Can Ridley Road Market survive higher rents and Crossrail 2?


Ridley Road Market. Pic: Chin Lee

Ridley Road Market, which has been in existence for well over 100 years, is facing a double threat from a planned rent increase for stallholders plus likely disruption of up to eight years of construction work if Crossrail 2 goes ahead which will include an underground station for Dalston.

Hackney Council is proposing to increase traders’ fees by up to £3 to £10 a day which some stallholders say is unaffordable, and will put their ability to run a market business into serious doubt. Stallholders and local shopkeepers are being consulted on the possible rent increases which are intended to help pay for the rising cost of street-cleaning and rubbish disposal around the market.

Pic: Susanna Lee

Stallholder Antoinette Yaya Pic: Chin Lee

Antoinette Yaya, a single parent, has been working at Ridley Road Market selling women’s purses and bags for 10 years. She said that she faced a monthly increase of £273: “If the rents keep going up, I simply don’t know what I will do,” she said. She is also worried about the likely impact of building work for Crossrail 2 on the market’s abiity to operate: “We have heard nothing from the council or the market manager. They really have to let us know if they are going to close the market.”

Market sellers claimed the prices of their fruit and vegetables were much cheaper than those at nearby Sainsbury’s beside the market: “This is why many people came far away to the Ridley Road Market to shop,” said one stallholder.

Pic: Susanna Lee

Fish stall in Ridley Road Market Pic: Chin Lee

Customer Doris Brown, who is a long-standing shopper at Ridley Road Market, said that it was easy to get to. “The market is in the centre of everything,” she said. She added: “Everyone comes here to shop. There are buses and tubes to get here easily. TfL should not push stallholders into closing the market which would be a big loss for local residents and for stallholders.”

Pic: Susanna Lee

Ridley Road Market Pic: Chin Lee

Higher market rents are not the only issue facing stallholders.

Hackney Council is calling for a rethink on the proposed Crossrail 2 station in Dalston so as to minimize the loss of homes and businesses in the area. Cabinet Member for Regeneration in Hackney Council Cllr Guy Nicholson said: ‘‘Constructive discussions are ongoing with TfL about how negative impacts from Crossrail 2 can be minimised while planning for the opportunities this major public transport scheme will create as and when it’s built.

Follow Chin Lee on Twitter: @chinleetina

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