Hackney Mayor’s pledge to protect Ridley Road market

Ridley Road Market Stall, Pic: Eliza Ketcher

The Mayor of Hackney has repeated his pledge that traditional stallholders will remain at Dalston’s Ridley Road Market.

Councillor Philip Glanville says: “We’ll do everything in our power to ensure [stallholders] remain at the heart of the community and invest in them for the future.”

Hackney council is investing in the outdoor part of Ridley Road Market to the tune of £750,000. A further £750,000 has been pledged by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The investment aims to improve the market’s services while preserving its unique character, history and culture.

The project is part of the council’s ‘Dalston Conversation’, a discussion on the area’s future as it continues to be eyed up by property developers.

The scheme will see traders given new weatherproof stalls, free Wi-Fi and handheld card machines to compete with a changing high street.

A spokesperson for the council has said: “We know that Dalston is changing, and while we can’t control all change, we don’t believe it should come at the expense of the things our community values and we will intervene wherever we can to protect these.

Hackney Mayor, Councillor Glanville, added: “I pledged that we would protect and improve Ridley Road Market so existing traders could thrive, and I believe these proposals will be part of doing just that – ensuring that stallholders can compete with the high street and making it more accessible for shoppers.”

Hackney is now the 11th most expensive London borough, with house prices having increased by 560 per cent since 1998.

The area has seen an influx of wealthy residents, with the Overground providing easy transport connections into central London and beyond.

The new residents seem less inclined to shop at Ridley Road market than its traditional customers.

Carole Rank, who has owned a clothing stall in the market for 40 years, says that business has changed quite considerably.

“It’s affected the kind of people that pass through the market, because the people who lived in the area can no longer afford to live here,” she said.

Tish, another stallholder in the market, has also noticed a slump in sales. She says: “Business is so quiet, we don’t get any money.”

A survey by Hackney council last year found that 81% of customers tended to be locals who shopped there regularly, and were not ‘aspirational’ or ‘affluent’.

The report also found that both the number of customers and general sales had fallen by around 60 percent since the previous year.

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