Mayor Boris Johnson and the Greater London Authority have REJECTED the
St. Modwen scheme to demolish Queen's Market and pile on
'inappropriate' tower blocks on the historic site. ..............................
Mayor rejects ‘inappropriate’ plans for Queen’s Market redevelopment
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson
has today directed Newham Council to refuse planning permission for
plans to redevelop Queen’s Market in Upton Park, which include the
construction of a 96 metre high residential tower block.
When plans were submitted to the
Mayor for consultation in May 2008, the applicant was advised that they
did not conform with the London Plan on several counts, including the
quality of the design of the proposed tower.
The applicant subsequently revised
the plans but these still failed to address the Mayor’s concerns on the
appearance and, in particular the attractiveness of the proposed tower.
The plans also failed to demonstrate that a tall building of the design
proposed would be appropriate on the site.
The Mayor said:
“I have carefully considered this
application. However, it is obvious that a tower of this size, so much
higher than any existing tall buildings in the area, is neither
attractive or in proportion or suited to any of the surrounding
buildings, streets or the general urban realm of Newham.
“I am not opposed to the improvements
to Queen’s Market, but I am against this inappropriate tower and have,
therefore, instructed Newham not to approve these current plans.”
As predicted, many of the main issues brought up as objections have been left out as the officer tries to legitimise the loss of public amenity and community space, the lack of affordable social housing, the issue of rent, service charges, conditions of Section 106 agreements, high-rise including a 31 storey tower block, over-looking issues, years of noise, pollution.... can you find more?
What's more revealing is the lack of consultation, or as they've called it "extensive notification excercise." Out of the 2552 responses they received on the plans, 2549 were objections and only 3 were in favour. Does this give Newham Council and St. Modwen the right to demolish the market and cause years of disruption?
INJUSTICE AT PLANNING LEVEL- make your voice heard at the planning meeting on Wednesday 22nd April, 5.30pm!
DATE OF COMMITEE CONFIRMED (Moved from 8th April)
Newham Council's Planning Department has confirmed Wednesday 22nd April 2009, 6.30pm as the date and time to decide on whether to approve the St. Modwen scheme for Queen's Market.
FoQM are asking all interested parties to meet outside the Town Hall in
East Ham from 5.30pm to protest
against the demolition of 110 year
old Queen's Market which is proposed to be replaced with hundreds of
private flats (mostly unaffordable), tower blocks of 18 and 31 storeys
high and a characterless market hall, whilst increasing rents and
service charges for traders and shop keepers at the detriment of local
people's access to cheap, affordable and culturally appropriate food.
For the last 5 years Newham Council and their "preferred" developers
St. Modwen have attempted to destroy Queen's Market with a scheme
deemed a "cultural attack"
and "racially devisive" by local people and users of the market, with
bogus consultations and no end of spin in order to legitimise their unpopular scheme.
To date the scheme has recieved a record number of objections; 12,000
petition in 2006 against St. Modwen's involvement on the site followed by over
2,500 individually written objection letters to the plans since May 2008.
This is the most important date yet in the campaign, make sure you don't miss it!
Call 07915 234 404 for futher information. ...........................................................................................
09.03.2009- From the Greater London Authority, following London Mayor's visit to Queen's Market:
One of the things that the Mayor has been very impressed by is the range and vibrancy of the food sector across the city, and he was pleased to be able to see at first-hand what a fantastic job Queens Market does for all of its loyal customers. The Mayor believes it is precisely the kind of market that makes London a world food city.
Food is and will remain one of the Mayor's priorities for making London healthier and more exciting. The Mayor is working with Rosie Boycott, whom he appointed as Chair of London Food, to take forward work to make sure that people in London continue to have access to a full range of healthy, sustainable and culturally-appropriate food. The Mayor believes that street and covered markets have a crucial role to play in improving food access and in providing all Londoners with affordable food, as well as being powerful forces for economic vibrancy in their neighbourhoods.
Thank you again for writing and we would like to take the opportunity to wish you well for the future.
Friday 16th January 2009 saw the Mayor of London making a whistle-stop tour of London's most ethnically diverse market. Evidently concerned by what he has been hearing, he decided to stop off for half an hour to talk with shoppers and traders. Naturally, his visit excited considerable interest and he was followed shortly afterwards by three members of the London Assembly: Jenny Jones (GreenParty), Andrew Boff (Conservative) and John Biggs (Labour). No doubt Newham council and St Modwen Properties weren't best pleased.
