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James Kempton, the Liberal Democrat council leader said in a statement sent to ATG: “I am pleased the planning committee listened to the local community and threw out this planning application. The Mall is the jewel in the crown of the Camden Passage antiques market. It really contributes to the local character of the area for residents and visitors alike.

“I expect the developers will appeal over our heads to the Government to grant them permission. But you have my assurance that if they do the council will vigorously defend our decision and fight for the future of the antiques trade at Camden Passage.”

As reported in last week’s ATG, the owners of the Mall, the retail property investment company London & Associated Properties (LAP), had applied for Listed Buildings Consent to remove the individual dealers’ shop units.

This was unanimously rejected by the six members of the South Area planning committee at a dramatic evening meeting at Islington Town Hall on April 28 when around 120 people turned out to object to the proposals and 304 written objections were sent.

The chair of the planning committee Councillor George Allan said: “The committee decided that the proposed alterations would be detrimental to the special and historical interest of The Mall, and Camden Passage generally. The amount of objections the committee received, and the unprecedented number of people that came to the meeting to give evidence, shows the real strength of feeling in the community that The Mall should be preserved as it is.”

LAP’s 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.

However, the official reasons given for the rejection of the application point out that the conversion of the ground floor and basement of The Mall into small units in the late 1970s “are important integral elements in the character of the building as a Grade II listed shopping arcade”.

By Alex Capon