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Neighbours’ protest scuppers plans for Nag’s Head food market

Controversial proposals for upper floors of long-established Nag’s Head Market are rejected after impassioned speeches from residents

22 February, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Ann Devine, who opposed the plans for the market, speaking at the Town Hall on Tues­day night

PLANS for a controversial new food market on the upper floors of the long-established Nag’s Head Market were shot down by a licensing panel on Tues­day night.

Dozens of residents packed a small committee room at the Town Hall where three councillors decided on the future of the proposed Seven Sisters Road market, The Upper Place. The panel, chaired by Councillor Gary Poole, rejected an alcohol licence bid with a written reason of their decision expected at the beginning of next week.

Four residents living near the proposed market – including local councillor Gary Heather – gave impassioned speeches calling for the plans to be scrapped during the two-hour meeting.

Ann Devine, who lives in Hertslet Road, which leads onto the entrance of the market, said: “It’s public knowledge that increased alcohol consumption will increase crime and disorder. The new premises licence will increase public disorder and the applicant has not adequately addressed issues around noise, alcohol and drug-taking.”

Nag’s Head Market

Cllr Heather highlighted how the area around Nag’s Head Market witnesses high drug use and crime and “already has one of the highest densities of alcohol outlets in the country”.

“I’m afraid to say that in my opinion this application has the potential to exacerbate the problem and lead to negative cumulative impact in the area,” he said.

Simone Moroni, the planned operator of The Upper Place, alongside his barrister Matthew Butt, defended the plans for 17 new stalls in the recently-refurbished mezzanine space. He said he would pour £60,000 into developing the space.

Mr Butt said: “This area needs to be improved. There are problems with litter, crime, and the premises at present are unsightly.

“Something needs to happen to improve the covered market. It is obvious when you look at the nature of the business and the con­ditions we have offered that this market is not going to be alcohol-led.”

Licensing panel members Gary Poole and Michelline Safi Ngongo

But councillors Gary Poole, Ben Mackmurdie and Michelline Safi Ngongo rejected the alcohol licence bid after deliberating for 20 minutes. The decision sparked warnings about the site’s future. Speaking after the meeting, Nag’s Head Market director Satpal Sathi said: “We are disappointed the application was rejected. We are really struggling. We are really concerned about the future of the market and the 50 traders who work there were hoping the licence would go through.

“It’s not like the old days where we can just sell shoes and clothes. This has finished, with people going to Primark and buying online. We needed to change ourselves.”

He pointed to other markets in Tooting and Brixton which he said had been “revitalised” by selling food and alcohol.

Traders at the food market would need to sell alcohol to survive, he believed. “If you go to any restaurant you expect food and drink. People won’t come otherwise,” he said.

Mr Sathi, who said he “wants to work with the community”, added: “We’ve run the market for 12 years. We are not here to make residents’ lives difficult.”

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