Please visit www.nabma.com and nominate Queen's Market for an award.
Support from South Africa:
The following is just one of the many e-mails FoQM have received in recent months: Dear FoQM,Irecently had the pleasure of living in the UK. During my stay I was introducedto Queen's Market and was immediately drawn in by the vibe, character and valuefor money and healthy produce on offer. Since then, for the rest of my stay inthe UK I bought my fresh fruit and vegetables from the ever friendly vendors ofthe Queen's Market, instead of the sterile chain-store down the road. Being aforeigner I was warmly welcomed by the vendors. It saddens me to hear about the councils plans which would effectively demolish the market. I will howeverc ontinue to tell all of my friends, family and business associates who visitthe UK to make some time to stop over at the market.Bestwishes and keep up the good work to SAVE QUEEN'S MARKET.
Regards, Naresh Magan. Johannesburg, South Africa
Massive rent increases: As feared (and predicted by FoQM) St Modwen are endeavouring to force through 100% rent increases. As if this was not bad enough, the rapacious developers plan to introduce an additional service charge.
London Markets' Symposium
This keyevent was held at City Hall on 23rd October 2008. For people passionate about London's wholesale and street markets this was one of the most significant symposiums in the field in recent years. The Friends of Queen's Market sent two representatives and were pleased to hear others refer to Queen's Market. Strangely both Newham council and St Modwen did not appear to be represented. A wealth of London boroughs sent along representatives; Barking & Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest were amongst East End boroughs there, but no Newham.
Local Mum upholds the Law!
Market shopper Maria Sexious believed that people like her, low-income people from minority communities, would have to pay more for their food if and when the new luxury- flat-market-mall complex gets built. She believed local people had not been given enough information and had not had a proper chance to have their say about this and other impacts of the development. She told the Rights & Justice Centre at Friends of the Earth that she was prepared to go to court over this injustice. The lawyers at the Rights & Justice Centre advised that Newham Council had not done a proper Race Equality Impact Assessment before putting forward their planning application for the market. They must carry out this assessment to make sure that their plans won’t discriminate against minorities and will promote harmonious racerelations. And they have to carry it out early enough to change their plans if the assessment shows this is needed. In fact if the development goes through and private developer St Modwen becomes the market landlord, traders’rents are likely to rise and then food prices will go up. And that will discriminate against poor ethnic minority people. As for harmonious race relations, the market at present is a friendly place where all peoples mix, and Maria fears that this will be lost as the market struggles to survive ther edevelopment. Faced with arguments like these even the Legal Aid Board, who keep a very tight grip on the public purse, could see that there was a case to answer. They granted Maria legal aid to apply for a judicial review at the High Court, challenging Newham Council’s failure to carry out a proper Race Equality Impact Assessment. Meanwhile Newham Council rushed round holding consultations to produce a hastily written Equality Assessment Report, to try to fend off the legal case. They were in such a hurry that in some cases they didn’t manage to advertise the “consultation event” until after it had already been held! They even arm-twisted a reluctant St Modwen to commit themselves to agreeing sustainable rents with the traders. (Why do we say arm-twisted? Why reluctant? Because in September 2008 St. Modwen tried to justify a hundred per cent increase in the rents of ten traders! Actions speak louder than words….). Apart from this glaring contradiction, neither St Modwen nor Newham Council have been able to give any details about what “sustainable rent” means or how this will be guaranteed for traders in the new market. If traders are forced to increase prices or even cannot trade any longer, this will hit all local people currently struggling to feed their families on an ever tighter budget. In October 2008 Maria’s case came before High Court Judge Mr Justice Sullivan. He said that Maria should wait and see whether planning permission is granted or refused. If it’s refused, he said, it’s not going to matter whether or not the Council dodged its Race Relations duties when it pushed the plan forward. So the judge directed Maria to wait and see if planning permission is granted for the St Modwen scheme. If it is, then the door is open for Maria to return to the Court to challenge the permission because of Newham Council’s failures. Meanwhile Friends of Queens Market congratulate Maria and the Rights & Justice Centre for insisting that Newham Council obeys the law! ‘The Race Relations Act protects ethnic minorities’ says Maria ‘but when I took the Council to court I was also thinking of all the people who use the market, young or old, black or white. We all need to eat good affordable food!’
