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Highgate divided over moves for farmers' market in village

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 August 2012

Neil Perkins, chairman of Pond Square Residents Association, opposes the idea for a farmers market. Picture: Polly Hancock

Neil Perkins, chairman of Pond Square Residents Association, opposes the idea for a farmers market. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

Urban farmers' markets have been sprouting up all over London as the demand for fresh local produce increases. But one area has not embraced the craze - Highgate Village.

In recent years, Pond Square has been suggested as an ideal location for a market but the idea has split the community.

Neil Perkins, chairman of the Pond Square Residents’ Association, said: “Pond Square is a quiet, tranquil open space in the middle of London.

“If we allow a farmers’ market it will be impossible for the council to oppose any other similar kind of event.

“There are farmers’ markets all over London. We shouldn’t want to use every scrap of public space just because it is there.

Safeguard

“Why do people want something which has been done already? We should protect our unique square.”

Mr Perkins also said there is a legal agreement which prevents Camden Council from allowing a market on the square.

He added: “There is a trust deed which says Pond Square must be used as an open space at all times for the benefit of everyone in the community. The council has an obligation to adhere to that.”

But not everyone agrees.

William Douglas, of Hampstead Lane, has lived in Highgate for 33 years.

He joined the debate on Streetlife – a hyper-local social network and sister-website of the Ham&High – where many have been supportive of idea farmers’ market.

He said: “Highgate is under served by shops which sell fresh produce. The nearest supermarkets are miles away.

“A farmers’ market doesn’t have to be in Pond Square but I think it would be a nice thing to have in the community.

“Highgate’s businesses would also benefit from the extra footfall.”

Laurie MacLaren, 54, owner of Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery, in Highgate High Street, said: “I don’t have a problem with it and I would encourage anything that brings in tourists, but I’d be very worried about the butchers and greengrocers.

Benefits

“Something different and special that adds to the high street is fine by me. However, if it comes down to it, I’ll always support our local, existing businesses.”

Holly Johnson, 26, manager of Hair of the Dog, said: “I’d love a farmers’ market. They’re always so popular and bring a great atmosphere, as well as local produce.

“It would be particularly nice if it sold good deli food, especially if it is organic too. That would be a real plus.”

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