Nag’s Head Market: Upper Place could still open with 20% food discount for neighbours, says owner

Life at the Nags Head Market. Picture: Instagram/Nags Head Market

Life at the Nags Head Market. Picture: Instagram/Nags Head Market - Credit: Archant

Neighbours of the Nag’s Head covered market’s soon-to-open upper floor could be offered a permanent 20 per cent discount off food as a peace-making gesture, says the freeholder.

Satpal Sethi hopes the new Upper Place floor above his Seven Sisters Road market, which can accommodate 17 food traders, will open to punters at the end of next month – but Islington’s economy chief fears traders could be priced out.

Mr Sethi, who already manages Broadway Market Tooting, hopes to be the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) for the Upper Place. It won’t be selling alcohol, as it was denied a licence in February.

He says Simone Mornoni, who initially applied to be DPS, is no longer the Upper Place leaseholder but will still have some involvement in the venture by supplying traders. Mr Moroni wasn’t available for comment.

“It will be a food court and mixed market,” said Mr Sethi. “So again there are food units and it will be the same as what we have [applied to do] before but with no alcohol.

“The thing is we have already spent huge money [on the Upper Place] and everything is already there so we are going to do it. It should have worked with alcohol but we are going to do it now without. We want to offer local residents a 20 per cent discount on the food.”

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Mr Sethi hopes to have a seated dining area upstairs where people can dine until 10pm or 11pm each evening. He says the existing traders downstairs are supportive, as the market currently only opens until 7pm and this will create “more footfall”.

The original application catalysed a petition signed by 219 neighbours opposed to the plan, as well as 37 representations against it and 21 letters in support.

It was snubbed by councillors in February on the basis on the basis it could have breached licencing policy around the Finsbury Park Cumulative Impact area.

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Key concerns included its capacity, opening hours, proximity to neighbours and children, the areas high alcohol density and preexisting problems with drug-taking and anti-social behaviour near the Hersteld Road Morrisons.

But Mr Sethi added: “It will be good for the community. They didn’t understand before. We are not making a night club, disco or pub: if you want to go to a restaurant you would want to have some wine.” He said fears of drug-users frequenting the premise were over-stated as drinks would have been too expensive for them to afford.

“We will work with residents,” he said. “We are not against them. We want to make the area nice, so this is good for the whole of Holloway.”

But Cllr Gary Heather (Lab, Finsbury Park), who made a representation against the last application, is still far from convinced.

He told the Gazette: “I’ve been approached by a number of residents in the area expressing concern about the expanded use of the food hall.

“It’s all the same concerns as before, even if people don’t get alcohol there they could get drunk before, or could possible even bring their own drinks.

“Councillors are keen to work with the market owners to make sure it continues to serve the community.”

Islington’s economics chief Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “I have concerns about the owners’ plans for the market in that it will displace local traders and local communities that have been at the market. I have concerns the plans could result in increased rent and prices. We need an inclusive economy for all and places like Finsbury Park and the Nag’s Head Market are really important as they’re affordable, social and local.”

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