-Friends of Queen’s Market

Friends of Queen’s Market

Policy 4.8 Retail Diversity – Missing Separate Policy on Markets

“Markets have traditionally not been the subject of much attention within the policy domain, and the dominant policy narrative has been that of markets deteriorating.”[1]

The Mayor recognises the independence of local authorities but in recent times local authorities have not always been sensitive to the benefits of street markets and have pursued policies of running them down and selling or leasing the land to developers who have little interest or experience in maintaining markets.

The social role that street markets play should be recognised as they contribute to equalities; providing opportunities for small entrepreneurs, supplying food at prices below supermarket prices, supply of cheap fresh ingredients, acting as social spaces, fostering community cohesion through inter-ethnic engagement is invaluable and we ask that all current street markets in London should be preserved.

Markets contribute to health equalities and often provide jobs to heads of families (bread winners).

In the Draft London Plan there is a policy for Small Shops but no specific policy for markets. They appear in text alongside Policy 4.8Policy 4.8e which says:

“support the range of street, farmers’ and, where relevant, strategic markets, complementing other measures to improve their management, enhance their offer and contribute to the vitality of town centres”
The retail areas around markets, and their owners’ plans for development, must not be allowed to threaten the benefits and viability of the markets themselves. The present wording suggests that markets are only valuable where they draw shoppers into retail centres. We urge that you remove the phrase which suggests that markets should only (or especially) be supported where they draw business to shops.

Markets should not only exist where they support the vitality of town centres but they help ‘peg’ communities and small businesses together, especially at times of economic recession whereas high street shops like Woolworths suffer to the detriment of people’s access to goods, so it’s very important to protect them in any location.

Boroughs must not only consult transparently with the retail sector but this should include market traders and consumers/users of the market, in the case of 110 year old Queen’s Market in Upton Park, most users have English as 2nd language and so a more thorough level of consultation must also take place to ensure that certain groups are not left out from voicing their concerns or be further marginalised in future.

We propose a policy in the London Plan as follows:

The Mayor will identify and protect London’s street and covered markets for their contribution to health, enterprise, local economies and their social value to London.

Boroughs should:

– recognise the benefits of their markets to health policy, local enterprise policy, social policy, local economic policy

– seek to retain the ownership of markets as a public benefit

– in considering proposals for redevelopment of markets consult with traders and shop keepers and consumers/users of the market

– in considering proposals for redevelopment consider whether this will impact on economically hard-pressed groups

– enable mechanisms to protect the levels of rent necessary for the market’s social and locally affordable function

In the GLA London Street Markets Report (updated May 2009) recommendations were made as to how these goals should appear in the London Plan:

2.3 If the final London Plan does provide specific strategic direction relating to the importance of street markets, this would mean that in all future planning developments across London, boroughs would have to make a provision to ensure street markets are protected, supported and exist in environments where they are encouraged to flourish.

We ask the Mayor urge local authorities to co-operate with local communities and entrepreneurs in preserving and re-vitalising markets and note the success of the Old Enfield Charitable Trust in taking over the management of Enfield Market and urge local authorities to consider similar social enterprise options before considering site disposal.

Yours sincerely
Saif Osmani

On behalf of Friends of Queen’s Market

friendsofqueensmarket@yahoo.co.uk

cc: Chair, Friends of Queen’s Market

[1] Percival, T (2008/9). Commercial Gentrification in a global city: The changing nature of retail markets in East London, University of Leeds, School of Geography p.19.

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