Tag Archives: Acre Lane

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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Unison Protest outside Brixton Town Hall

The cuts continue unabated and there was a double whammy of protests outside Lambeth Town Hall last night. Save Lambeth Libraries campaign demonstrated against staff cuts, reduced services and possible closures, while other groups lobbied the council over cuts to children’s services. Here are a few pics:

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Photos from tonight’s anti-cuts demo, Brixton Town Hall

Blocking the road to protest against lollipop ladies losing their jobs

Photos: Kaye Wiggins

And a short video to give a taste of the protest (taken by Zoe Jewell):

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Kaye Wiggins, out taking photographs this weekend, noticed something funny in the Victorian-looking clock above McDonald’s: nowhere is safe from the golden arches…

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‘The government has cut our money’…so how are we going to cut services?

Kaye Wiggins reports from the public budget consultation at Lambeth Town Hall last night

At a noisy meeting in the town hall last night, Lambeth residents vented their frustration about the £79m in cuts that the council will make from its £310m budget over the next three years.

The council’s plan for the event, a public consultation attended by about 60 residents, was that local people would suggest how they thought it should make the cuts. They could do this by writing their thoughts on a ‘post-it note wall’ and a ‘graffiti wall’.

The night didn’t get off to an easy start for the council. A Unison member interrupted during the introduction. “Labour councillors met last night and agreed to a detailed budget,” he said. “We have a right to know what they decided. Otherwise this meeting is a waste of our time.”

When several members of the audience applauded the Unison man, councillor Paul McGlone tried to explain. “Details of the meeting will be online tomorrow morning,” he said, causing an outcry that set the tone for much of the evening.

But when people were separated into small groups later on, they started talking more quietly about the services that should be spared from cuts. Libraries, children’s services and housing emerged as the big priorities.

McGlone told the residents the council had not made any final decisions on its budget, and would use their feedback to help it decide on its priorities before it announced the final figures on 23 February. He said the council particularly wanted to protect its budgets for children’s services, crime, schools, better homes and helping people to get back into work.

Nobody mentioned the council’s controversial adverts for the consultation process, which said: “The government has cut our money so we are forced to cut services.” But messages on the graffiti wall, like the one below  might send a signal to the council about it.


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Interview: Philippe Castaing on Brixton Green

Architects drawings for the 'creative hub' on Somerleyton Rd/Coldharbour Lane

Philippe Castaing, owner of Opus Café, was interviewed in The Guardian last year about his plans for a community hub on Somerleyton Rd. Since then, the name of his project – Brixton Green – has been on the lips of many an eco-friendly local.

But for a long time I haven’t been able to grasp what Brixton Green actually is, or whether it will ever get off the ground. Seemingly nothing has happened to the project since that one celebratory article in The Guardian. I went to the man himself – Philippe Castaing. We meet at Opus on Acre Lane, which Philippe opened in 2001 after he moved here from La Rochelle in France.

The Brixton Green plan is to create a Community Land Trust in Somerleyton Rd – a space with residential housing and public facilities owned and run by the people who live there. London Citizens are trying to do the same in East London.

In the past year, Philippe and his business partner Brad Carroll have been working behind the scenes to convince Lambeth Council that it’s the right thing to do and to make their plans a little more detailed. “Now we know where we’re going”, said Philippe. “We’ve had a proper site survey and got designs from architects”.

Their architects Feildon, Clegg and Bradley have re-imagined the site to include street-facing sustainable housing, a ‘creative hub’ with a theatre space, a children’s centre and a community dental surgery. “The question is how you actually make a community site effective”, explains Philippe. “What is exciting about Brixton is the meeting of generations and backgrounds that happens here – but how do you do that in a new community space? We could, for instance, offer rent reductions if a student agrees work with an older person.”

None of this is confirmed yet – Brixton Green will be pitching for the lease of the site alongside anyone else who cares to. But they have persuaded the Lambeth Regeneration office to stipulate that mutual ownership be fulfilled in some form on Somerleyton Rd – as part of the Brixton Town Masterplan – even if Brixton Green doesn’t win the tender.

And Philippe says he wants to stop working ‘behind-the-scenes’ now. This summer they will launch a share offer and start publicising the initiative. Any member of the community will be able to buy shares in Brixton Green from just £1 and funds will contribute to the pre-planning and feasibility costs of the development. The target is 5,000 members, each of whom will have one vote.

They are looking to the long-term though – Castaing thinks it could be up to 10 years before the project would be fully realized.


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Brixton business signs

Guest blogger Ian Duncan takes us through the aesthetics of the Brixton shopfronts

Despite the best attempts of chain stores and franchises, local businesses still dominate in Brixton, which means there are some happily off-message approaches to signage. I’m not one of these quaint small town types who gets upset by Tesco and WH Smith forcing out the little guy, but in terms of purely aesthetic appeal small shops definitely hold the edge.

Walking around it’s hard not to notice the dilapidated shop fronts that have outlasted their useful purpose or businesses that, against all the odds, seemed to have survived the decades remarkably well – it’s hard to imagine anyone picking the 1980s videogame inspired type on Coin Op laundry today.

It’s not hard to find all sorts of similar quirks. Just Yams etc. So more than just yams then? Or the pentecostal church on Acre Lane keen to spell out that the ‘I’ they’re touting is none other than Jesus himself.

Kennedy Fried Chicken is another favourite of mine – it trades on both a well known chicken brand and a popular American political dynasty, with the statue of liberty thrown in for good measure.

Of the now defunct establishments, Errington furniture has a tantalising sign which appears to have been partly painted over so we’ll never know what the third prong of their offering is: “Bought, sold or rubberised”?

So while you get ready for the advent of H&M, spare a thought for PJ’s barber with it’s cryptic reference to Genesis 14:18 – “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God” – and all the other little stores that make up the landscape.


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Brixton Acre Lane blacks out

Acre Lane (below) and other parts of Brixton were in the darkness this evening after a power cut, which lasted a few seconds to a few hours, depending on where you lived.  One half of Acre Lane got its power back within a few minutes, while the other half remained in darkness with buses and cars as the only source of light. Very eery.

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