Inverness Street shops in battle with market traders
By Miguel Cullen SHOPKEEPERS on Camden s Inverness Street (pictured) are pitched against market traders on their doorsteps, who they say block access and divert custom from their stores. Frustration has been voiced by the shopkeepers at the owners of the
By Miguel Cullen
SHOPKEEPERS on Camden's Inverness Street (pictured) are pitched against market traders on their doorsteps, who they say block access and divert custom from their stores.
Frustration has been voiced by the shopkeepers at the owners of the temporary stalls and the layout of the street, which is famed for its street market.
In response to the row, meetings have been called to cool tempers and Camden Council has taken action, deciding to change the design of the area to encourage more people to walk on the pavements rather than down the middle of the stalls.
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It is hoped the move, to be put into effect next week, will soothe shopkeepers' anger - they feel they have been relegated to "a back end street", ignored by passers-by and market visitors.
"The problems of shopkeepers haven't been managed in a satisfactory manner. At the moment it's a two-tier high street" said owner of Mega City comic store, Martin Kravetz, 46.
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"At the recent meeting the council listened to what we had to say and agreed to some of our ideas. They said they would enforce the gaps between the stalls so that our shops can be seen.
"At the moment, what's happening in reality is very different. The trader in front of me recently extended his stall over the gap. I reported it the council but so far nothing has been done to remedy this."
Changes discussed at the meeting earlier this month included moving the stalls so that the thoroughfare faces the shops, as well as enforcing clear gaps between the stalls. Further improvements being considered include more street cleaning.
Simon Pitkeathley, from Camden Town Unlimited, the organisation representing local businesses, said: "The council spent a lot of time and effort getting the market going. But the problems being experienced by the shops have not been highlighted until now.
"We want a flourishing environment for Camden Town that suits businesses and shops. If this is done well, they should complement each other."
Chris Singam, a representative for Camden Property Management, which runs some of the bars on the street, said: "We've had lots of promises - but they're more political gestures as opposed to real attempts."
Market traders, who deal in souvenir T-shirts and bags as well as fruit and veg, hit back at the criticism.
Feda Maeem, 35, said: "What are the shops complaining about? The bars and shops are open late - they get their customers then.
"The market attracts people to the shops anyway. We both help each other, but the shopkeepers don't see it that way."
Fellow market trader Uygar Turamtekin, 31, said: "The stalls are selling the products people want. Everyone comes to the street for the stalls not the shops.
"If you search on Google for Inverness Street, you read about the market. Also there are council inspectors walking around the whole time, monitoring things."
A further meeting is scheduled for July 3 to hear how the new layout is working.