The owners of London's Camden Lock Market have won planning permission to push ahead with a £20m overhaul the iconic site that includes opening up a Grade II-listed underground waterway to the public for the first time.
Market Tech Holdings, which owns around 15 acres of land in and around Camden, said Camden Council unanimously backed the plans to revamp the 130,000 square feet site by expanding the market area and putting in more cafes, restaurants, galleries as well as a food hall that opens onto the canal.
The plans will also create a new path along the canal and restore the undercroft of the Victorian Interchange Warehouse Building, bringing a covered canal basin, known as Dead Dog Basin, into public use for the first time.
Chief executive Charles Butler told City A.M.: "Camden was one of the first interchanges between water, land and rail, where all the goods would come along the canal underneath the Interchange building and would be pulled up on ropes before being taken away by train. Our plan is to open it up and put a restaurant there over the water."
He estimates that there are around 2km of tunnels beneath the market that could eventually be opened up and turned into clubs, bars or restaurants.
Butler added: "Camden Lock Market was never designed for so many people and you don’t really have access to the canal. We are going to open it so that everyone can walk around it and make it a lot more permeable for people in order to improve the shopping experience. It is is very much designed around industrial heritage and the idea of bringing the canal back into the scheme."
The scheme, designed by architect Stuart Piercy, also includes permission 233 food and artisan stalls in the east and west yards as well as new workspace for offices and industry. Work is expected to start this year in time for completion in 2017.