We are Brixton. Why should we move out?

Written by on September 5, 2017 in Community, Contributors, Health, Housing, Opinions - 5 Comments

Electric Avenue Mansions

 

Residents of central Brixton have launched a campaign– Sleepless Brixton – to demand action to control increasing levels of noise and anti-social behaviour. This is why …

Sleepless Brixton is a group of long-term local residents of Brixton town centre who want to be able to sleep again.

The heart of Brixton is a diverse community. It’s a place where people live, work, shop, raise their children and grow old.

We love this place and many of us have been here for decades, without a problem. We have had fun here and we like the way other people come to Brixton to have fun too.

But in the past year or so, things have changed and are now so bad that we can no longer sleep. From Thursday night to Monday morning, there is an influx of people and ever-louder amplified noise. The visitors are shouting, screaming and peeing their way round our streets until the early morning – late night revellers who just don’t realise we live here.

Residents are becoming ill. We don’t feel safe and happy in our homes. Often we dread coming home on the weekends. The streets we live in are being treated as a party venue and a toilet.

Sleepless Brixton developed from people who kept meeting in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, trying to talk to amplified buskers at the end of Electric Avenue or in front of the tube. Residents from Electric Avenue and Tunstall Road, we got together to form Sleepless Brixton.

Since setting up our Facebook page, people from Atlantic Road and Brixton Road have been in touch. It has become clear the scale of the problem is much bigger and the number of people affected much larger, than we first thought. We want to work for all the residents of Brixton – not just push problems away from one street to another.

Electric Avenue

 

The stories of three of our members illustrate what we are suffering.


Long-time Electric Avenue resident …

I choose to live in a market, and I love it. But after the last street clean at 10pm or so it used to be quiet. Visitors to places like the Dogstar, 414, The Albert or the Fridge (showing my age here) walked home or to the Tube down the main roads or quietly down the short cuts through Electric Lane or Avenue. But on a Friday night we had, at its peak, four different sets of amplification going on along Brixton Road – including Ed Sheeran lite, distorted speaker reggae and group karaoke.

This started around 11pm and went on until 3am or so. A couple of us went down at midnight and had a chat with one group at the mouth of Electric Ave. They were sweet and apologetic. But by the time it was 1am and the other three people with heavy amplification had started up, noise levels rose again.

All the three groups of buskers were regulars. They simply don’t care.

One, in particular, is threatening. He said that because “you live in crappy flats and I live in a house” it was OK that we didn’t sleep.

Lack of enforcement and the night Tube means the hardest core buskers are now those working the streets here. They have driven off the nice ones, who were also the ones who were thoughtful and responsive to us.

A major consequence of all this amplification is that people walking down the streets raise their voices. They shout and scream their way down Electric Avenue.

Places like Market House and Wahaca have recently started to open their doors and blast heavily amplified music down both ends of Electric Lane. Why shouldn’t they? It is already so loud you wouldn’t believe people actually lived here.

 


Electric Avenue resident …

‘My three year old daughter and I are kept up until the early morning by screaming and howling revellers passing down Electric Avenue most days of the week. It wasn’t like this two years ago, and it has started affecting our health immensely.

“My daughter has developed an extreme sensitivity to noise, and has been diagnosed as having special educational needs as a result. I’ve thought about moving, but can’t afford it.”

 


Eighteen-year resident of Brixton …

I have lived in Brixton for the last 18 years, and spent five years here in the 1980s. I’m a boxing coach and helped to set up the Afewee team that trains in Brixton Rec and coach at other London clubs. I’m also a singer-songwriter and live with my partner on Electric Avenue.

The noise is unbearable: screaming, shouting. There’s nuisance and anti-social behaviour at least four nights a week.

People are peeing everywhere. People go into Brixton Beach peacefully, but from 9pm onwards they start coming out noisy. Not everyone goes home – a lot of them loiter in groups. Sometimes it can go on until 2 or 3 am.

We can’t use our front bedroom. We can only get some sleep because we use the back room. Two of my adult children came to stay here and they couldn’t bear the noise. My son was convalescing and the noise made him worse.

People use the street as a toilet. There is street cleaning at 5.30 in the morning.

Brixton Road has descended into chaos now. The crowds of people on Fridays and the weekends are like the West End. The thoroughfare gets blocked. I’m not sure Brixton was built for this many people.

People can get threatening. There’s the potential for public disorder.

