Camden market’s plan to host free gigs rejected

Plans to sell alcohol and hold late night gigs at Camden Lock market have been turned down because of a feared increase in crime and disorder.

Northside developers, who own the market, wanted to bring live entertainment and two bars to the iconic market place.

The developers hoped to sell alcohol during the day and also serve drinks at live music gigs, film screenings and plays in the evening.

But the bid was quashed by Camden Council’s licensing committee last Thursday.

Rejecting the application, Cllr Thomas Gardiner said: “I think a venue of this size serving alcohol to a large number of patrons is likely to add to the cumulative impact in this area and to crime and disorder.”

He said the indoor section of Camden Lock Market, which has multiple exits to other parts of Camden market and no toilets of its own, would be difficult to police.

Police added fears that a huge influx of revellers to see a high profile band would leave organisers unable to cope.

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Pc Russell Kinson, a Camden police licensing officer, said: “If someone like Pete Doherty came to play, you’d have half of Camden turning up to see him.”

But the legal representative for Northside developers stressed the emphasis was on keeping the “market” character of Camden Lock while adding night time entertainment in keeping with Camden’s live music tradition.

Lawyer Piers Warne said: “We believe it would add to Camden’s cultural life. It’s not a pub, it’s a very small bar area.

“There are so many pubs around it would be suicidal to try to compete.”

He added: “This will not bring one extra person into Camden. It’s for people already coming to use the market.”

He said the atmosphere would be “very laid back, like being in a grotto” and that people would “drift in and out” while listening to acoustic music.

But residents and councillors stressed the lack of toilet provision was a major concern, with street urination a problem in the area.

They also opposed the bid on grounds of noise, the nuisance of crowds at closing time and the “over-concentration” of bars and music venues in and around Camden’s markets.

The licence was refused.