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Bid to sell alcohol at Camden market ‘tramples on area’s cultural history’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 December 2011

Camden Lock Market. Picture: Polly Hancock

Camden Lock Market. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Proposals to sell alcohol and hold late night gigs at Camden Lock market would create an unmanageable “outdoor festival” police have warned.

The iconic marketplace could become as well known for its drinks and dancing as it is for its eclectic assortment of stalls if a bid to get an alcohol and live music licence is approved by Camden Council.

But the application, which is due to be discussed in January, has been heavily criticised by residents, councillors and police officers.

They have warned that it tramples on the area’s cultural history and could lead to an upsurge in crime.

In a letter to the council, PC Russell Kinson, a Camden police licensing officer, said the area’s controlled drinking zone is already frequently breached and that this bid could exacerbate the problem.

He said: “This would potentially create an outdoor festival permitted to conduct licensable activities 365 days a year. “Camden Town simply cannot cope with a licence of this magnitude. This would create an area of Camden that would be unmanageable.”

If the application gets the green light, Camden Lock market will sell alcohol until 10pm seven days a week, and screen films, live music and dance performances.

Del Brenner, of The Regents Canal Conservation Area Advisory Committee, warned in a letter that Camden Lock is becoming “a mockery of a market”.

He said: “Adding more alcohol to the market mayhem, with events and loud music to animate the huge crowds, is not a wise direction to go.

“The objective should be to provide a genuine market experience with enjoyment and safety.

“We are dealing with an unruly and very aggressive management style in the area, and I think it should be curbed.”

He added that Regents Canal was becoming more “degraded” and “sidelined” by the week.

He said: “We find it difficult to accept that such wonderful canal and railway heritage can be overrun by the excesses of commercial operations. Awarding a licence that will deregulate the area still further would not be acceptable.”

Will Fulford, of Camden Lock Market, said the market had always had a good working relationship with police, and that they were in the process of changing the application in response to concerns.

He said: “The idea behind the licence application was to give us flexibility next year to run or host small scale events that support the cultural Olympiad, the bicentennial of the Regent’s Canal and our 40th anniversary within different parts of the market.”

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