Designs get lukewarm response from CABE - 15/9/2008 St. Modwen's controversial plans have received a less than ringing endorcement from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in its Design Review.
The following make for interesting reading:
"Our primary concern is with the architectural expression of the market which lacks presence on Green Street. We also have concerns regarding permeability expected to be achieved through the retail diagram and its impact on the character of Queens Road and Rochester Avenue."
"The lockable shops on these streets block the edges and give it an undesirable fortress-like appearance."
"Whilst Queens Market is the key destination and its enhancement is the main objective of this redevelopment, we feel that it has not been celebrated enough in the form or architectural expression of this building."
"The light wells, as drawn, may not bring in the amount of daylight that has been shown in some internal images."
"...block one appears bulky" (31 storey tower block)
"...we are unconvinced about the relationship of the tower with the ground plane which is not yet fully resolved." "...we would hope to see more ambitious sustainability targets"
1st August 2008 - FoQM submit Planning Objection Letter Following months of research, seeking legal advice and input from traders and shoppers Friend sof Queen's Market have submitted a detailed and strong objection letter to the planning office at Newham Council. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the kind people at Friends of the Earth, Planning Aid for London and all other community groups, national campaigns and individual people who have written in to oppose the "unethical" scheme.
You can read the full objection letter via the tab at the top of this page.
Hobson's Choice St Modwen are holding a 'consultation' at West Ham United Football Club on Wednesday 23rd July from 4-8pm. They have boxes to tick concerning the planning process, but rest assured it will be the usual Hobson's Choice. Any one fancy writing the script?
No doubt a smarm offensive will be in operation, but it isstill important that those that feel able to attend go along to see how StModwen, Newham council and their spinmeisters intend to win hearts and minds.
Poor old St Modwen are having a torrid time at present. No doubt St Modwen will now use the credit crunch and the downturn in the property market to ring yet more concessions out of councils and dilute what little commitment it has to affordable and social housing
St Modwen and Newham council are engaging in divide and rule tactics to endeavour to break the morale of traders. Traders are told "it is a done deal","that the scheme is going ahead" and "that it is in thei rinterest to come to an arrangement with St Modwen" or else they will be frozen out. This comes of little to surpise to those who have followed this whole shabby business. From the outset the impression created is that opposition is futile, that it is a fait accompli and that those traders who voice their concerns will be penalised. FOQM believe that traders have aright to be told the full facts before they make their business decisions. As a campaign group we seek to raise the concerns of shoppers, local residents and traders alike.
Council and St Modwen try to sneak out planning application With so much to hide it comes of little surprise to see that Newham council and St Modwen Properties are endeavouring to wrong foot concerned parties.
For more details contact Saif Osmani: 07915234404 9/5/08
St. Modwen issue a press release entitled: 'Traders welcome plans for new Queens Market, Upton Park, E13' It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. In true St Modwen style people would need to read between the lines or find out for themselves.
The following were omitted: 1)Traders will now have to pay a service charge as well as rent. 2) Acommunity facility (the Queens' Pub) will be demolished and not replaced. 3) Rentswill be increased. 4) No mention of the fact that the vast majority of the 350+ dwellings to be built on the site will be for the private sector. 5) No mention of the fact that the existing parking problems in the Green Street area will be exacerbated by the development. 6) The disruption and impact on local residents fails to get a mention. 7) The massive tower blocks (one of which will be 31 storeys high!) for some reason did not feature. 8) S. tModwen failed to include the fact that neither local residents or shoppers had been shown a 3D model of the development.
The ever boastful developer seems unusually coy about this. (A 3D model was finally shown on 5/6/2008, even thenthe full plans were not available to be seen in the market - why ever not ?) Sadly, Newham council and St Modwen are keen on sophistry, semantics and spin. Yet again a local community pays the price. To make your objections please write to: SunilSahadevan, Development Control, Newham Council, 330-354 Barking Road, East Ham,London E6 2RT. Please besure to include the following reference: Planning Application - 08/00894/FUL Also please ask for an acknowledgement for your objection.
