L-R: Cllr Emma Nye, Cllr Scarlett O
L-R: Cllr Emma Nye, Cllr Scarlett O'Hara and Cllr Donatus Anyanwu

Coldharbour ward councillors, Cllr Anyanwu, Cllr Nye and Cllr O’Hara, blog about the importance of maintaining the diversity of Brixton market, and protecting its long-standing traders…

Brixton market is a place close to the heart of every Lambeth resident. It is not only a market where local people come to shop but is also a safe and friendly location to meet with family and friends and have a coffee or something to eat. People travel here from outside the borough to buy and sell all manner of things, and they have been doing this since the 1920s.

It’s a place where local people of all ages and backgrounds feel at home whether they are buying fish or Chinese herbs, getting a haircut, or eating breakfast, and whether they are spending a small amount or more. It’s a place for families and people of all incomes and the things it sells and services it provides really matter to the people who live here.

As the elected representatives for Coldharbour ward, the market is something that we have worked hard to protect over the years. We championed the application to secure cultural heritage status for the market back in 2010, and we continue to work closely with traders and the trader’s federation to make sure that local, longstanding sellers feel empowered to run their businesses.

We have been talking to traders and they welcome Hondo’s commitments to investing in the physical infrastructure of the market without recharging them as well as their pledge to protect the longstanding traders. The diverse make-up of the market is what enables it to be the thriving community hub it is today.

Brixton market has been the heart of the African and Caribbean community in London, and of the UK, since the Windrush generation moved to Britain at the end of World War II. The market helped those that came to our country decades ago to settle in; it was a place where they could find familiar foods, build relationships, set up businesses and find their way in a new country. Decades later, it still stands as the cultural heart of the same community and it is for that reason that we are proud that the market has listed status as a place of significant cultural importance.

But our main priority as Coldharbour ward councillors is to see the longstanding traders of the market protected and able to flourish under the new ownership. These are people who have a key stake in the local community, have weathered the ups and downs of Brixton and have now played a key part in the improvements in the area. They have provided a place where they can sell and do business that is vital for our community as a whole.

We urge Hondo to continue to ensure that its commitments to keeping our longstanding traders and maintaining the diversity (in all its forms) of the market are kept front and centre of its future plans and we look forward to working with them, and the council, to make sure that these pledges are realised.

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