Tag Archives: Granville Arcade

Debate: Brixton Village – price rises and rent hikes

Brixton Blog asked its Twitter readers what they thought of recent price rises in some of the new eateries in the indoor markets, particularly Granville Arcade/’Brixton Village’. Prices have gone up Federation Coffee, Brick Box and Kaosarn among others. While some felt less able to support the local businesses, others pointed to the rent rises and inflation (at a three-year high today) traders are facing themselves which mean they have to pass on the cost to the customer. Still others argued that most of the restaurants are still relatively cheap for the quality of food they serve.

First, some background to the development of the Granville Arcade. In 2009, the owners at the time, London Associated Properties, worked with Spacemakers to “entice new retailers into a location that had suffered over the years from high vacancies and low investment”. It has been suggested by some that new businesses receiving positive press then allowed the owners to increase the rents in the market.

Here is the LAP Annual Report from 2010:

Our two markets in Brixton have seen strong performers in terms of rental growth…Since 2009, we have spent considerable time and effort in re-branding the markets as more exciting places to shop, with a particular emphasis on quality food and restaurants as well as cutting edge fashion. The net result of this input is that rents have grown by some 8% and Brixton Village, on eof the markets, is fully let for the first time in some 20 years. … We have plans to work with a leading market operator to ensure the next phase of this asset’s growth. 

While this project has been a success throughout 2010, we do not feel LAP has the resources to develop Brixton Markets further. Consequently, since the year end we have agreed terms to let the two markets to In Shops Ltd, a subsidiary of Groupe Geraud, Europe’s largest private market operator. The leases are at a base rate of £817,500 per annum with a profit share on the net rent above that amount.”

So LAP now lets the market to In Shops Ltd, who specialise in shopping centres across the UK and are owned by Groupe Geraud.

 Here are your tweets (some rather more than 140 characters):

@Lucy Caldicott  I was amazed the calzone at Agile Rabbit only £4 yesterday. Still really cheap. Bread Room coffee and croissant only £2

@TheBrixtonite LAP doesn’t own the market. Their rents and service charges have been increasing every month & the new owners want more money 4 late nights. SMH at moaning Brixtonians. Brixton Village traders have kept prices as low as they can while Geraud the market’s owners have upped rents.

All we do is moan! We treat that market like our own personal playground & forget that it is a business.Landlord increases the rent & service. service charges. Where do you think the traders will get the money to cover those increases? Why not petition Geraud to stop the unfair rent increases instead of moaning at the traders? & if y’ll took the time to ask the traders how they are doing, then you’ll know that they are stuck btwn a rock & a hard place in BrixVill. If they speak out against the rents,they risk the owners cutting off their contracts because the market is so popular &someone will pay more. But they want to stay as many have been there from the beginning. The management office is in Market Row. Let the owners know how you feel

@BrixtonVillage yes rents and service charges have been increased. LAP does not own Brixton Village

@lukewaterfield I think it’s in the interests of @brixtonvillage places to have this out – bit of a PR disaster waiting to happen. The popularity will pass – and their survival will rely on loyalty – same as everything in brixton.

If they’re being pressured into price rises by increases in rent/service charges etc – they should let people know.

@memespring poss initial low rents coming to an end? LAP always saw the project as a way of raising (annual report suggested so anyway). details of the report here: urban75.net/forums/threads…

@annawaltz price increases are a thankless way to treat customers who made those places popular by word of mouth. They lose their charm.

@ClaireWinship14 yep the rent is supposedly £7k a month I was told that by a shop owner, not sure if that price is OTT but yep changes occuring!

@daisydumps shame ppl complaining. Amazing thing on our doorstep. BYO policy and no taxi home equals cheap and fabulous. Also give brickbox a break. Not for profit and a caiphirinia to knock your socks off for £4.50?!

Something original, non-chain, cool, cheap and exciting lands right on your doorstep…complaints start. Bizarre.

@cornishop @daisydumps @BrixtonBlog @jayrayner1 exactly. i feel very lucky we have brixvill. it’s a (secular) miracle

@tash_mous I def now think twice about impromptu week dinners out in ‘Brix Vill’ whereas before I’d be there every Weds/Thurs in a flash.

But Brix still reasonable compared to most London! It’s usual thing of ppl getting used to cheap products+expecting to be norm

@Brixton_Bugle Do we know what In Shops Ltd plan to do? Increase rents further I presume…

@ejoftheweb  food costs also a factor. plus demand pull. tenants are businesses not charities. They should charge what they can get.

@jayrayner1 :if the @brixtonvillage price hikes r because of you, such is life! We should all be promoting Brixton!!

@lukewaterfield @dougiewoo @jayrayner1 @brixtonvillage @BrixtonBlog To the detriment of who though? Inevitable consequence is local people priced out.

@dougiewoo RT @lukewaterfield: @jayrayner1 @brixtonvillage @BrixtonBlog – fair point but you would hope there could be some sensibility there…

@lukewaterfield @dougiewoo @jayrayner1 @brixtonvillage @BrixtonBlog Not seeing it yet. Not sure how many people who work locally can afford a £7 lunch.

