Traders take time out to consider future of Camden Passage

Traders from Angel’s Camden Passage face an anxious wait over their uncertain future, despite winning a Time Out Award last week.

Alongside the market, which runs twice a week, Camden Passage is also lined with a number of independent shops, boutiques and cafés.

However, amid the celebrations following the prestigious Love London “Locals Pick” prize, shop owners are forced to wait for landlords to decide their fates, as rents on their properties undergo review.

Some shops, including Annie’s Vintage boutique, have already had their rent increased by 100 per cent, causing concerns that small, independent businesses may be forced out of the area.

Sadie Rose, 24, owner of Sadie Rose florists, said: “The rent is bad enough but it’s also the rates and the council.

“People won’t be able to pay and the passage will just become full of chains and restaurants.

“The landlords don’t care that Camden Passage has just won an award. It won’t help because they just don’t pay enough attention.”

Another trader from the market, Peter Panayi, added: “I’m glad that local people appreciate us being here – it’s a good positive thing.

“However, I doubt that winning this award will help the cause of those facing rent increases, because it’s happening all over.

“Eventually this place will no longer exist. Nobody cares and that’s how it is.”

However, a spokesperson for Camden Passage argued that the street should embrace the changes, stating: “It would not benefit anyone to preserve Camden Passage like a museum.

“It’s difficult to come up with a one size fits all solution, but something more needs to be done, perhaps at a local or government level.

“Hopefully the Time Out award will encourage people to support local independent businesses, before they are lost or the area changes out of all recognition.”

Despite working with the shops on the issue, Councillor Martin Klute suggested that rent wasn’t the only thing that may be causing problems for the passage.

“The antiques market only used to open on Wednesday and Saturday and the traders in Camden Passage wouldn’t reform themselves to be more retail friendly,” he said.

“We’ve also had a series of very harsh planning permissions foisted upon us.”

Decisions on the shops’ rents will be confirmed in February next year.