Brixton Market is the sort of place you could never design from scratch — characterful and nourishing. But like any eco-system, the balance is delicate. ‘It’s not going to last forever,’ say the stallholders. What they fear is the moment the market becomes the victim of its own success. Two recent events seem to have brought this closer. The first was rent rises of between ten and 28 per cent imposed by InShops, the company that manages the market from its head office in Liverpool. At Nour Cash & Carry, owner Salam Shaheen says his 22 per cent rent rise will shut him down, while his daughter Saja believes there is a move to ‘change the demographic of Brixton’. The feeling is so strong that locals have started a campaign to save the shop.
The other event was the first real stinker of a review for one of the Market’s restaurants, Wishbone, a fried chicken joint on Market Row, started by one of the founders of MeatLiquor. ‘Something was bound to come along to sour the whole affair,’ wrote The Observer’s food critic Jay Rayner, who had been a local champion of the market. ‘That something is Wishbone.’ Aside from the ‘awful’ cooking, he found its bullishly trendy aesthetic ‘completely out of place… all shiny polished floors and chrome-accessorised bars. It looks like a lump of Soho transported south of the river.’
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