The mustread for 2008Thecampaign to save Queen's Market is now prominently featured in REAL ENGLAND by Paul Kingsnorth :
http://realengland.blogspot.com Anextract of part of the section about Queen's Market:"Thiscould't be further away from a supermarket. There are no ready meals in sight.Here you buy the ingredients, whether they be fish or silk, and you take themhome to make the finished product yourself. The diversity is remarkable enough,but maybe even more remarkable are the prices - everything is eye-wateringlycheap. Asda's Price Promise would be laughed at here. In an area like this,with so many people living on very low wages, this is not just convenient, itis vital."
Queen'sMarket a hot potato for the GLADespiteQueen's Market being London's most ethnically diverse marketthose responsible for putting together the GLA report on London's StreetMarkets deliberately chose not to visit the market or to make it a specificcase study. Clearly Queen's Market has become a real hot potato for thosein power.
................................................................. Yet againthe London Borough of Newham has featured in the Rotten Boroughs sectionof PrivateEye in connection with property developers andretrospective consultations with local people.
"St Sod-themProperties PLC"The stories of St Modwen Properties PLC being less than straight withthose likely to be affected by their development schemes are gatheringmomentum.
The specialist website “The Political Economy of Football” (www.footballeconomy.com)has just published the following: WORCESTER STADIUM ROW HAS A WIDER SIGNIFICANCE – 2/12/07
Werecently ran a piece on the hopes of non-league Worcester City to moveto anew stadium in conjunction with a property developer. A local correspondent hassubsequently written in to comment, 'Seems to me that there is a considerableamount of politics and economics and very little football in all of this.' It isundoubtedly the case that developers can use a stadium development with itssupposed community benefits to overcome planning objections to a development.Our local correspondent states that the proposed site at Nunnery Way lies justwithin the Worcester City administrative boundary and has long been designatedthe 'M5 Protection Corridor' to prevent urbansprawl up to and along themotorway. Only recreational and agricultural use is permitted on this land. Thepotential loophole is that 'recreational use' of the M5 Protection Corridorcould be interpreted to permit a stadium. Once that is built, there could bepiggy-back planning permission for 'mixed use enabling development'. Thus, ourlocal correspondent claims, 'the football club is used by [developers]St.Modwenas a planning Trojan horse to get permission for mixed use development on a[greenfield] site to which they would otherwise not have access.'
The football club is badly in debt and has an aspiration to get into thefootball league, although it may be questioned whether this is a realistic hopegiven that they have been trying for over 100 years and are not even in theConference. Other solutions might be to sell and lease back the existing groundat St.George's Lane or share with Worcester Warriors Rugby Club at Sixways,although the football supporters would rattle around in a 10,000 capacitystadium likely to go up to 13,000. This has been raised with the rugby club,andprimacy of tenure (whose fixtures come first) has been raised as an issue. However,this could be overcome, providing that there was an acknowledgment by thefootball authorities that the rugby club have first claim. From the perspectiveof those who oppose the prospective development, 'St. Modwen is driving a coachand horses through the spirit and intentions of the Local Plan which wasarrived at through due democratic processes and specifically written topreserve the green fields between Worcester and the M5 motorway.' It might makea interesting case study for one of the students always writing to us aboutdissertation topics.I understand you ran a piece on St Sod-them Properties PLC /Asda-Walmartand their intentions tore-develop Queen’s Market in the last year. Morerecently, Matthew D’Ancona ran a piece (Spectator 24/11/07) on theweb-basedanti campaign by the locals:
Reactionsto the FoQM website and campaign;"Themost exciting example of grassroots web politics ..."Matthewd'Ancona, TheSpectator, 24/11/2007.................................................A case ofWorcester sauce ! St Modsat it again !http://www.footballeconomy.com
Scottish& Newcastle bring us some cheer!It has beenheartening to see Scottish & Newcastle Brewery begin their refurbishment ofthe Queens' Public House. Their interest and investment is in marked contrastto the Machiavellian antics of Newham council and St Modwen Properties
Ticketonly council meetings in the Robinocracy of NewhamThe Mayorof Newham gets ever more fearful of public scrutiny, particularly inregard to his ill-conceived scheme for Queen's Market. Now forsupposed safety reasons ticketing has been introduced for public access tomeetings of Newham council. Members of the public are asked to give their nameand address and are issued with a numbered ticket. This has serious civilliberty implications. The numbers allowed into the public gallery has also beenreduced. To add a little more theatricality to proceedings the gallery is nowmonitored and glowered at by Sir Robin's third-rate Praetorian guard -otherwise known as the Newham Parks Constabulary. Welcometo the surreal world of Newham!
