‘Huge victory’ for traders as council steps in to help Ridley Road Shopping Village

Pic: Johann Aren

After a years-long dispute between campaigners and offshore owner, Hackney Council is set to manage the lower floors of Ridley Road Shopping Village in a move celebrated by campaigners and traders alike.

The shopping village is part of the historical Ridley Road Market in Dalston. The decision was announced in a cabinet meeting yesterday, and was welcomed by the campaigning group, SaveRidleyRoad.

They tweeted: “After years of uncertainty and so much work by so many this is a huge victory. For traders, campaigners, the whole borough.”

The 15-year lease between the council and current owner, Larochette Real Estate, includes the basement, ground and parts of the first floor of the shopping village.

Mayor Philip Glanville said: “I’ve paid a visit to Dalston this afternoon … and going down to Ridley Road indoor market, it’s very important to show our ongoing commitment to investing in Dalston, responding to challenges of community on both the business, residents and visitors and making sure we safeguard Dalston for the future.”

Since 2018, the indoor market has been amid controversy as the building’s offshore owner attempted to evict traders with a two-week notice in order to convert the building into private flats and offices. The campaign was in the forefront of fighting to halt these plans.

Throughout the pandemic, Ridley Road has been the only London-based street market to keep a six-day week trading cycle, according to Councillor and Deputy Mayor Guy Nicholson.

The market has also been integral to supporting the borough’s low-income families during the pandemic. In 2020, all Ridley Road Market traders accepted Alexandra Rose Charity vouchers, which allowed families to shop fresh produce while saving money.

It has experienced only a two per cent decrease in traders compared to pre-pandemic figures, while other boroughs’ markets have seen double-digit drops. That is due to grants and investment projects supporting market traders and residents alike, said Glanville.

Pic: Valentina Colo

Campaigners also sought to make the village an ‘asset of community value’, a status which was officially granted in 2019. It recognises the shopping village’s importance to community interests and social wellbeing of the borough.

“Save Ridley Road is not something one campaign group can do. It’s not in the power of Hackney Council either. It’s what can be achieved by a whole community coming together and fighting for a vision of our city, different to the one imposed on us by developers,” the campaign said.

Campaigners with Mayor Glanville (third from the left), October 2021 Pic: Hackney Council

Traders should be involved in each step moving forward, but the campaign said the recent update is “a massive victory for anti-gentrification campaigners across Hackney and the whole city.”  

The council, in partnership with the owner, plans to improve the current state of the basement to proper storage, provide public toilet access to traders and supply them with refrigeration facilities.

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