August 2 2014 Latest news:
Lee-Ann Richards, Reporter
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
It has always been known as the graveyard of the market.
But now a new food court has been introduced to the top end of Romford Market in a bid to breath a new lease of life into the historic marketplace.
“It has always been quiet up here, said the council’s property strategy manager Gary Green, who was instrumental in introducing the new food court to the market.
“We have people who come into the market and then don’t bother coming all the way down and that is the big problem that we had.”
“We knew that we needed something vibrant and exciting, he said.
You can’t get anything more vibrant than an array of delicious delights.
The new addition to the market boasts a range of food items from across the world, with stalls offering Indian, Caribbean and Cuban, Mexican, Lithuanian, Vietnamese and Singaporean delicacies.
There is also a vegetarian stall for those non-meat eaters.
The food seems to speak for itself.
“I would give it a definite seven out of ten, said Daniel Jackson, 29 after finishing a plate of rice and peas with jerk chicken.
“I spotted the stall yesterday when I was leaving work and I just thought that I would give it a try.”
The Caribbean stall has probably generated the most interest since the new stalls were introduced to the market, something that stallholder Devron Baugh is proud of.
“We have had lots of customers and everyone that has eaten from us has said that the food is very good, he said.
“We are hoping to expand the business and this is a good starting point.”
Other highlights of the food court include a Thai stall run by Nyi Nyi Aung and a stall selling traditional Czech pastry treats called fugals.
The new food stalls couldn’t have come sooner for fellow trader Andrew Spiteri.
“I have been asking for this for years, said the 46-year-old.
“I have always said that we need more footfall at this end of the market, it is too early to say, but we have been busy on the weekends since the new food court was introduced.”
The market goes back more than 760 years when it originated as a sheep market.
It is still considered to be one of the largest street markets in the South East, but over recent years it has struggled to compete with high street shops and the traders have also been hit hard by the recession.
Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for community empowerment is hoping that the food stalls will boost the economy.
“It is about bringing new visitors into the market and Romford as a whole, he said.
“I also feel like we are helping these new traders to get more experience and who knows some of them might even go on to set up their own businesses and hopefully they will choose to stay in Havering.”