The celebrated photographer Adrian Arbib has put together a stunning collection of photographs that capture something of the remarkable spirit of the market. Should you wish to make use of any of these images please be sure to contact Adrian directly. Adrian Arbib Tel 01865 454600
PropertyWeek - 19/01/2007A lengthyarticle in Property Week magazine entitled Market Stalled by MikePhillips contains some fascinating information, some of which has only nowreached the public domain.1) We nowfind out that St Modwen are planning to build 370 homes.2) Thearticle informs the reader that the development will feature, "an18-storey block looking out on to Green Street."3)"rents are likely to increase sharply to fall into line with GreenStreet"ThePeople You Wish Didn't Rule Our Lives SIR ROBINWALES - MAYOR OF NEWHAM SirRobin's campaign to "transform" Queen's Market in Upton Park - one ofthe most genuinely "vibrant" and diverse retail spaces in the city -into a "modern and accessible" shopping centre" hit a bump thisyear when his proposed key tennant, Asda, pulled out after a massive protestcampaign.Anotherperson might have taken this as a sign that they were on the wrong track. NotSir Robin. Describing the existing as "dirty, smelly and tatty", heunveiled new plans to demolish not just that but a popular nearby pub as well.AndrewGilligan (2/1/2007)
Queens'Public HouseYetanother aspect of this thoroughly nasty scheme is the plan to get rid of theQueens' Public House. This pub is a very popular watering hole and meetingpoint for both West Ham supporters and fans from visiting teams. Alsolittle or no thought seems to have be given to the problem of parking forHammers fans on home match days, an additional 370 dwellings is certainly notgoing to help matters. St Modwen and Newham council seem keen to keep thisquiet - surprise, surprise!
Shouldyou wish to make use of this image please be sure to contact the photographerRichard Duffy directly:- Tel 07764810737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org PaulineRowe, one of the organisers told Market Trade News, " We areabsolutely thrilled with the response, local women feel very strongly aboutthis issue and are keen to show just how much they care about their market. Itwas all the more fitting that the event took place during 'One World Week'. Ican't imagine the Mayor of Newham is best pleased as he hates dissent of anykind. Maybe he will break the habit of a lifetime and actually start listeningto the people, but we won't hold our breath.".PeterMarshall's photographs of the march:-
JosephRowntree Foundation ReportA newreport entitled:- Public spaces, social relations and well-being in EastLondon helps elucidate just how important a role Queen's Market is playinginthe lives of thousands of people. For further information visit:-
Queen'sMarket 1 - Asda/WalMart 0Well thepressure really is beginning to take its toll. Asda/WalMart have finallyrealised that they are not welcome in Green Street. If the Mayor of Newham haddone his homework at the beginning he would have soon discovered that hisill-conceived scheme for Queen's Market was a non-starter. The news thatAsda has pulled out was greated with jubilation in the market; people are nowmore determined than ever to see off the third rate property developers thatSir Robin Wales seems so fond of. Asda have seen the writing on the wall, nowit is time for St Modwen Properties Plc and the Mayor of Newham to wake up toreality.
Politicalunity and solidarity for Queen's Market (25/3/2006)
(Thepictured the Newham Recorder dared not publish)Sir RobinWales has chosen to denigrate London's most ethnically diverse market in hismayoral election campaign leaflet. He describes Queen's Market as; "Adirty, smelly, tatty market.." Yet neglects to mention the fact thatNewham council is responsible for looking after the market.
