Kensington & Chelsea council is expected to rubber-stamp the plan to overhaul what has become a fashionable offshoot of Portobello Road at a meeting on Tuesday next week, arguing that three quarters of respondents from within the Golborne Road area support the proposal.
The petition against the plan was launched by fashion designer Bella Freud. “It will squeeze out traders and threatens a vibrant community of people,” she says. “Golborne Road is one of the few remaining authentic markets in west London. You can still get a bargain antique, a good piece of vintage or a tasty cheap meal from its food stalls and cafés.”
Objectors claim that doing up the street — increasing pavement space, installing “heritage-style” street lights, raising sections of the road to slow traffic, and planting trees — will mean rate rises for independent business owners, antique shops and market traders in the street, and increased rents for those who live there.
Wendy Mandy, of the Golborne Association, describes the proposal as “back-door gentrification”.
“It will end up being just a boring street with nothing special,” she warns.
However, the council said 75 per cent of respondents from within the Golborne Road area support the plan. On that basis, council officers recommend that the proposal be approved. They hope that work on the year-long project will start this spring.
Timothy Coleridge, the council’s cabinet member for planning policy, says he is confident that the works will make the street more attractive without compromising its “unique character”.
Mahmood Siddiqi, Kensington & Chelsea’s director of transport and highways, agrees that “particular elements of the scheme [have proved] unpopular with some members of the community”, but says that overall, it will improve the area.