Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has lost out to an Irish property investor in the race to buy Brixton Market.

The retail tycoon was beaten to a deal by Irish developer Aidan Brooks, who owns numerous high-end Knightsbridge and Bond Street properties.

The Brixton Village and Market Row sites, which boast around 140 retailers and restaurants, had been put on the market for £30m by London & Associated Properties.

Ashley’s Sports Direct was said to be one of several bidders interested in the grade II-listed arcades, which have been described as London’s “next Camden Market”.

But according to The Times, Ashley’s bid faltered after he failed to meet agreed timescales.

The sale of Brixton Market has sparked controversy in the local area, with campaigners fearing a new owner would destroy the market’s character by forcing out existing traders in favour of higher-paying retail chains.