@kate_t re.prices, still a great value evening though given its BYO, happy to pay a bit more to keep it worthwhile for the restaurants

@gbbailey Given the popularity of the place it’s hardly surprising. Shame though.

@jayrayner1 and so it begins. I imagine you’ve had a few claiming it’s all my fault.

@nickwood if the demand is there (and it is!) then the prices will follow… I don’t think you can blame them – second outlets to follow?

@natasha_gould from experience, Kaosarn prices went up after the first Jay Rayner review and portions went down. We stopped going after that. it’s a shame. all for supporting local business and healthy capitalism, but when you are fighting for a seat you feel exploited

@northsouthfood I think Kaosarn has gone downhill as well as up in price. But what folk expect? Food prices are up everywhere, so is rent!

@princess_knicks I dunno about shop rent in the village but my landlord just discovered brixton is hot and hiked my flat rent up

 @MsVanessaG could be an umfortunate consiquence of new landlords increasing rents and service charges.

@dougiewoo – Would be a shame if places have increased prices but is it due to greedy landlords that may once again ruin a good thing?


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‘We Love Brixton’ on Windrush Square

‘Who doesn’t love Brixton is a loser’ – epithet written on one of the 8ft letters which spelled out ‘WE LOVE BRIXTON’ on Windrush Square yesterday.


Photo by Jon Darke

Photo by Jon Darke

Decorating the letters

 Photo by Jon Darke

And people gathering to watch…

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Tomorrow: We Love Brixton – Windrush Square

As a response to the London riots, a group of Brixton residents – including several shopowners from ‘Brixton Village’/Granville Arcade – have organised a ‘We Love Brixton’ event tomorrow on Windrush Square. They are going to install ‘WE LOVE BRIXTON’ in 8ft high letters on the square, as an ‘interactive sculpture’, which people will be able to decorate on the day. There will also be a ‘Speakers Corner’ for local residents to voice their opinions and music from the youth brass band, Kinetika Bloco.

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The Brixton Week Ahead

Monday 23: It’s a folk and country night at The Windmill tonight with a line-up that includes Frontier Ruckus from Michigan and Deer Park. £7 advance tickets, The Windmill

Tuesday 24: The Cimarron Festival is a festival celebrating the legacy of African culture in Latin America and tonight at Ritzy Upstairs, they are holding a workshop in Afro-Columbian singing, known as ‘cumbia’. It will be followed by a performance from the Latin American Community Choir. All levels welcome, 7pm, Ritzy Upstairs.

Wednesday 25: A solo exhibition by British artist George Shaw opens at the South London Gallery – ‘The Sly and Unseen Day‘ features his semi-realist paintings of the estate in Coventry where he grew up. Free, South London Gallery.

Thursday 26: Try out the new Thai restaurant, Kaosan, in Granville Arcade. Recently reviewed in The Observer and reviewed here by the Happiness Project London blog.

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Brixton Supper Clubs

The trend for supper clubs continues unabated in London, but Brixton was one of the first off the marks. It has a plethora of now well-established supper clubs and last summer I went to three of them.  Better late than never, here are the reviews:

Warning: supper clubbing doesn’t come cheap.

Our top pick: The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club is run by Rachel Manley from her tiny flat in the centre of Brixton. It is the most unpretentious of them all. Two tables and twelve people are crammed into her kitchen, where she also prepares the food. That means you’re not just encouraged to share and chat with all the other guests – you have to. Rachel is generous with her food – you can ask for seconds and there are constant refills of coffee, tea or home-made elderflower cordial. And the food reflects that generosity. We start off with coconut toast and lime marmalade. The coconut toast is just about the Best Thing Ever, buttery, packed full of coconut and not too sweet. It’s followed by Turkish baked eggs on sourdough with sausages from Brixton farmers’ market. That might look like a small portion below, but it was plenty given how much we still had left to eat and Rachel even offered up more sausages for anyone still wanting. The brunch ended with ice cream sandwiches – again not too sweet – and a beautifully wrapped take-home gift of pistachio macaroons.

Rachel doesn’t just do breakfasts anymore either. Her suppers are £25 and her brunches are £17.50. See here for booking details and photos.












A supper club in the market: The Salad Club

Ellie Grace and Rosie French together make the Salad Club. They write a food blog of the same name, charting their experiments with food, mainly from Brixton Market. The recipes all look lovely and they deservedly won the Observer Food Monthly Best UK Food Blog award last year, but I am going to be controversial here – the food at their supper club, hosted by Cornercopia in September 2010, was not worth the £25/head we paid for it. I was a demanding customer before I’d even reached the table – I forgot that one of my guests was a vegetarian until the day before and then another guest cancelled, so I had to change my reservation. All very annoying for the supper club host who has to do everything on a tight budget and plan meticulously ahead. That said, it didn’t much change how I felt about the food. The starter, smoked haddock and sweet potato chowder, was certainly delicious – warm and hearty. But the main – rare roast beef with beetroot, horseradish and dressed rocket – was a rather dull, limp dish. The beef was a little cold and the vegetarian option merely replaced the beef with lentils, which bizarrely tasted strongly of mustard – a dish of lentils, raw beetroot and not much else. Fun. The plum, pistachio and almond tart which followed was tasty, but overall the meal just wasn’t special enough for the expense (remember that doesn’t include alcohol, because it’s BYO). I could have eaten much better at Bellantoni’s around the corner for £10 a head.

