Sadly, the iconic canopies aren't coming back, but here's what the money is for:
I asked the Project manager of the project:The money will see Victorian properties restored and empty upper floor space brought back into use as new homes. Grants of up to 85 per cent will be available to property and business owners in the area for relevant building work. Eligible works will include:
- Bringing empty residential and commercial premises back into use
- Upgrading windows, shopfronts and signage
- Repairing or reinstating historic architectural details
The response:While we think that improvements to Electric Avenue are long, long overdue, we can’t help be concerned that these may prove a catalyst in changing the character of the street, with long term local traders being priced out to make way for trendier new businesses and chains – much like what is happening in Granville Arcade/Market Row.
We’ll be contacting Lambeth and asking them what measures they have in place to prevent this (if indeed they are minded to do so).
We’re also be asking them if them what proportion of the new housing being brought back into use will be social housing and/or truly “affordable,” or if it will prove to be yet another cash cow for private developers.
More info: http://www.brixtonbuzz.com/2014/09/brixtons-iconic-electric-avenue-to-be-restored-with-2-6-million-of-funding-but-the-canopies-wont-be-coming-back/The Council has limited direct powers to control private businesses, rents etc. However, the THI grants will offer a unique opportunity for existing business and property owners (often one and the same) to improve their premises and capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the THI and wider Brixton regeneration.
All grants will be subject to a signed agreement with a proportional repayment clause that comes into effect if the grantee disposes of a property within 10 years.