CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Exclusive: Ferris wheel plan for Camden Lock

'We do not want the visitors to feel they should spend 45 minutes here – we want to make it a place you can spend a day'

10 June, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

How the new ride could look

A FERRIS wheel of soaring glass pods is being planned for the heart of Camden Lock’s markets in a bid to entice visitors back to the area as it recovers from the pandemic, the New Journal can exclusively reveal.

Plans have been drawn up for the new 32-metre-high ride for the West Yard site, offering grandstand views of the Regent’s Canal.

Each pod will be themed on a musical artist or band in honour of Camden Town’s live music heritage.

Market owners LabTech, who will be seeking planning permission from Town Hall chiefs, say the idea is to attract people back to NW1.

The company’s commercial director, Maggie Milosavljevic, said the wheel was part of its long-term investment in the markets.

She added: “Over the past year, we have seen tourism disappear. Our responsibility is to make the markets a destination not just for tourism, but for people who live nearby, and visitors from within the UK.

“. We hope this will help people living nearby come in and discover our smaller, independent businesses.

“We feel these types of attractions will help bring people back in.” If permission is ­granted – LabTech plan to apply this summer – work on the wheel could start early next year. Ms Milosavljevic said: “The pods will change regularly, allowing ­people to visit as many times as they want for a fresh experience.”

The West Yard area that would be transformed

And the scheme will also see a currently inaccessible canal quay known as “Dead Dogs Basin” open to the public for the first time.

The brick-lined Victorian vaults beneath the Interchange factory on the canal will offer a new embarking point for a canal bus and will include an exhibition explaining Camden Town’s industrial heritage in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust.

Ms Milosavljevic said: “We know there is a lot of interest in the history of the canal and surrounding neighbourhood, and we also know people want to go on canal boat trips. Here we can combine the two.”

The West Yard – currently home to a number of food traders – had been subject to a planning application in 2016.

A scheme aimed to increase access with a new walkway from the High Street, to radically alter a 1980s-built, faux-Victorian canalside warehouse used by traders, and to redesign cobbled courtyards.

Under the new plans, the hall will be revamped.

If LabTech win planning permission, current food stalls – whose huts have temporary permission until January next year – will be relocated to the edge of the West Yard and others will be moved into nearby market areas.

The wheel is the latest plan from LabTech to re-invent the offering of Camden markets.

Recently, the company announced that the new development at Hawley Wharf would no longer solely contain floors of market-style units but instead two of the four floors would be used for “experiences” – one would be dedicated to food and drink, with one floor earmarked for traders.

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