Government Communities Secretary John Denham visited Brixton yesterday (Thursday December 3) to hear first hand how the council is helping its town centres beat the recession. He announced that Lambeth Council is to benefit from a £52.6k cash injection from the government to reopen or re-use empty shops.
He met Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed and Brixton Town Centre Director Stephanie Butcher for a tour around the area to see what is being done to keep the high street buzzing and the local economy thriving. The party visited:
- Brixton Village indoor market – which has benefited from a project run in partnership with Space Makers Agency – to turn 20 vacant units into start up shops for 3 months – rent free.
- Windrush Square, a treasured local landmark that is benefiting from a £6.5m TfL funded refurbishment and facelift, due to complete in January 2010.
- A former Woolworths’ store that has been taken over by fashion store H&M
The local economy has also benefited from the recent launch of the Brixton Pound (one Brixton pound is equal to one pound sterling). The currency can only be used in local shops ensuring that money spent in Brixton, stays in Brixton.
Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed said: “We have had to think creatively about the best way of keeping the Brixton economy thriving and the high street vibrant, and I am both proud and pleased to see that our solutions have reaped positive and tangible benefits.
“Working with local organisations and groups, we have been able to attract new businesses into the area, and ensured that cash is circulated within the local boundary and does not leach outside of the borough”.