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Havering Council applies to have Romford’s 770-year-old market granted national ‘Heritage Action Zone’ status

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:33 01 September 2017

Romford Market in the mid-1930s.

Romford Market in the mid-1930s.

Brian Evans

Romford Market’s long history could become one of its unique selling points if an application to have the area named a Heritage Action Zone is successful.

A report to be discussed by Havering Council’s towns and communities sub committee next week suggests the market place’s history could be more greatly focussed on in plans to overhaul the market in the future after a planned market house development was scrapped.

On August 7, the council made an application to Historic England to have Romford town centre designated a Heritage Action Zone in a bid to better protect the market place.

If successful, the programme would have to meet a number of objectives, aimed at regenerating and repairing areas of historical importance across the UK.

Romford’s much-loved market, first set up as a place to sell sheep in the 13th century, would more than fit the bill.

A Havering Council spokesman said: “Romford Market Place is an integral part of Romford Conservation Area, which is currently on the ‘at risk’ register. “As such, it is believed that the future of the market is intrinsically linked to the protection, promotion and restoration of the heritage assets which surround it.

“If successful, it will enable increased investment, particularly in the public realm around the market and build the capacity of local people and visitors to understand and engage with the market’s heritage.”

Other plans to help reinvigorate the market place include public Wifi, a rebranding and an increase in the number and diversity of its stall holders.

The report also indicates the market will once again have an ice rink installed this Christmas time, with the 2017 Christmas lights switch on scheduled for November 16.

The proposed market house building was deemed unviable earlier this year, after planning permission had already been obtained, when it was estimated the scheme would cost almost £1million more than expected.

The planned restaurant, which would have been in the middle of the market square, received more than 900 objections before it was scrapped.

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