Many local residents have been involved in the campaign to save a wonderful local independent shop in Brixton, Nour Cash & Carry. I’m delighted to share that yesterday Nour Cash & Carry reached an agreement with their landlord which means they have a secure, long term future in Brixton at a level of rent they can afford.
Nour Cash & Carry has been in Brixton for more than 20 years selling low cost fresh food and an amazingly wide range of ingredients from all over the world. It was one of the first shops that I visited when I moved to Brixton more than two decades ago and I’ve been a customer ever since. It provides both a vital service to local residents and an embodiment of our identity as a diverse and internationalist community.
In recent months, Nour Cash & Carry has been under threat after the landlords of Brixton Village and Market Row announced that they needed to build a new electricity sub-station in Nour's shop unit and issued an eviction notice.
As soon as I heard about this issue in February, I contacted the owners of Nour Cash & Carry and met with them. Following this visit, I wrote to ans subsequently met with the landlord several times on behalf of the family, most recently last week. The Coldharbour ward councillors also supported this campaign and worked closely with me, delivering a petition with more than 55,000 signatures to Lambeth Council.
I was absolutely clear from the very beginning that Nour Cash & Carry must have a long term, sustainable future at the heart of Brixton and that the eviction notice must be withdrawn.
I am grateful to everyone who signed the petition and campaigned for Nour Cash & Carry, making it absolutely clear that our precious local businesses cannot and will not be swept aside. The battle that Nour Cash & Carry has faced demonstrates a major problem with the lack of protection for longstanding, independent businesses in law and it has long been my view that this needs to be addressed.
Across London, we are seeing small businesses - often BAME-run - being forced to close as rents are hiked up. Our independent businesses are at the heart of our communities, they give life and uniqueness to our high streets and town centres and serve local residents well. As we think about our post-coronavirus vision for our country, we must find ways to protect and support the small businesses we value so much.