Lambeth today: Business brains

By Noella Pio Kivlehan

Stakeholders in three of Lambeth's fast-changing areas discuss the benefits of their location and what they bring to the community

The Department Store, Brixton


Spaces such as Pop Brixton – opened in 2015 – are bringing commercial opportunities to an area where demand outstrips supply. Community pride defines Brixton, and one of south London’s most famous areas has become a hub of creativity, which determined businesses are proud to call home.

Michael Squire partner, architect Squire & Partners, founded in 1976
"When we viewed a 1906 dilapidated former Edwardian department store just off Brixton Road, we fell in love with both the building and the area for its character and strong sense of community, as well as being less than 10 minutes from central London. The development of The Department Store, which we moved into in 2017, aimed to establish a wide range of community benefits, from the restoration of a locally significant building, to the provision of a bar and restaurant, post office, vinyl store, coffee roastery and cafe. As well as being home to our headquarters, the site provides a platform for the creative community, hosting a number of free events during the year.

"We believe Brixton has exceptional, as-yet-unrealised potential for offices and other commercial uses; the amenities are here, all that is needed is to make newcomers welcome and help them establish themselves. Over the next decade, Brixton should develop naturally and incrementally."


An investment and growth strategy is currently being developed for Streatham. The district has seen a significant amount of investment in recent years, including upgrades to streets and public spaces, while research shows occupancy rates and values are improving. The strategy will aim to steer and build on growth, demonstrated by the new leisure centre, Streatham Space Project and growing Streatham Festival. Closely connected to central London, Streatham will also benefit from being one stop away from the Crossrail2 line. It currently has short direct rail and road links to two major international airports at London Luton and Gatwick airport.

Louise Abbott BID manager, inStreatham
"Streatham is home to amazing events, such as arts and food festivals sponsored and funded by the BID. They boost footfall, help the local economy and create buzz. One of our main aims is to mobilise our local community and let them know about the fabulous businesses we have here. Many new businesses have opened in Streatham due to the BID, from large retailers – Aldi, Marks & Spencer, The Gym Group and Starbucks – to independent shops opening second or third branches. They believe Streatham's customer profile is changing and this fits their brand. We also now have Streatham Hill’s creative arts and theatre centre; the Streatham Space Project."

West Norwood

Over the last few years, the 2009 West Norwood masterplan, which outlined details for a new leisure centre, a primary school, a refurbished or redeveloped library and additional retail, has come to fruition. The West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre opened at the end of 2017 – and a £1.125 million library and cinema, with four screens in summer 2018.

Peter Jackson owner, Milton Lloyd, perfume manufacturer

"We came to West Norwood in 1982, and it has been a blast. The area is a great place to locate our business. It has the best train station, bus garage, and community. I have personally seen a lot of enormous changes, all of which have been for the better. Councillor Jackie Meldrum and her colleagues have quietly done a great job over the past decade of improving West Norwood.

"The council, which has spent much of the same period talking about improvements, has a lot of great projects, such as the library complex and swimming pool complex. These are already in-hand or have been completed recently. I think investment is going to the right places and I believe West Norwood is a jewel which would emerge anyway."

The full version of this article appears in issue two of Lambeth magazine.

Click here to get a free copy





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