Go-ahead for Highbury Corner street trading
Council thinks move will lead to less begging and reduce congestion outside tube station
10 February, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
HIGHBURY Corner is to become a permanent spot for street trading – and Angel, Clerkenwell and Archway are set to be next.
Allowing traders to operate outside Barclays Bank has reduced begging and homeless sleeping in the area, as well as stopping companies promoting their wares outside Highbury and Islington station and causing congestion, the Town Hall’s street trading team say. After a trial of the idea last year, the council has agreed to allow it to happen on a permanent basis.
Companies who give away freebies, or are getting people to sign up to services, are to be the focus. But some residents claim it will add to congestion around Highbury Corner.
“Allowing a street trading pitch of several square metres on the already very limited pavement outside the bank is not a sensible idea,” one objector wrote to Islington Council.
“It may make pedestrians [wanting to avoid being approached by the street traders] move around it and into the path of cyclists turning into Highbury Place from the main road.”
Presenting the idea to councillors on Monday, senior street trading officer Jenny Crawford said: “Several large promotion companies operate in Islington and set up randomly without asking permission.
“I have noticed that the begging and illegal activities had reduced but since we have stopped [the trial] it has slightly gone up again.
“I feel that we need to control these actions rather than them setting up wherever they like and earn some money out of it at the same time.
“We are looking at companies that like to give stuff away as it makes people feel happy in the mornings.”
Local businesses such as textile shop Clarissa Hulse benefited from the trial, where traders paid as little as £15, and organic food home delivery companies such as Abel and Cole.
Larger promotions companies could be charged more, Ms Crawford said.
Cash raised from the scheme will go back into street trading funds and it will not start until early 2018, when Transport for London finish the bridge work at Highbury Corner.
Trading will not be permitted when Arsenal are playing at the Emirates to avoid congestion. Ms Crawford told councillors that other areas of Islington will follow if the scheme is a success.