"Mayorfaces High Court appearance" Stratford Guardian 20/4/2006"MayorSir Robin Wales is to be taken to the High Court over allegations of usingtaxpayers' money for his own political gain........"For furtherdetails contact:- Alan Craig on 07939 547198
Pressureforces council to remove official bannerFriday24th March 2006 - Newhamcouncil has been shamed into taking down a huge banner they had erected at thefront of Queen's Market. The banner which had read:- We are building abetter Queen's Market for Green Street had incensed shoppers andtraders alike and is typical of the high-handed and arrogant approach of Newhamcouncil. The banner came down because the Friends of Queen's Market said theMayor cannot build anything until he's consulted again on his final plan andobtained planning permission. Yet again the people of Newham have to foot thebill for the Mayor's folly
The GreatBetrayalReutersNews Agency (17/3/2006) has announced that Newham council have signed theagreement with St Modwen Properties Plc to go ahead with their hugelycontroversial £75 million scheme. It comes of little surprise to those who knowthe Mayor of Newham. Sir Robin Wales refuses to listen to reason and believesthat as mayor his will should prevail regardless of the cost to thecommunity. Such arrogance merely highlights the injustice he is intent on doingto the people of Newham. His utter disregard of all logic inthis matter is a clarion call to us all to strive to expose this greatbetrayal.TheNewham council press release in this regard actively avoidsmentioning Asda/WalMart - cynics might think that the council hassomething to hide. In Newhamwe are proud of our market and ashamed of the Mayor
QUEEN'SMARKET UNDER THREAT Mayorscrapping London’s most ethnically diverse market to invite in Asda/WalMart.'Street and covered markets… make a valuablecontribution to local choice and diversity in shopping as well as the vitalityof Town Centres’. John Prescott, PPS6: Planningfor Town Centres, ODPM March 2005 Ken Livingstone, in his introduction to the draftLondon Food Strategy, acknowledges the character and vitality thatmarkets lend to the capital and stresses their fundamental role in maintainingdiversity in the retail sector by providing access to healthy, fresh food thateven London's most disadvantaged citizens can afford. However, as the strategyitself points out, traditional markets throughout the country are incrisis, many fighting for their lives[i]:in London, Woolwich Market may shortly be jeopardised by the arrival of thelargest Tesco in Europe while the Queen's Market, Newham risks beinguprooted in favour of an Asda Foodstore. An alarming number of traditionalmarkets have succumbed in recent years to quick-return, top-down 'regeneration'packages, which are developer-led and by definition not market-centric. BecauseQueen’s Market is teeming with customers and looks successful and confident ,so confident-looking and apparently robust, the developer in question, StModwen might well contend that two years of working out of a building siteunassailable. But like all old markets, it runs on an unfathomabledynamic that is linked to location and to the market’s own specific community,it is in fact as fragile and as complex as a coral reef. Dismantle atraditional market, sell it, move it, re-configure it, change its status,its access, its balance, its trading week, its rents and service charges,squeeze it inside or turn it out of doors and its essence will be in shreds.Finally, set down beside it, a multinational food-store with every parkingadvantage including refunds for supermarket shoppers and the message to tradersis clear: your enterprise has the wrong image, you’re old-fashioned,second rate. we don’t value what you stand for. In short, you dirty, untidy,dangerous and uncouth and we can’t control you. You are an embarrassment to usso you’ll have to go. Records from the National Market Traders Federation show some sixty markets nation-wide either destroyed in the last few years, locked inbattle or earmarked for 'regeneration'. The pattern is becoming all toofamiliar: they decline, are blamed for their own failure and finally closeddown. In some cases extinguishment is unspoken in the original equation.In Newham in 2003, a galaxy of tiny businesses suddenly found themselvesat war with an unenlightened local mayor, a quick-return developer fromBirmingham and a Texan multi-millionaire. How can this be? Why when the povertyof the nation's eating habits is so well understood does it devolve on angryshoppers and traders fight to keep sustainable fresh food access open in anarea that stretches from Hackney to M25? Surely it is the task ofgovernment to identify the virus that is carrying off our popular food marketsand urgently adjust planning practice, or we may wake up in a landscape wherethere are only specialist and farmers' markets left? What price thendiversity, food access and Londoners’ good health?
1.Convenience shopping: Queen'sMarket is a model of convenience shopping: eighty stalls and sixty-seven localshops that have evolved together over ninety years to form an event thatbrings people regularly to Newham from Essex, Sussex and East Kent. Themarket is loved by people of all ages because it is accessible, safe and easyto shop in. Buses stop right outside and Upton Park station is adjacent. Thereis a set-down bay for the disabled at ground level and parking on the roof for150 vehicles. However, contrary to current recommendations, local mayor, SirRobin Wales, is heading doggedly in another direction. In 2003, bent on meetinghousing targets and achieving "excellence" in the management ofresources, Queen's Market was quietly put up for sale. He then selected aproperty developer with no experience of large multi-ethnic markets, whoproposed clearing the market off the 'prime trading pitch' and bringing inAsda. No matter what the mayor might claim, there is massive oppositionto this scheme, not least because there is already an Asda in Newham, 2.2miles up the road.
