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Last Updated: Monday, 27 October, 2003, 09:10 GMT
My London: 'Hands off Camden Market'
Philomena Card
Philomena Card sells slogan T-shirts on Buck Street Market
Stall holder Philomena Card, 43, is among those fighting London Underground's (LU) plans to demolish Camden's Buck Street Market to make way for a new development and modern station. She was working when a train derailed at Camden last week.

We were here just setting up at ten past ten and there was lots of fuss going on at the Tube station, the gates were closed and we realised something had happened.

No information was given out, we found out from the media that a train was derailed at about 11 or mid-day.

The people who had got here were here, but nobody was coming into Camden after that. Business dropped from 3pm onwards, it was a ghost town.

Trade is down and I would say it's down by about 50% [since the Northern Line closed].

Some stall holders are already talking about laying off staff because we all run on a really tight budget.

Buck Street Market

If 50% of your business is gone you can't really carry on.

We've had this stall for 12 years. All our things are made here, we manufacture our own stuff.

But under the Transport and Works Act they (LU) want to compulsory purchase this land, bulldoze it if they get the go-ahead, and build a temporary station or ticket office.

After that they are going to redevelop the station.

You won't hear one trader suggest that the Tube station does not need upgrading.

But after the weekend [the derailment] I would suggest the infrastructure is more important than the development.

At the moment the plans are going to public inquiry.

I am optimistic. We have had a few of the London Assembly members down here and they are suggesting it is ridiculous.

This exercise that LU is planning to do here, it's absolutely ridiculous
Philomena Card

There's nowhere else like Camden so don't do this, no more big developments.

They are always trying to put another development up and make another mass shopping complex.

We are expecting the usual high street chains that generally come along with developments like this, because they are the only people who can afford the rent.

People will lose their businesses. I haven't really thought about what I will do.

I like working in Camden. It has always got a really nice atmosphere. I have another T-shirt stall next to me and we get on fine - you wouldn't get that with shops.

We all just get on together, it's like a family.

We get a complete mix of customers from rich to poor to celebrities - so it's always different.

'We need the Tube'

Camden started off with all individual designers and people came, and still do, because it is not what you get on the High Street. People come to Camden for something different.

I have been going to America for a few years and in New York there's no markets now. I'm not going this year - there's nothing for me.

This exercise now that they [LU] are planning to do here, it's absolutely ridiculous. How big do you need a station to be?

It would knock out 200 stallholders - that's 200 livelihoods and I'm not including all the shops in that - it could be 300 people.

There has to be something done, but not to the extent of what they are planning.

We do need the Tube, it's very important. I use the Tube every day and we have a good system, but the underground needs updating, leave the 'over-ground' as it is.


My London is a series of features about life in the city which will be on News Online every Monday. If you have a story suggestion please send an e-mail to: londonnews@bbc.co.uk.




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