Campaigners gather on the steps of Islington Town Hall before the planning meeting at which they were victorious.

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Around 120 people turned out at the council planning meeting on April 28 to object to the application made by the landlords, the retail property investment company London & Associated Properties (LAP), after campaigners issued a call for support in ATG No 1837, April 26.

It is thought that the application to remove the individual dealers' shops at the antiques centre was an attempt to convert the two floors of the Grade II listed building into single units in order to sell the space to a multi-national chain.

Dealers, customers and local residents spoke against the plans before the cross-party planning committee voted unanimously to reject LAPÕs application. The announcement of the decision was greeted with loud cheering.

The speakers included Mike Weedon of Camden Passage Association, who told ATG: "I'm delighted with the outcome. I would like to thank all the people who came to support us. It was obvious there was no reason to accept these proposals."

One of the dealers at The Mall who spoke was Jan Van Den Bosch. He pointed out the logistical problems with the plans as well as how they threatened the special interest of the area and the community of the small shops.

LAP were not available for comment following the decision, but their representative at the meeting argued that there was no harm in trying to return the building, which was originally a Victorian tram station, to its original state.

Before applying for Listed Buildings Consent to carry out these changes, LAP had told some of the 30 traders at the Mall to quit by July, while others had been forced to sign new rolling month-by-month leases for their premises.

LAP have not yet announced whether they will appeal against the decision and so the future of the dealers at the centre remains unclear.

Mr Van Den Bosch said: "We are hoping the managers at LAP will now talk to us. This is an uneconomic climate for property development and we are willing to talk and negotiate about rents, contracts and anything else that will help keep The Mall open as an antiques centre."

The council meeting came just three days before the elections for the London mayor, where all the candidates from the three main parties pledged to save The Mall. Labour's Ken Livingstone said: "Unique places like The Mall are part of what makes London so special. It would be a blow if The Mall were to be lost."

Conservative candidate and Islington resident Boris Johnson said that Camden Passage was one of his favourite local areas. "There are lots of places that are sites for what I call special sentimental interest," he said. "They have always been under threat from people who want to make a quick buck."

LAP have now also applied for Listed Building Consent to redevelop Antiquarius in West London after the antiques centre in Chelsea received its Grade II listing in March.

LAP purchased Antiquarius in 2006 in the same deal from Atlantic Estates as The Mall.

Controversially, they began building work before receiving planning permission and were told to stop by the council.

At the moment, a temporary partition runs through the middle of the centre where the work has begun.

Kensington and Chelsea council is currently considering these plans, for which the public consultation period ends on May 16. The case number is LB/08/00955 and can be viewed on the council's website at www.rbkc.gov.uk/planning

By Alex Capon