2.Specialist shopping'OnQueen's Market there's stuff I've never seen before.’ Jenny Linford, Guild of FoodWriters, Times Magazine 25. 6. 05 Queens Marketis also a model of specialist shopping because it caters to a majoritymulti-ethnic population, principally Asian but also African and Afro-Caribbean.There are treasures here that Fortnum and Mason would die for: hand-madesweetmeats named for Bustamante, Jamaica's first president, just 25p each androlled in icing sugar - a mix of coconut, molasses and pepper that packs a kicklike a mule. Fresh fruit and vegetables are mostly seasonal, heaps of loosedates at Ramadan, and crimson Sorrel flowers to make rum and ginger forChristmas. The market experience is one of abundance where traders returningfrom the great wholesalers create again each day for the public a theatreof food: mountains of crisp green methi, piles of round dudi, bundles of yard-long beans, twiggy longan fruit, cow-heel, Halal meat,salt-fish, fresh dates on the twig, paw-paw and mango from Pakistan,Christophene, black Kentish cherries, guava, calaloo (now locally grown) andpale green cho-cho. Press past the columns of empty boxes and you may chance onthe find of the day - turquoise nets of prime chestnuts from the Perigord,cheek by jowl with home-grown cabbages and silky white leeks. When your armsare breaking, the bill will be half to two thirds less than any supermarket andthe week's menu full of surprises.
3. “I have a vision…” Sir RobinWalesSir. Robin claims he is a man of vision, that hedreams of a complex ‘to rival Bluewater’, of a market that is‘cleaner and safer and nicer’ than the one he denigrates publicly and neveruses. A new indoor market and a big Asda will recolonise the block, reclaim itfrom the ethnic quarter. Queen's Market is situated half way up Green Street inthe Bangladeshi heartland of Newham. North of the market, Green Street isfamed for a unique stretch of tiny Asian eateries and boutiques where theatmosphere is one of bustling commerce and peaceful domesticity; south of themarket the cultural climate is very different, staked out by a famous pub andthe gigantic West Ham Football Stadium. Hard to define, it is ruff-tuff andnostalgic, a reminder of male solidarity centred on the docks and an unshakenbelief in tribal supremacy. It is possible to read into Sir Robin’s vision issues of class and race that sit ill with Newham's exciting, modern,multi-ethnic population. Sadly, democracy in Newham is not as robust as inother London boroughs. Much in this Olympic host borough is not what theMayor of Newham would like locals and outsiders to believe. The followingelucidates some of the reasons why there is a need for much greaterscrutiny. http://newhamdoublethink.blogspot.com
4.The St Modwen CV:-Unmemorablebuildings and little experience of market managementSir Robin insists the new scheme has architecturalmerit. It is he tells us first class, a landmark design, iconic even and yetthe St. Modwen portfolio contains only tame, uninspired solutions, allinstantly forgettable. There is no evidence of outstanding architecture, not awhisper of the kind off expenditure that produced Miralles and Tagliabue’ssublime Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona or of the quality build andthoughtful restoration that is the hallmark of Ken Greig’s BoroughMarket in Southwark. Besides Newham people know nearby Enfield, where StModwen's grim flagship, Edmonton Green Market is plain for all to see.Nick Kay of St. Modwen boasts it a great success, swears it is not aMarket-in-a-Mall. Yet the place is stone dead, the mezzanine void with only aforlorn scattering of customers below on a busy Friday afternoon. The cycle ofclosures, hiked maintenance, rogue bills for sundries and repairs to the roofare agony in the ears of Queen's Market traders. Poor Edmonton Green isan unhappy non-entity the antithesis of our rambunctious, freewheelingbazaar … it certainly appears to be heading for closure. Already in Newhamanxiety is rife about the allocation of pitches because the new convolutedlayout does not allow for free circulation. Letters from the Council's propertyagent, in arcane English, threatening fines for fictitious transgressionshave been issued to men and women who are bilingual in spoken but not writtenEnglish. The shops are told rents will be three and four times the current ratewhich for most is out of the question. Even long established families withresources, who accept pitches and ride out disruption will failwhen Asda opens. What defence has a market-stall against the mighty Asda weaponof indefinite, targeted undercutting?
