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Nag’s Head Market food hall bid, despite booze blow

Owners to press ahead with plans for upper floors

03 May, 2019 — By Emily Finch

The Nag’s Head Market’s owners say a food hall could open later this month

THE owners of Nag’s Head Market said they are still planning to open a controversial new food hall in the market’s unused upper floors by the end of the month, despite failing to get an alcohol licence from the Town Hall.

Market director Satpal Sathi said he would go forward with plans to open 17 food stalls in the market and promised local residents that they would be offered a 20 per cent discount on food.

He said the “traders were really upset” that they will not be able to sell alcohol with some dropping out.

An Islington Council licensing sub-committee, chaired by Cllr Gary Poole, refused to grant the new market a licence to sell alcohol during a heated meeting in February. The licence was rejected because the market falls in a cumulative impact area which means the area is already saturated with places serving alcohol.

Mr Sathi said: “We made it already, and already took deposits from the traders. It’s not that we can change [our plans] any time. We will try our best to make it nice for people to come.”

He said his market was only ever going to attract “people with families, not just anyone” and added: “They [the residents] thought we were making a nightclub or disco, it wasn’t like that. If you go to a restaurant you need some type of a drink. It wasn’t like people were going to come and drink and drink and drink alcohol. It’s not that.”

When asked if he would reapply for a new alcohol licence, Mr Sathi said: “We will open it and see. We will see how it goes.”

A representative for the market submitted retrospective planning permission for a ventilation flue, a steel external staircase and an access door last month. The council is expected to make a decision on this application in the next few months.

Ann Devine, who lives near the new food hall’s entrance in Hertslet Road, said she and her neighbours “opposed the market getting planning permission for work already done to make the upper floor functional for food and alcohol sales”.

She said: “Noise from food delivery motorcyclists and patrons until late PM and early AM, plus noise from lorries clearing cooking fat from blocked drains early AM, keeps residents awake.

“Motorcyclists and patrons litter local roads and gardens. Too many cars come into the area already. All of this will get worse if the market gets planning permission.”

She added: “Nag’s Head already has plenty of great places to eat and drink. What we really need are more places to burn off all those calories. A dance studio might be a better use for the Upper Floor.”

Cllr Asima Shaikh, the Town Hall’s inclusive economics chief, 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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