Street Feast: Firm behind Woolwich’s Public and Lewisham’s Model Market collapses

Public at Woolwich
Public in Woolwich opened in March 2018 in the former covered market

The company behind Lewisham’s Model Market and the failed Public in Woolwich’s old covered market has gone out of business – with its founder complaining of being “completely screwed over”.

Street Feast ran a number of food courts across London, including Model Market, which closed its gates for the last time only last month.

It also ran Dinerama in Shoreditch, Hawker House in Rotherhithe and Giant Robot at Canary Wharf.

But its venture in Woolwich ended in acrimony after it fell out with Greenwich Council over botched electrical works in the historic Public Market.

The Evening Standard revealed yesterday that London Union, which ran the venues, collapsed last autumn with debts of around £2.1 million including unpaid salaries, rents and tax. Now renamed 101 Clifton, the company appointed liquidators last month.

Its investors included Giles Coren, the restaurant critic who caused outrage this summer when he celebrated the death of the young leftwing journalist Dawn Foster on social media.

Other investors included Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, Heart radio breakfast host Jamie Theakston and the celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Heston Blumenthal.

Street Feast abandoned Public in February 2019

Downey told the paper that none of its high-profile backers would lose out from the collapse as many invested through a government scheme with tax relief and failure protection.

“A lot of our backers were already rich and successful and weren’t investing for financial gain but were giving us their support as we tried to create something great for London,” he said.

“Sadly because of Covid that didn’t happen, but nobody’s going to get burned.”

He added: “The business was killed because of the lockdowns and government restrictions. We also had some very difficult landlords.

“Some of them have now brought in new operators, a bit like a cuckoo taking over someone else’s nest.

“We’ve been completely screwed over. But we’ll be back.”

Downey announced his plans to put the markets into liquidation last October, telling the website Big Hospitality that the industry was “fucked” because of a lack of government support during the coronavirus crisis.

Model Market
Model Market closed for the last time in September

Street Feast was brought in by Greenwich Council to run Public in Woolwich in March 2018 on a three-year lease following its huge success with Model Market. Downey appealed to locals for help in obtaining a licence for the venue after police and the council’s own officers raised objections.

But it abandoned the venture after less than a year, with Greenwich Council telling 853 at the time electrical work carried out by Street Feast needed to be fixed before it could reopen.

Downey branded this website’s report as “total bollocks” and traded barbs with locals on social media; however, 853 later established that Street Feast had, in fact, been sent a bill for £20,000 of work.

Footfall at Public had also dropped during the winter months, while the venture was hit by the delays to Crossrail opening.

The public market is now due to be redeveloped as part of the Woolwich Exchange scheme.

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