Nag’s Head market planning applications to be decided by Town Hall next week

Nag’s Head Market, Seven Sisters Road. Photograph: Google.

The future of a hotly-contested redevelopment project at the Nag’s Head market will be decided by Islington Council next week.

Town Hall planners will hear an application for the mezzanine floor of the market to be used as a food hall, as well as for the retention and cladding of storage containers at the market, in the formal stage of a debate which has seen two petitions submitted both supporting and opposing the proposals.

Supporters of the scheme have talked up the economic benefits of such a plan for the area, whilst objectors led in a petition by ward councillor Gary Heather have dismissed the need for the plans, while warning of the noise impacts to neighbouring residents.

Complicating matters in the application are enforcement notices served to owners at Nag’s Head in December of last year pointing to the installation of shipping and storage containers as a planning breach, with the notices coming into effect on 12 February, three days after the meeting to decide the market’s future.

A planning report on the application states: “The proposal would help support the wider function of the Nags Head Town Centre, providing opportunities for small scale business and supporting a wider mix of retail and service opportunities.

“The proposal would complement existing leisure and retail uses and would support efforts to address the need for more family friendly evening functions (such as restaurants) within the town centre, as identified in the Nag’s Head Town Centre Strategy 2007 for leisure provision for young people and for families.

“The range of food outlets and the central seating layout offered at mezzanine level is considered to contribute to these aims.”

The mezzanine floor would contain 16 food units and is intended to be opened as street food market The Upper Place, plans to which 31 people have written in support, while 22 have raised objections.

Petitions also competed both for and against the proposals, with those supporting receiving 110 signatures, whilst objectors numbered 34, along with an objection by Cllr Heather.

The Upper Place is envisioned as housing restaurant vendors, toilets, a main communal eating space, an ancillary bar and a smoking area on a terrace to the rear, with the proposal also seeking to regularise the ground floor market use of the site for retail, restaurant and hot food takeaway uses.

A summary of issues raised in the report reads: “Concern[s] are raised regarding noise pollution from music and crowds … existing disturbance issues from hot food takeaway collection vehicles together with service and delivery vehicles would be further exacerbated. 

“[The] site could be used as a party/night-club venue. [The] sale of alcohol raises concerns. The proposal would result in poorer air quality and particulate matter from cooking is dangerous to children’s development and to anyone with breathing problems.

“The proposal would help spread Covid-19.  Increases in refuse would result in issues with pest control. [There is] concern regarding additional use on football match-days and resultant litter.”

Objectors also pointed to the existing high levels of food sellers in the area and warned that additional outlets would promote obesity.

In response, Town Hall planners judged the “scale, character and function” of the proposal as appropriate, pointing to the central location in a major town centre, adding “It is considered that the proposal would help support the vitality and viability of the Town Centre, providing a unique offer which does not exist elsewhere.

“It is considered that the management strategies and plan is sufficient at this stage to ensure that there would be no unacceptable impact upon neighbour amenity as a result of the operation of the site. The opening hours are not considered to be excessive, correlating with other restaurant uses within the vicinity.”