On Saturday we went for a stroll in Islington.
Instead of leaflets to deliver, we had Eggs royale at Med Kitchen, overlooking Islington Green; bliss. Then on to Camden Passage, where we bought something lovely & vintage for my sister in law Ros (a belated birthday present). I’m not going to say what in case she reads it before she receives it...
Camden Passage is seeing the arrival of more chains (albeit upmarket ones – Reiss, FrostFrench, LomBok) replacing some of the independent antiques traders that give the area its unique character. Now there are lots of reasons why London’s upmarket international antiques trade has been suffering; weak dollar, fears of terrorism, modernist decor, economic downturn etc. And if an individual trader chooses to relocate or retire that’s their privilege. But there’s a specific threat in Islington.
The Mall, home to dozens of small units, has changed hands, and the developer has applied for permission to knock out the internal partitions, effectively evicting them. Two or three of the units are already vacant as traders have anticipated the worst and moved elsewhere. But Islington Council is having none of it; last week the South Area planning committee threw out the application. They had to do it on historic building grounds; there’s no planning law protecting one type of retail over another. That’s something the Sustainable Communities Act could let communities change, but despite a waffly bit of guidance, there’s no sign of action to implement this from the Government yet.