Lambeth Council may green-light a new 20 storey office mega-tower next week, despite huge opposition from Brixton locals.
The neighbourhood consultation period came to end last week, with 1340 (90%) comments objecting to the proposals, with just 148 comments of support registered.
The proposed Pope’s Road development, which would dominate the iconic Electric Avenue, is the work of Hondo AG, a property developer who already owns the nearby Brixton Market.
Hondo are already notorious locally due to a successful campaign earlier this year to save Nour, a family-run grocery shop in Brixton Market which the company was trying to evict.
Hondo claims that the Pope’s Road development will deliver 2,000 jobs for Brixton and £2.8m a year for the local economy, as well as a new public square and community space.
However, many are skeptical about the demand for office space in the area and believe the proposals will contribute to gentrification.
An online petition against the development has nearly 6,000 signatures, and stakeholders including Historic England, the Brixton Society, the Brixton Market Traders Federation, ward Cllr Emma Nye, and local MP Helen Hayes have all voiced their opposition.
Hondo in turn have been seen soliciting signatures in support of the mega-tower in the streets of Brixton.
The Brixton Society said the major issues were the excessive height of the tower, in an area which even Lambeth Council have said is unsuitable for tall buildings, as well as the large amount of traditional office space, which does not meet the needs of local commerce.
Zita Holbourne, co-founder of BARAC UK (Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts) said: “A towering office block casting its shadow over the heart of Brixton is the last thing that is needed.
“This is a further act of gentrification, attempting to marginalise and drive out established communities, including the Windrush generation and their descendants.
“The local authority should be engaging with the local community and listening and acting on the issues that impact on their lives, discrimination, poverty, injustice, the devastating impacts of coronavirus including jobs and the labour market going forward.
“Brixton does not need or want a tower block of offices, especially not at this time.”
Steadman Scott, co-founder of the Brixton Recreational Centre’s award-winning Afewee Training Centre, was outraged at the lack of community consultation.
He said: “We built this part of London when nobody would come here and live. Now it’s the hip thing and they don’t want us to be part of it. They should be putting up something that will bring unity to the community.”
A council spokesperson said: “We don’t normally comment on ongoing planning applications, at least until they’ve been through the entire process.
“The documents published alongside the application, which will be considered at the PAC meeting next Tuesday, will give you an idea of the planners’ views on the proposals, and how they fit in with the council’s overall plans for the area.”
The Planning Application Meeting is due to meet at 7pm on 3 November, after the committee deferred a final decision in August.