By Eoin O’Donnell
Traders on a “forgotten” Brixton street have launched a campaign to clean up the road and boost business.
Shops and bars on the southern end of Atlantic Road, including Diverse, Brixton Whole Foods and the Kaff Bar, have launched the Atlantic Parade Traders Association. Together they hope to improve the area’s appearance, which they say is neglected and having a negative impact on trade.
Requests have been put forward to Lambeth Council for increased refuse collections, additional signposting and maintenance to damaged footpaths.
Proposals for hanging baskets, street benches and a Sunday market on Vining Street are also being discussed.
Anita Thorpe is owner of Diverse gift shop and the driving force behind the initiative. She said the businesses want to see the area develop “its own unique identity”. Rebranding their end of the street as Atlantic Parade is one approach being considered and initial meetings with the council have been described as “positive”.
Hammant Patel Villa, who runs the Courtesan dim-sum restaurant , also feels that the area has been overlooked. “This road has been completely forgotten about, you might as well have a Brixton map that doesn’t include us because the streets are dirty and the pavements are broken.”
Mr Patel Villa said that businesses support the rejuvenated Brixton Village nearby but they also want to know how they can benefit from similar developments happening throughout Brixton. He adds: “Other areas have had the success stories because they have had a lot of support.”
A proposed ‘Business Improvement District’ (BID) run by traders further north on Atlantic Road could mean funding for additional police as well as improvements to the indoor market and the surrounding streets there. But that process is at an early stage and does not solve the issues currently concerning the Atlantic Parade Traders Association.
Despite this, Steve Ross, owner of the Kaff Bar, believes the cultural diversity and determination of the businesses in the area are genuine reasons for optimism. “This is the old ‘Frontline’. This is the most famous street in Brixton. The history behind it is unbelievable. There’s nothing to say we can’t turn it around.”