Whitechapel locals reflect on £9.3m facelift as Crossrail opening approaches

Whitechapel High Street pic: Gina Gambetta

Whitechapel Road is to get a facelift with new street lighting, better pavements and more greenery after the council secured £9.3m funding from the government.

The money will also be spent on better market stalls and street cleaning once the market is over, and for shop fronts to be improved. The changes are due to be in place for when the train station opens on the new Crossrail network across the capital – the Elizabeth Line. Tower Hamlets council are also set to move into new headquarters there in 2022.

Henry Crawford, 32, told East London Lines: “I’ve had a stall here selling fish for about eight years now. I work Monday to Saturday, with very little time to recover, before I know it I’m at work again! 

“I’m happy to hear about the improvements here, but you never quite know what waits for you on the other side. New market stalls could make business more difficult for me, who knows? Change can be scary; it may be great at times, but other times it could leave you worse off.”

The plans in Whitechapel include: improved pavements and street furniture, new market stalls, improved market facilities including waste management, and essential building repairs to properties along the High Street.

Michael, a cyclist who cycles to work through Whitechapel, told East London Lines: “I was happy to hear about these so-called improvements, but when I looked at what they’re exactly improving, I found that they haven’t even bothered to build the missing section of the cycle lane.

“I’d like to imagine it won’t take up too much of their funds, but it would be so great if they could have added this into their improvements for the area; it would be very much helpful and convenient for myself and other cyclists.”

Councillor and Deputy Mayor for Work, Economic Growth, and Faith, Motin Uz-zaman said: “Not only will the Whitechapel Road Improvement Programme benefit the local economy, but it will celebrate the diversity and distinctiveness of the local area. I’m very pleased we secured the funding after all the hard work by our Regeneration Team and TfL colleagues.” 

Tower Hamlets Council will announce information on the dates of the commencement of the Whitechapel improvements in due course.

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