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Another blow to Portobello, courtesy of RBKC

Property developers are on the attack again to change Portobello for the worst
 
As we publish this, the RBKC is about to change a planning condition that will decimate world-famous antiques quarter.
 
 (there's been a news update on this issue - please read the latest here)
 
‘Save the Portobello Campaign’ is once again at battle stations with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC). The latest in a long line of publicly-contested planning applications is the Campaign’s opposition to changes to the historic Admiral Vernon antiques arcade on Portobello Road.
 
The applicant, who developed the former Lipka Antiques Arcade into a retail space on Westbourne Grove (currently occupied by All Saints), has applied to change the basement of the Admiral Vernon into a seven-day trading site. This would undermine the dealers’ source-sell cycle, and facilitate the arrival of high street retailers in the heart of the world-famous Portobello antiques quarter.
 
 
“With the loss of 300 traders in the old Lipka, the Admiral Vernon is now the last major antiques arcade on the Portobello Road,” says Costas Kleanthous  spokesperson for the Campaign. “If the Council lifts the planning restriction, it will be the end of Portobello antiques.” 
 
The restriction was applied in 1995 when the Admiral Vernon basement was excavated for use as an antiques arcade. It is currently home to some 170 established antique dealers who trade on Saturdays and spend the rest of the week sourcing antiques at other markets, auctions, and outlets around the country. A seven-day trading week would compromise this source-sell approach. It would also mean a significant increase in commercial loading, and associated noise and congestion, to the detriment of local residents.
 
RBKC has policies to support the market, including its December 2010-ratified Local Development Framework. Policy CP7 states that ‘The Council will ensure the long-term success of Portobello Road, with its antiques and street market’.
 
“The Portobello Campaign believes RBKC should show its stated support for the world-famous antiques market by declining the application,”  says Costas Kleanthous. 
 
The RBKC Planning Department have made a recommendation to GRANT the lifting of a previously imposed 2 day only trading condition on the basement area of the Admiral Vernon. This condition has to some extent ‘protected’ this antiques arcade from different types of retail use; due to its basement being restricted to Friday & Saturday openings only. By granting permission, the Admiral Vernon Arcade basement can be used for trading seven days per week without restriction. It will make it easy and attractive for the owners to do another “Lipka / All Saints”, by driving antique dealers out and renting to a Clone Retail Outlet. 
 
 
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