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Market could soon become culture centre

PUBLISHED: 11:33 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:39 09 July 2010

ROMFORD Market could soon be transformed into a cultural hub like Covent Garden. If the proposals by the council get the go-ahead it could see £300,000 invested into the historic market to turn it into a centre for entertainment, shopping and history. Ca

ROMFORD Market could soon be transformed into a cultural hub like Covent Garden.

If the proposals by the council get the go-ahead it could see £300,000 invested into the historic market to turn it into a centre for entertainment, shopping and history. Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Michael Armstrong, said: "The market is very firmly a part of Romford's history over the years and we are committed to making sure that this continues, and at the same time we want people to make sure that Romford is not just for the shops, but it is also historically beautiful and diverse."

The plans would see an events and entertainment area put up at the north end of the market, the historic market fountain re-instated and better advertising of the venue.

Shoppers would also be guided through the market with an information point about its history. Visitors would be able to move easily from Swan Walk, Laurie Walk and the Quadrant Arcade into the market.

Cllr Armstrong said: "We have got some beautiful historical buildings and we want to make the most of it while going back to its historical routes like bringing back the old fountain.

"Markets throughout the years have suffered competing with clothes shops but in this economic climate everyone needs a bargain and we feel that these plans will be a good blueprint for other markets to follow and a way of revitalising the market place."

Havering Council has been working with market design experts Quarterbridge on drawing up the plans.

Last week the new layout and design was shown to representatives of traders who would be given stall covers and see their stalls re-arranged as part of the plans.

Market Federation chairman and trader, Jenny Robertson, said: "At this moment it is still early days and everything looks reasonably favourable, but we have to wait to see if the plans are going to actually work."

Cllr Armstrong said: "We have had a fantastic relationship with the market traders and we hope that they will continue working with us because we will only get it right if we work together because we all have the same aim of making the market a success.

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