Camden market fire victims are still out of pocket

TRADERS whose livelihoods were ruined in the Camden market blaze are desperate for the financial help pledged by Mayor Ken Livingstone and their landlords Camden Market Holdings

Tan Parsons

TRADERS whose livelihoods were ruined in the Camden market blaze are desperate for the financial help pledged by Mayor Ken Livingstone and their landlords Camden Market Holdings.

Almost three weeks after the Canal Market fire, stallholders and shop owners who lost hundreds of thousands of pounds are struggling to survive with no income.

Days after the blaze the Mayor promised the traders a rescue package to help them out and their landlords Camden Market Holdings offered to double any amount put forward. But stallholder Sunny Gulati said they are desperate for immediate help.


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"We just want £200 or £300 a week so we can pay the bills. We have nothing at the moment. Things are very tough for us. We have no income and we need a place to trade," he said.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said the rescue package was still being discussed and CMH said talks on how much money would be stumped up were also ongoing.

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A spokesman for the mayor said: "We've been establishing what the need is and contacted almost everybody now.

"We can't give a time scale but understand from the London Development Agency the process will be concluding this week and we will be helping as soon as possible."

The Electric Ballroom night club on Camden High Street has given some hope for the traders by offering to give them space at its weekend market. Organisers of the famous Camden Crawl music festival have also pledged help.

The seventh annual Crawl will be held at venues along the mile-long stretch from Chalk Farm to Mornington Crescent, running past the site of the fire that left more than 90 traders out of pocket.

It is to be the largest version yet of the newly named Red Stripe Camden Crawl, with an extra 3,000 tickets up for grabs.

Festival organiser Lisa Paulon said: "The tragedy of the fire has understandably had a deep impact on those who work, live in and frequent the Camden Town area.

"We are especially saddened by the extent of the damage wreaked upon the Hawley Arms and the upset and disruption that is has caused to our friends there.

"It was central to last year's event and was due to host various live events and parties, but will now unfortunately not be included within the festival."

Festival organisers expect 15,000 music fans on the weekend of April 18 and 19, and an extra outdoor stage is being set up in Inverness Street.

Ms Paulon said: "Camden's musical history and reputation for breeding new musical talent will continue to be celebrated now more than ever and we are currently looking into ways that the festival will be able to help those affected by the fire."

Special guests including Amy Winehouse played at the festival last year. Performers confirmed so far this year include Ida Maria, Los Campesinos and Acoustic Ladyland. Local talents will include Bombay Bicycle Club, who hail from University College School in Hampstead, and Rosie Oddie, daughter of Hampstead nature lover Bill Oddie, will play with her band the Odd Squad.

Tonight, bands will be playing a charity concert at Dingwalls in aid of the affected traders.

Promoter Anthony Buck said: "In light of the recent fire this time around we have made this event an exceptional night of local talent mixed with some of the brightest and best new acts on the scene - with the added bonus of artwork, animation and crazy antics."

Website Amenworld.com is now offering traders affected by the fire a chance to set up online shops, free of charge, to sell their products on the internet.

Visit www.amenworld.com for information.

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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