CamdenNewJournal

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Is Chapel Market too ‘trendy’ for a butcher’s shop?

Business run by man who started work on busy street in 1976 is set to become its latest closure

18 January, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Raymond Roe: ‘Chapel Market is changing. I don’t think there’s a place now for us’

A TREASURED independent butchers in Chapel Market has announced its closure in another blow to the much-loved shopping hub.

The Meat Market is due to close in the next few months with owner Raymond Roe saying the area has become too “trendy”.

World-famous M. Manze, which has been serving pie and mash in Chapel Market for more than a century, is also due to close this year.

When Mr Roe started to work in Chapel Market in 1976 there were nine butchers on the busy street but his is the last one standing.

Changing eating habits, cut-throat supermarkets and rising business rates have devastated his industry, he added.

The 59-year-old said: “I did love what I used to do, the butchering, but there is so much pressure to try and make ends meet now. When we first opened we had eight staff, now it’s just me. I’m working 100 hours a week just to keep my head above water. Chapel Market is changing. I don’t think there’s a place now for us.

“I think it’s going to become a trendy market, like Covent Garden, catering to more expensive tastes.”

Mr Roe opened Meat Market with a partner in 1989 when he lived above the shop.

He is planning on keeping the company going by moving it into a stall in the market.

“I’ve got bills coming from everywhere,” he said. “Then when the government announced it was putting the business rates up I couldn’t believe it.”

The government introduced a new method to calculate business rates in 2017 which saw Islington’s businesses hit with the third highest increase in England, rising by an average of 42 per cent.

Mr Roe said: “The professionals in this industry are being killed off. They used to have professional butchers, bakers and grocers.

“Now the supermarkets dish everything out in packets. No one really knows about the actual products. I went to college, I learnt about how they kill the animal, how it should be treated, how it goes through the chain. I know every part of the body on every animal.”

Tim Nichols, who runs the Manze’s pie shops, said: “It is a shame. This market just has not been invested in and we’re decimated by business rates and rent. We’re losing a part of London’s history.”

Highbury resident Melanie Tate, a Chapel Market regular, said: “I think it’s terrible. The butchers is part of my childhood.”

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington’s executive member for economic development, said: “It’s a great shame Meat Market will be closing and our Chapel Market team will be very happy to discuss setting up a stall instead.”

A spokeswoman for the Valuation Office Agency, which calculates business rates, said: “We use a wide range of property information, including rental and other evidence, to compare values across similar types of properties in order to set the rateable value.

“If a ratepayer thinks the details we hold about their property are incorrect, they can see how their valuation has been calculated and propose changes to the valuation, if needed, at voa.gov.uk/valuation.”

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