LIPKA’S Antiques Gallery, the Portobello antiques arcades that closed earlier this year, has now become an outlet for the AllSaints Spitalfields fashion chain.
Home to more than 100 dealers for the Saturday market, traders were asked to leave Lipka’s a few months ago with some unable to find alternative space in Portobello.
Campaigners for the market have expressed concern over the last few years about the appearance of big-name coffee chains and so-called ‘clone’ stores in the area. Now they are worried about the encroachment of fashion chains which they say will further damage the character of the area.
Portobello Antiques Dealers Association chairman Costas Kleanthous said the new AllSaints outlet was to “the detriment of the antiques market, and has left dealers with nowhere to go”.
He said he was writing to Kensington and Chelsea council to clarify terms of Portobello’s business conservation area status, designated in 2007.
Lipka’s, however, was not on Portobello Road itself, but located on Westbourne Grove. It was previously run by the Portobello Group, who have six arcades on Portobello Road.
When asked by ATG, the council said that it did not have powers to intervene as in this case national planning laws prevail.
A council spokesman said in a statement: “The Council must operate within national planning laws which are set by Government. National planning legislation does not give Councils the power to intervene when an antiques gallery is replaced by a fashion retail store.
“The Portobello area has been granted Special District status. The Council can take a stronger approach to preventing shops being converted for other uses in Portobello, such as restaurants, but we do not have the powers to prevent changes from one type of retail shop to another.
“We have lobbied central Government for these powers, without success, and we are currently lobbying the other London boroughs for their support.”