Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The campaign's Facebook website tells followers that only 2533 signatures are required to force a referendum. The hope is to break the council's traditional power base and bring in new blood to secure the future of the market.

As ATG went to press, 22 local voters had signed up, but with 37,655 followers on the Facebook site - that's nearly 400 more than three weeks ago - more are expected to follow.

The launch of the campaign coincides with the withdrawal of two planning applications affecting antiques shops - at 285 Westbourne Grove, and at 287-289, opposite the controversial All Saints development - that were due to be considered by the borough's planning committee on May 27 and June 1.

As reported in ATG No 1991, the applications took the battle into the borough's Pembridge Villas ward, whose councillors had previously seemed open to the idea of new development and seven-day trading in Portobello but now face protests from their own constituents.

Meanwhile, the Good Fairy site on Portobello Road, in the hands of administrators since the freeholders, Carmac Portobello Ltd, went into administration in the middle of May, has been put up for sale with a guide price of £2.5m.

All bids for what is being promoted as an "investment or development opportunity", must be in by July 1.

By Ivan Macquisten