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The owners, retail property investment company London & Associated Properties (LAP), applied to split the premises in two and create a single unit, but the council’s rejection means the dealers are now unsure what will happen to the centre on King’s Road.

Controversially, the landlords began the building work before gaining planning consent, and were told to stop by the council. At the moment, a temporary partition runs through the middle of the centre with one side standing empty and half renovated.

It is thought LAP are trying to create a new larger unit for another fashion shop or international chain.
The council said their decision to reject LAP’s application for Listed Buildings Consent to make these changes was because “these alterations would result in an unacceptable deterioration of the original plan form of the building to the detriment of the listed building”.

A council spokesman said: “The property has been recently listed, and the council takes its responsibility to preserve historic buildings very seriously. It gave careful consideration to the application for Listed Building Consent but concluded that the demolition of some of the internal walls would harm the layout of the building, which originally consisted of small shops at the front with a billiard hall behind.”

Although none of the dealers were willing to speak on record, Fiona Ford of the dealers’ association LAPADA said: “We are delighted that the council turned down the application. However, we fear that the landlords may appeal as they have done with The Mall at Camden Passage in Islington.

“We will continue to represent our dealers’ case to the planning officers.”

At the moment, it seems unclear whether LAP have the right to appeal or whether the council has the power to force them to remove the partitions.

With no rental income from half the building and with the premises not in an attractive state to be sold – something exacerbated by the market slump for commercial property – the building appears to be in a state of limbo.

As well as The Mall at Camden Passage, where LAP’s application for redevelopment was rejected by Islington council in April, the landlords also purchased the former Chenil Gallery on the King’s Road in the same deal with former owners Atlantic Estates. Here they were forced to withdraw an application to demolish the historic building and replace it with 13 luxury flats.

With the building currently empty, LAP are now selling the Chenil Gallery to another property company in a deal which has yet to be completed. However, as with Antiquarius, a recent application to make it a Listed Building has been made to English Heritage.

A decision is expected in the next few weeks.