You can find out more about the meeting and agenda here.

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Young man shot dead in Tulse Hill last night

A young man was tragically killed in a shooting in Tulse Hill last night. The victim, thought to be in his late teens, died at the scene near Purser House in Tulse Hill.

It’s not yet clear whether this was a gang-related murder, but the incident is the third shooting in the area within the last two weeks. Alper Pasha, 43, died four days after being attacked outside the KFC on Coldharbour Lane on 26 May. A man has now been charged for his murder. Sadiq Adebiyi, 25, was killed in a shooting near the Stockwell Gardens Estate last month and two men have now been charged, according to the BBC.

Do you think such crimes in the Brixton area are on the up? How do you think we can stop so many shootings happening? Please do leave your comments.


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