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So, is it a ‘classy’ new food hall or the gentrification of a traditional market?

Councillors give the green light for a mezzanine area at Nag’s Head despite objections

12 February, 2021 — By Calum Fraser

How the new upper floor could look

PLANNING chiefs gave the green light to plans to redevelop part of the Nag’s Head Market on Tuesday night – but were warned it was a step to “gentrifying” the shopping centre.

During a heated meeting on Tuesday night, a green light was given to proposals that could see a new upper floor mezzanine area at the historic Holloway market turned into a food hall.

Finsbury Park ward councillor Asima Shaikh had opposed the changes and said that the ground floor market had been valued by a traditional “working class” clientele, and many from black and ethnic minority communities.

She told the meeting that the changes would mean that the owners felt “emboldened” and that it was bad news for traders whose “face won’t fit their new development”.

“The proposed development by the market owners is not inclusive and it will enable the gentrification of the Nag’s Head Market,” Cllr Sheikh said.

The Nag’s Head Market

As the Tribune previously reported, traders at the market have been devastated by the pandemic with footfall plummeting. Takeaways services, however, have fared better.

The new “mezzanine floor” above the 1970s ground floor retail space was originally constructed without full planning permission, but later partial consent was granted.

The London Fire Brigade has issued an order on the new upper floor space limiting the number of people allowed upstairs to 60.

The planning committee considered the owners’ intention to launch 16 units and let them to “street food” suppliers in the newly branded “Upper Place”.

But Jennifer Ward, who lives nearby, said at the meeting: “Sixteen hot food, blazing fire elements in a wooden partition space with a tin roof – this will be like an inferno up there. I am a qualified chef, I know how cooking and heat rises.

“You may say there are ventilation units up there but they add to the noise and smell in the area making it unbearable.

“We can’t have our windows open properly in the summer time without the smell of frying food coming through.”
The developers’ application included seating areas for 250 people.

Cllr Asima Shaikh

Councillor Gary Heather, who also represents Finsbury Park ward, called on the committee to put provisions on any planning consent which would cut the number of people allowed and limit the opening hours.

Stephen Andrews, another resident, told the meeting: “This project will negatively impact the area. Deliveries are currently made at the Hertslet Road entrance. My neighbour was knocked over by a delivery van reversing and moped drivers regularly drive the wrong way to turn onto Seven Sisters Road.

“This will continue to a far greater extent with the new project. [It’s] sixteen more units to deliver to and 16 more units to takeaway from.”

But the committee decided unanimously to grant permission with conditions that the number of covers is dropped to 130, closing hours are cut from 11pm on weekdays to 8pm and 70 per cent of the ground floor units must remain as retail.

Colin Marner, a representative for the developers, said: “This is not going to be a nightclub or drinking venue for 300 to 400 people with people spilling onto the streets.

“This will be a classy establishment where upstairs we will be offering very high-quality specialist food from around the world.”

He added: “We will make sure all the requirements of the council are adhered to 100 per cent. We know stop notices and prohibition notices can be issued against us, but that’s not going to happen.

“We just want it to be a very pleasant venue for people to visit.”

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