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Manze’s loss ‘another nail in market’s coffin’

Traders fear move towards gentrification after ‘heartbreaking’ closure of pie and mash shop

04 August, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

Tracy Hooker at work in Manze’s: ‘I’ve seen the changes’

TRADERS have accused the Town Hall of not doing enough to halt Chapel Market’s gentrification after Manze’s pie and mash shop announced it was closing.

Manze’s has been serving traditional grub at the Angel market since 1911.

But it emerged last week that owner Tim Nicholls is shutting up shop after 21 years due to a rent increase and a massive hike in business rates. It will cease trading around Christmas.

The closure has been described as “another nail in the coffin” of the market, amid fears that rising rents and rates are speeding up gentrification.

Traders fear the market will go the same way as Exmouth and Whitecross Street markets, with predominantly expensive hot-food stalls catering for professionals.

Manze’s, with its white tiles and wooden booths, is a listed building

Dave Twydell, chairman of Chapel Market Traders’ Association, who has run a fruit stall in the market for 40 years, said: “Tim was just fed up, also with the council. It’s just the way the borough is going. The new image, the new people coming in and I think the council should help us a bit more.

“I’m concerned they [the council] want to turn it into another Whitecross Street or Broadway Market with hot-food stalls, and everything is done by 3pm. The people [at the council] don’t really know about markets. I could do a better job.”

Tracy Hooker, who has worked at Manze’s for three years, added: “I’ve lived in Hoxton all my life and I’ve seen the changes. The businesses and the pubs are all going.

“I don’t think it will be good for the market. This is the last [traditional pie and mash shop] in Islington.”

In April, businesses in Islington were hit by an average 45 per cent increase in rates – the third-highest rise in England. Manze’s went up by around 30 per cent.

Mr Twydell added: “Manze’s is a big part of my life, the history of the market and the history of the borough. People do come here for Manze’s. When Arsenal are playing at home the fans get a pie and mash and a few pints at the Alma. It’s another nail in our coffin. It’s heartbreaking.”

Trader Dave Twydell

Mr Nicholls, who owns another pie and mash shop in Walthamstow and is opening one in Braintree, Essex, declined to comment. But it is understood that the business rate hike in April was not the only factor in the closure decision.

The shop, with its white tiles, marble counters, old mirrors, vintage lamps and wooden booths, is listed, so it is likely to become a new restaurant.

The Town Hall said it was “extremely sorry” to see Manze’s closing.

Economic development chief Councillor Asima Shaikh said: “We would be very happy to discuss with Mr Nicholls if we can help to keep his historic pie and mash shop in Islington. The decision to hike business rates was taken by the government. Islington Council campaigned against it and highlighted the impact we feared it would have on local business.”

She added: “We’re committed to working with traders to improve Chapel Market, attracting new stalls and increasing visitor numbers, including the recent launch of our Market Trader of the Year competition.”

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