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Islington could rival Spitalfields for markets under Camden Passage plan after Mary Portas visit

PUBLISHED: 06:19 26 April 2012 | UPDATED: 14:20 26 April 2012

Christine Lovett (left), with Annabel Read (middle), who works at Home and Pantry, and Janet Holdstock from Turn On Lighting at Islington High Street, where the market will be. Photo by Dieter Perry

Christine Lovett (left), with Annabel Read (middle), who works at Home and Pantry, and Janet Holdstock from Turn On Lighting at Islington High Street, where the market will be. Photo by Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Islington could become a trendy market hotspot to rival the likes of Spitalfields and Broadway Market under plans being cooked up in response to the Mary Portas review.

Traders will today hold talks with the team behind Hackney’s popular Broadway Market about bringing Sunday stalls to the cobbled stretch of Islington High Street that leads into Camden Passage.

They hope that together with Chapel Market – which hosts a farmers’ market on Sundays alongside its permanent traders – they can boost footfall by making the area a fashionable market destination.

“Queen of Shops” Mary Portas, who visited the area in January and praised both Camden Passage and Chapel Market, has highlighted the value of markets in her government-backed review of the future of high streets.

Jenny Hughes, who runs Home and Pantry in Islington High Street, said: “We need to increase our footfall as much as possible because it’s tough for anybody in retail at the moment. We read the Mary Portas report and it suggested people want more of an experience when they go shopping and that’s what we’re trying to offer.

“There is so much potential in the Angel, but we need to do more to direct people down to Camden Passage.”

The shopkeepers are being supported by the Angel Business Improvement District (BID) and are already discussing licensing, electricity supply and parking issues with Islington Council.

The market is likely to boast craft, food and clothes stalls, but the organisers insist it will not clash with what is already on offer.

Christine Lovett, director of Angel BID, said: “We have to get the right kind of market that complements Chapel Market and the shops in Camden Passage. It has to fit in.

“It’s all about revitalising the area in light of the Mary Portas review.

“With the two markets working together, we can become more of a market destination like Spitalfields. It would benefit the whole of the Angel.”

Ms Lovett hopes to open up before the summer is out, but added: “We need to make sure we get it right and that we take residents with us.”

Ron Granger, a Chapel Market locksmith and committee member of the stallholders’ association, said: “We’re in favour of anything that would bring more footfall to the area, as long as it doesn’t sell the same things as us.”

A plan to boost Camden Passage by erecting a Carnaby Street-style arch to lead shoppers through to the alleyway is also in the works.


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