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Chicago is in town

Chicago is coming to Brixton. Not the musical, but delegates from the City of Chicago visited Brixton on Monday 26 April to learn how Lambeth Council is helping the area’s commercial and business sectors to grow and develop.

Chicago’s Director of Urban Design and Planning contacted Steph Butcher, Lambeth Council’s Brixton Town Centre Director, and asked if a delegation could come to the borough to learn more about the way the council manages and develops Brixton. Located on the south side of Chicago, the area of Bronzeville has similar issues and challenges to Brixton.

Representing Chicago’s schools, university, housing, police and planning, the delegation were particularly interested in how Brixton’s retail areas are maintained and protected and in the initiatives to attract and retain businesses in the area.

The delegation was taken on a tour which included visiting Brixton Market and Windrush Square. They also met Stuart Horwood from Brixton Market Traders’ Federation and Stacey Raymond from Morley’s department store.

Brixton town Centre Manager, Steph Butcher said; “Bronzeville and Brixton clearly have similarities and I am delighted to share our experiences of managing a town centre such as Brixton with its unique character, community, ways of working and development opportunities. This is a great opportunity to learn from each other and to develop a strong relationship between Lambeth and Chicago”.

Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, Executive Director of Quad Communities Development Corp., and part of the Chicago delegation, commented:

“What we’ve experienced is the vibrancy of Brixton. Both greater Bronzeville and Brixton are facing the same type of issues. We loved the markets and would like to return and study Brixton to implement a market initiative in greater Bronzeville. After a successful redevelopment in Bronzeville, there is no longer a clear distinction between public and private housing. We are now looking to bring in more retailers and amenities into the area including an arts and recreation centre for the community – we also think Brixton has done a great job with this.”

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