900-year-old Farringdon market can continue despite opposition

Cowcross Street where the street food market is held

Cowcross Street where the street food market is held - Credit: Google

A street food market in Farringdon has been given permission to operate for three more years by Islington Council despite continued opposition from neighbours living nearby.

The market in Cowcross Street will be run by specialist food operator Urban Food Fest, which now has separate permission to use its own power supply – potentially avoiding the need for noisy generators. 

Objectors had sought to curb the market’s operation on the basis of noise issues, the size of food trucks “impacting the appearance of the area”, and concerns of anti-social behaviour.

One, who was representing flats in a neighbouring block, said: “The main issue we have had is the noise complaint which has been acknowledged now regarding the use of standalone temporary generators. 

“The objection here is to the vehicles in particular, because we feel the vehicles change the character of the market, are detrimental to the quality of this particular open space, and if there were to be 13 stalls, 13 vehicles here, it would just end up looking like a car park.”

They added: “If you walk down the street now, you see shop after shop has closed unfortunately because of the situation we have been in, so why are we now allowing a situation where more people would be able to come in their vans to the area, set up a stall and take away from more permanent locations on Cowcross Street?”

A representative for the applicants, real estate company Newsteer, said: “We had a consultation event with neighbours in November and the response we had at that event was very positive. All of those power supply elements can serve every single one of the market, so there will be no stall that cannot access this supply. 

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“In terms of the shops closing – competition is not a planning consideration, so regrettably I do not think that is a matter for debate.”

Cowcross Street has been a market area for centuries. Smithfield Market was in existence by 1123, along with a separate cow market after which Cowcross Street is named.

Committee chair Cllr Angela Picknell said: “It seems to me that we have vans coming and going whatever happens.

“The ability to use clean electrical power rather than generators is a definite move forward."