My partner asked a guy to stop peeing in the street, saying “We have to live here”. He said in a posh voice: “Well move somewhere else, then!”

I think he would have got even nastier with her but he saw I was there. I can’t afford to get in a fight, as I’d lose my licence. But people come here and act in a threatening way and, sooner or later, they will end up hurting someone.

Brixton’s always been a residential area. We are Brixton. Why should we move out?

If you want to keep Brixton as a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can live, then please get in touch. Let’s stop Brixton becoming a theme park for the worst kind of drunken tourism.

If you are affected, please sign up

Facebook Twitter: @SleeplessBrix. Or email.

 

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5 Comments on "We are Brixton. Why should we move out?"

  1. RIKE September 7, 2017 at 7:18 pm ·

    Obviously these people who bought their houses when it was cheap in the 80s because it was a loud and run down area, now they have grown out of going out have turned to the side of moaning. If you live in Brixton, Shoredtich, Dalston etc, main night life areas, then this is what you expect. What do they want? For Brixton to lose all of its vibrancy and have the streets dead after 10pm? I bet they love that all the late night venues in London are closing now that they don’t drink or go out anymore. How ridiculous that people move in next to noisy venues and start complaining to get them closed down. Disgraceful nimbyist culture at its absolute finest

  2. Noël September 6, 2017 at 6:49 am ·

    Dave,

    Like you I’m a long time resident of Brixton. I’ve been here 37 years but this isn’t a peeing contest! (Topical pun!)

    I agree with much of what you say. Brixton indeed HAS and always will be a busy, noisy, bustling centre of London but suggesting that disgruntled longtime residents rethink living here is quite frankly rude.

    When newcomers to the area are rude and disrespectful to long time residents the answer shouldn’t be for those residents to leave.

    In my opinion you’ve correctly identified a major reason for this situation as The Council, but simply putting more toilets in place won’t cut it. The council town planners approve plans for clubs, bars and restaurants. And they have clearly allowed greed to lead their decision making by granting so many licences (which would bring in lots of revenue to the area and to themselves) while simultaneously ignoring their responsibility to the residents of that same area.

    Yes, Brixton town centre has always had a lively nighttime economy and, to name a venue, Club 414 and others have always contributed to some late night noise and antisocial behavior but there has never been THIS many venues causing THIS much trouble! Just one place (Pop Brixton) kicks out thousands of late night revellers at close to midnight on a Saturday night. They are almost all drunk and half probably need a pee! I know this as I was there last Saturday (as the non drinker on pain meds) and witnessed it first hand.

    Finally I want to say rather than a nightclub or late night venue on every corner to deter violent muggers (I am paraphrasing you here) can I suggest that if the council are to plan for this many revellers then they should also plan with the police to keep those people, and the local residents, as safe as possible. Surely the first responsibility of the government is a to protect and provide for the people. More community police officers and patrols at those times would help more than an increase in night spots. An increase in venues would only attract more revellers which would in turn provide more rich pickings (last pun I promise) for the criminally minded.

    • Rob/Sleepless Brixton September 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm ·

      Noel, unsurprisingly we agree with your comments. What has become clear that people have up until now not realised there is a problem We need as many people to get on board with our campaign “Sleepless Brixton”. Please do sign up:
      https://goo.gl/forms/KJzUomFvsNtWn2dC2

      • Noël September 7, 2017 at 6:47 am ·

        Done!

  3. Dave September 5, 2017 at 11:16 pm ·

    Brixton has and always will be a busy, noisy, bustling centre of London. I’ve lived in central Brixton for 30 years and it was the fact that there was always something going on at any time night or day that attracted me to the area. This is what makes Brixton, Brixton. Do we want to sanitise the town centre and put it on a curfew? Does this mean that clubs like 414 should be closed down? The noise and behaviour of people leaving that club through the night is just as bad as anywhere else. My fear is where does it stop. Before you know it, the beating heart of Brixton has been ripped out as residents complain about the noise and venues are prevented from opening or worse still, they start being shut down. Having late night licenses also makes the streets safer as there is more natural surveillance. Two girls were violently mugged on Stockwell Avenue just off the High Street a couple of days ago. Had there been people about, then it probably wouldn’t have happened.

    Re the toilet situation, it’s always been bad in Brixton. The solution isn’t to rip the fun out of Brixton and blame the venues, it lies in the council providing more toilets, whether they’re permanent or temporary.

    If it’s a quite life away from Brixton night life you want then maybe Brixton Town Centre isn’t the place to live.

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