12 April 2012 19:51

By Martyn Henry
 It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of imagination.
I have just returned from a trip to London (cold, crowded but full of life) and we ventured forth from the area around Oxford Street to see some other parts of this major world capital.
As with any other city, time marches on and places become surplus to requirement.
Modern transport methods mean that areas such as Covent Garden and some of the other famous areas associated with fruit, meat, vegetables, flowers, etc are no longer needed, so a historic part of the city changes forever.
It would be easy to leave these places to decay, but London seems to have made the most of change. No doubt other cities around the world have done the same thing bit I was struck by what had happened in the UK’s capital city.
Oxford Street is a must for shoppers, but lacks soul somehow. Get onto the magic carpet known as the Tube and go elsewhere for character.
Camden Town, for instance. Once one of the more rundown, industrial areas of the city, a place where canal barges were loaded and unloaded and where the horses that pulled them were shod and fed.
What do you do with a place like that? You turn it into an attraction. The old stables are a treasure trove of stalls selling anything from second hand books to old records or vintage clothing. The lockside is now a place to shop or enjoy food from around the world from one of the many stalls while you watch the ducks and barges on the canal. Heaven on a sunny day.
The same goes for the old Spitalfields market. The word vibrant is overused but this transformation of an old fashioned street market – dating from the 13th century - into a place where you can buy fashion, eat expensively or cheaply and enjoy a number of events is a really great day out. And it’s under cover too, which is useful given London’s somewhat changeable climate. We found it after a disappointing trip to Petticoat Lane, nearby. Don’t even bother to go there…
Why this rambling? Well it strikes me that Cyprus could do something similar, particularly in some of the more rundown areas of the old city of Nicosia.
Just imagine stalls selling fashion and junk, side by side, and other places where you can buy food from around the world. The growing international communities we have here could easily provide that.
Let’s turn a place blighted by war into a place that makes people smile.