A campaign has been launched to stop Brixton market mainstay Nour Cash & Carry from being evicted by its new landlord, Texan property developer Taylor McWilliams who is part of DJ and event group Housekeeping.
There was some uproar when the sale went through at the time. Hondo bought the space where Club 414 had shuttered. McWilliams claimed in August 2019 it would save the club. "When the opportunity presented itself we therefore felt we had to step in and save Club 414, an iconic entertainment venue in the heart of Brixton," he said via Brixton Blog. Hondo says to Magnetic that Club 414 will reopen in the next few months.
But the sale has come back into focus after Nour was served an eviction notice with the date to vacate on July 22, 2020. According to a change.org petition, it serves 90% of nearby restaurants, has been in business for over 20 years and is a multicultural immigrant-owned businesses in the area that stands against the rapid gentrification of the area. Brixton has a large Afro-Caribbean community, but rising housing prices and new building projects have added new white residents.
"Taylor's efforts to shut down a shop that many people rely on for their heritage foods has made us feel unwelcome in our own home," Save Nour's GoFundMe page reads. "We want him to understand that his callous gentrification is not welcome in Brixton."
Sign the petition to Save Nour. 50,000 have so far signed and it has already garnered support from some big name DJs.
There has been a bunch of posturing by Hondo about why they need to evict Nour. They claim it is to make structural improvements to the building.
“Hondo has invested extensively with regards to heating, drainage, and the infrastructure within the Market, however, the lack of power still remains a major challenge with regular power cuts for the 50 traders in Market Row,” said the company to Dazed on April 28. “In order to support all a traders, we are required to build a new electrical substation which UK Power Networks informed us had to go in Nour’s unit. After exploring a number of solutions for Nour Cash and Carry, including Hondo building a new unit for them at our cost, we are pleased to be in the positive, final stages of discussions to retain them within Brixton Market.”
However, the evidence that the power station has been weak, according to Save Nour. Since then, MP Helen Hayes and some Lambeth Council members have moved to support Nour, "calling for the eviction notice to be withdrawn and for Nour to stay in their current unit."
Housekeeping has tried to distance themselves from McWilliams’ business actions, but that is pretty hard to do when they get loans from Hondo with no interest rates or a set fixed repayment schedule, according to public records shown by Save Nour. Housekeeping has deleted their Twitter and Facebook and turned off comments on their Instagram.
Read this great report on Housekeeping and the incredible wealth of those in the group by The Quietus. McWilliams isn’t the only one with wealth that has banked his way into the business. They have aristocratic connections, have eye-watering family wealth or work in banking. They are Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe (step-brother of Cressida Bonas), Sebastian Macdonald-Hall (Evolve Estates director) and Carl Waxberg (Citibank director). Hondo also wants financial help from the government now, which seems pretty rich.
UPDATE: Hondo sent us this very long statement about why they believe the they need to evict Nour and add the substation.
"Hondo recognizes that Brixton Market plays a huge part in the lives of thousands of people and is integral to what makes Brixton home. We are committed to protecting this community asset for many years to come. In stark contrast to the false and appalling allegations circulating on social media that Taylor, and Hondo Enterprises, 'don't care about the community,' in fact, nearly £2 million has been spent on the infrastructure at the market, making sure that local traders can continue to work there. Brixton Market now has free space available for community groups and charities across the week, including a permanent space for a local food bank. Hondo have signed over 60 new affordable deals over the last year and all traders being offered three months free rent during this difficult economic period.
We recognize everyone has a right to protest, but it should be peaceful and based on fact. Notice had to be issued so that an electrical substation could be built. But Taylor, and Hondo, do not want Nour to leave the market. To that end, we are building a new unit for them to go into, on favorable terms. We very much hope they decide to remain part of the market.
There is a very good reason that a new electrical substation has to be put in. As we have previously made clear, Brixton Market has had an issue with insufficient power for many years with a number of tenants reporting prolonged power cuts. Hondo has been unable to meet the requests of a number of existing tenants to upgrade their power and upgrades requested for new units as the existing UKPN infrastructure to the market is at its capacity. The lack of power is stifling the market, obstructing vacant units from being occupied. These empty units have a large negative impact on footfall, preventing the market from sufficiently servicing traders and therefore the community.
The attached statement details how Hondo worked with UKPN to upgrade the power supply. As detailed in the attached after exhausting other options, UKPN set out various stringent conditions to design the new substation:
- Adequate usable floor space and headroom (4.7m wide (to the roadside) x 4.0m deep x 2.5m high for the substation (as UKPNs drawingEDS07-3102.20 B) and 5.0m long x 2.0m deep LV Switchroom.
- Security against unauthorized entry
- Unrestricted 24hr access
-Natural ventilation to remove heat from the substation
- Located adjacent an external wall,
- Suitable access for the safe installation and replacement of substation equipment
- Access for cables.
In our search for a suitable site, we found that these conditions are not easily fulfilled, especially in a listed heritage operating market. Following an extensive review UKPN confirmed that the requirements for a 2.5m headroom and direct access from the road would preclude any other location and thereby confirmed the rear of unit 23 location (Nour’s unit).
Despite this, in order to retain Nour, we looked at a number of possibilities culminating in Hondo agreeing to pay for a large purpose-built unit for them in the Brixton Village Market. The application for this new unit, which was submitted in December, has been approved and the current offer put to Nour meets all their most up to date requirements, including lower rent than they are currently on. We sincerely hope they sign the long-term affordable deal that is currently with them, so they can remain within Brixton Market.”