Traders give Romford Market plans thumbs-down
PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 February 2017
A number of stall-holders have spoken out against plans to build a Market House restaurant in the middle of Romford Market.
Last week Havering Council gave the plans the green light at a council meeting despite 900 objections and just 14 letters in support of the motion.
Michelle Waugh, vice chairman of the market, is concerned that the plans will lead to the displacement of traders.
She told the Recorder this week: “Traders are concerned they are going to lose their customer base because we are going to be moved for a substantial amount of time.
“I think the money could have been better spent. I don’t know if a big building in the market square is the answer.”
Graeme Gibbons, who runs Penny’s, questioned whether the Market House will actually help improve business for the traders.
“It’s going to be an upper class restaurant. The money was meant to rejuvenate the market – I can’t see how it is going to.”
However the council believes that plans will be beneficial to traders as the Market House will bring more people to the area.
“The council wants the market to survive and thrive. Doing nothing will just lead to further decline,” said a spokesman.
Havering Council also stated that any traders moved during the building work will be offered alternative patches once a contractor has been appointed to build the Market House.
“Once the exact area to be affected by the works is known John Walsh, the Romford Market manager, will talk to each affected trader and they will be involved in the decision as to where they wish to relocate,” said a spokesman.
Perry Barnes, who sells sports memorabilia at his wife’s stall, Reynolds, agrees that the market needs regeneration but is concerned that there won’t be enough space for some of the traders to stay in the market.
“I do feel if there was change in the market it will be a good thing but not if it affects the people there now. In the summer time space is a premium – where are they going to put the traders?”
For Jamie Bedworth, who runs a clothes stall, not knowing how the plans will affect his business is a cause of stress.
“It’s my livelihood, what do I do when it comes to paying my mortgage? The stress is unbelievable.”