Brixton Business Improvement District (BID) has published proposals for a “new normal” which would see the town centre pedestrianised.  

The not-for-profit group of local businessess behind the proposals, dubbed ‘Brixton Playground’,  said if some streets were closed to traffic, restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops would be able to trade along the streets, while allowing for safe social distancing. 

A spokesperson said: “Brixton Playground would see the pedestrianisation of Brixton Town Centre, including Atlantic Road, Coldharbour Lane, Beehive Place, Brixton Station Road, Pope’s Road and Ferndale Road. 

“The Brixton business community believe this will allow for the safe reopening of the neighbourhood following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The ‘Brixton Playground’ would create spaces to bring our multicultural community together, encourage dwell time, support family activities, providing a relaxing environment for people to dine, wander, socialise and enjoy our famous town centre.

“We want to bring these interactions onto our streets: playing, walking, cycling, reading, a liveable, inclusive and sustainable neighbourhood for all.”

Once the new Business and Planning Bill 2020 is passed, businesses will be able to apply for a ‘pavement licence’ until September 2021.  

The BBID’s vision includes permanent pedestrianisation after a three-month trial, road closures in Atlantic Road, Coldharbour Lane, Beehive Place, Brixton Station Road, Pope’s Road and Ferndale Road, and daily trading in the streets permitted from 10am to 10pm.  

Street cleaning and deliveries would be allowed between 6am to 9am. 

The plans would allow businesses to install outdoor furniture outside, such as tables and chairs, and green features. 

The Brixton BID board said the changes would “give us an opportunity to survive through these difficult times and keep our staff in employment and contributing to the local economy and for residents and visitors to enjoy Brixton”. 

A Lambeth Council spokesperson said: “We have been working hard to support long-standing local businesses throughout the crisis, and will be paying out around £65million to ensure their survival via grants, rent relief, business rate relief, freezing commercial waste charges and we have set up an emergency business task force with our business groups.

“The borough’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have an important role to play as the coronavirus lockdown eases and businesses re-open. Many of the council’s aims, ambitions and projects reflect the Brixton Bid’s proposal – and as a key local stakeholder their input will be crucial as we all focus on recovering from the Covid-19 crisis, cutting air pollution and improving the local environment.

“Lambeth Council has been working hard to make sure social distancing measures are followed in Brixton town centre to ensure the safety of shoppers. We also recognise that there’s a clear need to prioritise clean and sustainable transport, such as walking and cycling, as we look to the future.

“The council’s Brixton Liveable Neighbourhood Programme seeks to create the space for residents, shoppers and businesses to thrive in a cleaner and healthier environment. We have also just launched our Railton Road area low traffic neighbourhood scheme which features temporary road closures, as well as more space for people to walk, cycle, socialise and shop at safe distances.

“Any permanent changes to road layouts after this temporary emergency response be consulted on with the community once the data has been analysed.”

Brixton BID represents over 500 small and large businesses.