Wednesday - 23 April 2014

Portobello dealers feel abandoned over policing

19 June 2012Written by Ivan Macquisten

COMMENT: More than 60,000 visitors on a summer Saturday, one of the most popular tourist spots in the UK, a name so recognised internationally that the local council wants to brand a Crossrail station after it... there are plenty of reasons to protect Portobello‘s antiques trade.

So why does it always have to play second fiddle to sporting events, considering how much it adds to the capital's economy?

Many Portobello traders are feeling under siege. Following arcade closures, pressure for seven-day trading, parking restrictions and the effects of recession, now they face police coverage that has been steadily downgraded.

The latest moves suggest that dealers' pressure is working, but it seems clear that at a time when spending cuts are affecting the police, like everyone else, the Met do not see Portobello as a priority. Indeed, their comment to ATG this week suggests that they feel reports of robberies are exaggerated.

Is there really much of a problem?

With UK manufacturing in massive decline and financial services tottering, tourism is - and has to be - a major earner. If antiques dealers gradually disappear from Portobello, are those tourists still going to be heading there to experience that wonderful atmosphere?

Surely Crossrail would want to make sure an area they were going to locate a new station in was adequately policed before agreeing to the measure.

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