There’s been a fair bit of turmoil in British retail in the last few months, and Lavender Hill has to some extent echoed national trends – here’s a quick roundup of some of the businesses we’ve lost and the new ones to welcome. We’ve seen the sudden demise of Valentina, although it’s encouraging that the Lavender Hill branch was one of the final three to survive after the rest of the small chain collapsed some months previously, meaning that this good-sized restaurant will hopefully find a new taker soon. It’s striking how fast the business collapsed – the premises show signs of a sudden and hurried departure, and a month later there is still some Tiramisu in the fridges, which are still on… We hope the new owners keep the olive tree. Business rates are having an impact – we also seen the closure of the Lock Centre, a long-established part of Lavender hill and the birthplace of many of the locks on the houses and flats around it, as well as Braggins Carpets, another long-term trader. Braggins began a closing process (but have since continued to operate from half of the old shop unit), although we understand that the business may be continuing from new premises.
But it’s not all closures. Further along the street, newly opened SK:N clinic has taken over the whole of the old Lavender Hill GP practice. And Summit Newsagents next to Bar Social, which had been for sale for a while, has opened as Gas Monkey. In a bit of local trader support, the new sign for Gas Monkey was made by Signtair (at the other end of the street).
There are recent signs of life in the former Ciao Martina restaurant unit half way along the street (closed for some time), and in the former Bangkok Boulevard (which closed suddenly following a visit by the food hygiene inspectors), though what they are becoming is currently unclear.
The Crown has reopened following a major internal and external refurbishment. Its good to see a pub hat has stayed (more or less) a proper pub, and that remains successful and busy.
And as noted in another article on this site, the long-closed Ichnusa gastropub may yet be converted to a supermarket as a branch of the Co-op – and in doing so reopen a branch of the Co-op that closed many years ago.
Finally long-established trader 1st Stop , who have traded from various premises over the years, have been replaced by IdeaSpace – a new flexible office space. It’s not all over for 1st stop though; we hear a new shop is due to open on nearby Northcote Road.