Guardian: Soon the wealthy will 'wipe clean' every fun, tatty area

Zardoz Greek zardos777 at
Tue Aug 30 16:11:01 BST 2016

Soon the wealthy will wipe clean every fun, tatty area – and not just in London
Michele Hanson
>From London’s Golborne Rd market to Folkestone, gentrification is sterilising our streets, forcing local people to the margins. And I can’t bear it
Portobello Road market
 ‘Developers are salivating’ … gentrification is threatening to engulf Portobello Road market. Photograph: Shot Factory/REX/Shutterstock
Tuesday 30 August 2016 12.26 BST

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The 50th Notting Hill carnival was held this weekend, which I haven’t been to for decades, but I do remember being squashed, lost and deafened at it, and once had to dance my way out, when I lived nearby. What a thrilling area it used to be, what with thePortobello Road and Golborne Roadmarket, in which I had a stall.

There I would sit, every Saturday, selling tailor’s trimmings, surrounded by bric-a-brac, fruit and veg, cafes, bargains and rubbish, just opposite the public lavatories. And what fabulous lavatories they were – scrupulously clean, with a strict lady attendant in white overalls and a male attendant relaxing in his deckchair on sunny days, drinking ice-cold beer from the pub opposite, while the colourful world went by. What fun.

Shopping Street Traders And Street Markets Portobello Road
 Portobello Road antiques market in 1975. Photograph: Graham Morris/Associated Newspap
Not any more. Fielding, still a local, sends me dismal reports. He can’t afford a snack up there any more. The pub’s turned into a Pizza East. The attendants have gone, the lavatories sometimes flood and shut. The stalls on my old corner are no more, the law centre’s gone, poncy eateries abound and the odd art gallery, the old Portuguese café and Spanish deli are still going, but the developers are salivating around them.

“They’ll get them,” says Fielding glumly. “They’ll put in plants and music and waiters with beards. They’re Shoreditching it.” We are so browned-off with this gentrification on a grand scale: Covent Garden, Camden market, Berwick Street, where my mother shopped, TinPan Alley, Soho, where my parents worked; everything slightly tatty anywhere that the wealthy wish to live, wiped clean, and not just in London. Now a “tycoon” plans to “transform” the harbour in Folkestone. Soon it will be blanket “artisan pizzas” and cuisine mimsy down there, only 8% of new homes will be “affordable” and paupers banished to the wastelands beyond the city limits.

Meanwhile, back in Golborne Road, there are going to be “artificial stone pavements” and “heritage-style street lamps”. Pretend history, sterilised and tidied up for the wealthy, who don’t need bargains and can’t bear grunty old street markets. They probably won’t even know what they’ve lost. But I do, and it makes me sick.

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