Camden Market will rise from ashes
Ben McPartland THE derelict Camden market site destroyed in last year s blaze will be back open for business next month. A year on from last February s fire which left the Canal Market in ruins, traders are preparing to move back in. After months of repai
THE derelict Camden market site destroyed in last year's blaze will be back open for business next month.
A year on from last February's fire which left the Canal Market in ruins, traders are preparing to move back in.
After months of repair works and safety checks, the site in Hawley Wharf has been cleared and is being readied for reopening.
Piers Codling of Camden Market Holdings, the group which owns much of Camden's markets, said: "We wanted it open again as soon as possible but we had some dangerous buildings there.
"We also had Network Rail doing repairs to the arches. They were hoping to have completed their work by November but in the end it took until December. It took longer than they thought because they could only work at weekends.
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"We could only tackle the dangerous buildings and the land around it in the last four weeks. The site is now cleared and the Chalk Farm Road buildings are being made safe.
"This is good news. The market will open again and traders will be provided with space and employment."
Market bosses are negotiating with traders who used to have stalls in the Canal Market before the blaze ripped through the area on February 9, 2007. They are hoping between 150 and 200 traders will move back onto the site.
Despite the current squeeze on the economy, Mr Codling believes it is a good time for the market to be opening again. He said: "I think the market is a fairly robust model in difficult times. We are finding good demand for vacancies when traders decide to leave the Stables Market. Traders can come and go within reason and I think the consumer gets more value for money."
The opening of the Canal Market is just one aspect of a massive redevelopment scheme lined up for Hawley Wharf.
Camden Council has drawn up a planning framework, listing criteria for future development of the area. It has been open for consultation and is set to be agreed by a Town Hall committee this month.
During the consultation, there were suggestions that the Metropolitan Police Authority would like to keep open the possibility a police station at the site. In their response, they wrote: "List of land uses should make specific reference to community facilities (i.e. policing) to give greater support to any future applications."
The MPA also said the framework document should include "clear support for police related developments."
Camden Market Holdings owns most of the site after steadily buying up houses, business premises and railway arches. But Mr Codling insists everything is up for discussion.
He said: "I think Camden has recognised a good opportunity to put in a mixed use development on the site. Once it is approved, there is a good basis on which we can discuss what our plans will be.
"We have to be fair to all parties. On the one side it is a large site which could provide a good mixture of opportunities, but it is a careful balance so that the local community benefits by what happens and it fits in with Camden at large.