Petition delivered!

Save The Portobello Road Market Campaign delivers petition to the Council
In a move that stunned council leaders, campaigners delivered over 7,500 items of support for Portobello Market and against RBKC planning policy in the area. The BBC and other media outlets were present raising the profile of an issue that concerns all who know and come to the market. 

Although the All Saints development sparked off this movement, there is no hiding the fact that this is a concern for many other street markets across the land. The way developers are able to move into areas that have a unique history and character and turn them into bland consumer outlets, is a poor indication of our times. In effect they storm through areas that  have gained a wide and solid affinity with the public and immediately apply conditions that deny the very causes that created them in the first place. They are by definition incompatible, and each is the paradox of the other's raison d'etre. If developers have their way everything will look the same: clinical, rootless, transient and with little  or no  relation to local identities and communities. 

The All Saints development on the corner of Portobello Road encapsulates this struggle. All the more so when the owner has several other properties in the area, particularly between Elgin Crescent and Westbourne Road. If this experience is anything to go by, we expect more attempts to torpedo and destroy the character of Portobello. And despite the fact that antique dealers are now in the firing line due to their location, this trend will surely carry on down the road, if it's not stopped now. 

The petition did raise the awareness of these issues and puts council policy under public scrutiny. Not long ago the council produced a document called  Local Development Framework  (LDF). In it, it breaks the traditional link between Portobello Market with Golborne Rd and instead, establishes a new one between Portobello and  Westbourne Grove. This reflects a complete lack of understanding of the area and its organic development. This can only be  an indication of what the Council's plans for the area actually are.

 Furthermore, the LDF document claims under item 3.3.8 - Fostering Vitality -  the following: 3.3.10  We will do this in North Kensington by supporting the unique character of Portobello Road,including the antiques and street market. If the All Saints development is anything to go by, it sets a precedent that reveals the actual intent of this policy and renders it meaningless – it's only purpose: a smoke screen. 

The council claims it is powerless to avoid this kind of intervention and in response to the petition delivered on 3rd March, it set up it's own petition to change government policy. It is almost ludicrous, as if they were really genuine about it, they would have pushed this issue up the political agenda in a concerted effort with local authorities across England. After all, local politicians become well  aware of these trends well before the general public does, as they get them in planning applications and planning meetings when disaster can be averted  and the public gets it in practice when it's a fait acompli and little can be done. 

The first step of this campaign that raises these and other issues has been taken,  but many more are to follow if it is to have any chance of success. 
Special thanks to Joan Torrelles for the photographs 
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