Lights out at Electric Avenue – Brixton stallholders left in darkness with hazardous plug sockets

Stallholders on Brixton’s Electric Avenue say they are being forced to brave ‘dangerous’ plug sockets – despite a £1 million investment from Lambeth Council.

Terry Beeke, 73, who has sold vegetables on the market street for 60 years, believes his business has been ruined.

He said: “The council have put plug sockets beneath us in the middle of the street, but when it rains they fill up with water and they’re a huge safety hazard.

“I’ve contacted the council to come and fix the problem but so far no one has turned up to deal with it.”

Another stall holder of 35 years, who asked not to be named, said she had been forced to buy battery powered lights or close up early.

She said: “I’ve been selling fruit and vegetables for 35 years and I’ve been forced to buy lights that we can’t recharge.

“What do we do when they run out? We have to go home. How can the council justify this investment and leave us in darkness?”

According to the council the Electric Avenue redevelopment was designed to alleviate a fall in trade over the last few years.

But Mr Beeke said he had been left out of pocket.

“During the redevelopment I was slaughtered business-wise as we lost our location,” he said.

“It was meant to take six months and it took ten, but during that period we were moved around away from our regular pitch while being forced to pay the same monthly rent.”

Electric Avenue

A Lambeth Council spokesman said: “Lambeth Council secured over £1m investment and funding for Electric Avenue and the work that has been carried out has been designed, planned and delivered in partnership with traders, the Brixton BID and others.

“The driving force to seek funding came from traders concerned about declining footfall and trade.

“Improvements include increased pitch sizes and new market stalls that are quicker to assemble and provide greater weather protection and the general environment is greatly improved for shoppers and traders.

“There is still some work to be done but once completed, there will be better access to electricity and water.

“Each electric unit has its own drainage system and if the issue of water filling is raised, it will be investigated but we are not aware of any problems.”

“Construction works were phased so we were able to offer all traders an alternative pitch size on Electric Avenue, in line with their licence.”

He said traders were given the opportunity to seek compensation if they could demonstrate a negative impact on trade, though none had done so.

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