The Salad Club are now available for hire, cooking everywhere from private homes to festivals. See here for details.

Design foodie heaven: Saltoun Supper Club

Saltoun Supper Club is the big daddy of the Brixton supper clubs. It’s notoriously difficult to get a table there but it’s worth the wait just to see Arno Maasdorp’s flat. Maasdorp, the creator of Saltoun Supper Club, is a food stylist and a design obsessive. The white-washed stairs leading to the dining room are lined with well-placed objects, from brightly coloured plastic bears to a single bucket of perfectly sharpened pencils. The dining room itself is like a magic den – lit only by coloured lamps and tealights, strange objects sit artfully on the walls and a chandelier made from a branch hangs above the main table.

The food is mostly beautiful too. We started with a very simple dish – stuffed peppers and roasted beets with hummus. In fact, it seemed a little unnecessary given what was to follow. The star of the show was the next starter –  Truffle Infused Cauliflower Gnocchi with Pecorino. Then we were instructed to troop upstairs to the living room, to digest and prepare for the main course. And the living room wasn’t lacking in design novelties either:

Saltoun is different to Rachel’s Breakfast Club in that you are not especially encouraged to mix with the other guests – we remained on our table of two and even in the interval (for it was like being at a show), no-one really talked outside of their own group. Arno himself makes a real effort to chat to everyone, but it lacked the down-to-earth easiness of the Breakfast Club.

The main was Pork Fillet, Celeriac with Pea & Bean Salad. Delicious again – although the beans were on the chewy side. And then it was time for the stunning pudding – chocolate in various different guises – and a beautiful array of petit fours and fruit. Yum.

£30 a head. BYO. See here for booking details.

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Sunday trading at Brixton Market

Photos from last weekend’s first Sunday trading at Brixton Market:

The Electric Avenue/Atlantic Rd shops all opened up. Cheap veg on a Sunday – hooray!

The new Federation Coffee – now serving food as well as coffee – making good trade

But many shops remained closed:

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Ode to the Brixton Summer

There have been some wonderful May-like days this week, but it’s September, it’s now freezing cold and it’s getting darker earlier every night – yes, the summer is truly over, so here are some photos in memory of it:

The summer starts with flights grounded because of the volcanic ash and Brixton got perfect, plane-less blue skies:

(Photo: Laura Morgan)

Then came the end of Labour and the beginning of Con-Lib…

The Lido went from being empty…

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

to being very full…

Some poor people had exams in the Recreation Centre:

Granville Arcade opened up on Thursday evenings:

(Photo: Damon Hope)

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

The best lasagne in Brixton at Bellantoni's Italian

England put on some poor performances at The Ritzy:

There were street parties – this one’s on Endymion Rd:

And we got to give our opinion on the co-op council by putting plastic balls in red buckets:

Flowers, and especially roses, bloomed all over Brixton:

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

And the foxes came out to play:


(Photo: Jon Biles)

We had what has been named by some “the best Lambeth Country Show ever”:


(Photo: Laura Morgan)


(Photo: Laura Morgan)

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

(Photo: Mike Smith)

photo(Photo: Laura Morgan)

There was a jerk chicken cook-off:

One photographer, Charlie Abbiss, took photos of Brixton Market:

And the star of the summer was…Brockwell Park:


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Brixton films on British Pathe

What a find. British Pathe has opened up an online archive of 90,000 videos including newsreel, sports footage and social history documentaries from 1896-1976.  There are endless wonderful videos here, but since this is a Brixton blog we’re going to concentrate on the Brixton ones. Just enter the search term ‘Brixton’ and you’ll find…

A piggyback race in a Brixton street from 1937, complete with commentary

A Dogs Tea Party in 1958, exclusively for members of the Brixton and District Dog’s Training Club

Shots of diverse Brixton in 1956 under a typical 1950s title – ‘English girls married to Jamaicans live happily in Brixton’

A newsreel about Brixton market in the 1960s – a place, apparently, for “housewives from Barnsley to Beirut”… “For the unfeeling husband who constantly complains, ‘Can’t we have something different?’, here you can buy sweet potatoes, okra, sweetcorn and mangos.”

This is a real treasure trove, so any links to the best videos are welcome in the comments section below.


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Not so frothy coffee – Starbucks-style

This is a step too far for me. It looks like Brixton Rd is going to get that dreaded death knell for any high street – a Starbucks… The  website Building.co.uk reported in February that Starbucks have signed a lease for 439 Brixton Rd, one of the units by the underground station. According to Building.co.uk, the company “is thought to be paying around £110,000 a year for the store which has a 1,300 sq ft ground floor”. On May 16, ‘Caroline 27’ posted on the Urban 75 forum that the lease had been confirmed by @Starbucks. Here is the recent debate on Urban 75

And in the spirit of supporting independent businesses, see below for a mini interview with Lorient Gashi and go here to find out about the new Federation Coffee in the Granville Arcade.


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