5.The St.Modwen ProposalTheregeneration proposal is for the sale by the London Borough of Newham ofQueen's Market to St. Modwen, complete with shops, a pub and a tower block ofsheltered housing for elderly Asian residents, on an 150 year lease for adevelopment valued at around £65 million pounds. It hinges on pullingdown the market in order to build a two-floor, 46,000square metre AsdaSuperstore, a block of 220 one and two bedroom flats, a library, a pub, aninformation-centre and a replacement indoor market in the form of aMarket-in-a-Mall. Currently 320 parking spaces are proposed for all retailaccess with parking adjacent to or above the Asda Foodstore. To reach themarket at ground level from the car-parks will involve obstacles includinglifts and travelators, the curse of mothers with buggies, the elderly and theinfirm. Plans have been tweaked in order to validate 'consultation' but remainconceptual. (Pleasenote that things have now changed and the number of dwellingshas risen to a staggering370! The pub is to be erased and Property Week is now referring to this as a£90 million development.)
6.A space ideally suited to purpose?Queen'sMarket dates back to a statute of 1911 and moved to its presentlocationin the late 1960s where although covered by a high roof, the area on which itstands is still classified as a licensed street. The age-old pattern of shopsfacing inwards with the stalls spread out in between is sociable for thetraders and customer friendly. We have taken professional advice on the fabricof Queen's Market, which the mayor claims is defective in design and full ofnooks and crannies which foster criminal activity. Apparently the simple box-like form and spacious linear lay-out is ideally suited to purpose, elegantin its simplicity and furthermore inexpensive to maintain. There is not anook to be found in the structure and the police have advised us the area is nobetter or worse at night than elsewhere in the borough. They share ourview that once declassified as a highway, malicious accusations could bescotched at little cost forever. They police went still further. Their view is that Queen's Market provides and indispensable service to the communityand they wish us well.
7.Recipe: how to kill a market The Mayortrumpets 300 new jobs at Asda, stacking shelves sixteen hours a week. But mostof the shopkeepers and their employees likely to lose their jobs will beAsian heads of households, breadwinners supporting non-working females,elderly relations and children. All stall-holders will be allotted pitches but these will be smaller, many estranged from their shops, in awinding trading space that is no longer permeable. Without vehicle access frontand back traders will no longer be able to shift the present 10 tonnes of fruitand veg. a day and as turnover drops, prices will be forced up to a point thatthe customer base can not bear. In the new enclosure, spreading out fresh goodsto meet the Asian, African and West Indian style of shopping will berestricted. A more perfect recipe for setting in motion the running down of anethnic market it would be hard to devise.
8.Financial matters Themarket stalls have licenses, the shops and kiosks leases. Under the terms ofthe licence the council may not make a profit on the stall, the shops howevergenerate £240,000 profit per annum.. This is allocated to the Commercial andIndustrial account which covers all Newham commercial properties. Withoutaccess to the complete budget statement it is impossible to ascertain wherethere has been investment if any. We have called for a proper reinvestmentprogramme beginning with the repatriation of the past year’s profit for urgentrepairs and maintenance.
9.Street-market price not Asda price Despiteshocking working conditions and without a market inspector for many years,Queen's Market is a roaring commercial success. Prices here are among thelowest in the capital - we're talking one fat head of garlic for 5p againstAsda's 45p, Nous pears at 48p per kilo to Asda's £1.O6 when plantain is 39p perkilo when Asda is charging £1.09. Described by James Fergusson,author of, 'Kandahar Cockney', as 'one of London's best kept secrets – anextraordinary shopping experience' the diversity of goods available,especially fresh food, mirrors Newham's multi-ethnic population: some of thewhite families have worked the market for five generations, newcomers are firstand second generation migrants from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean for whom themarket meant a toe-hold in commerce in a strange land. While the hundreds ofthousands of people who flock to Queen's Market weekly cannot conceive of lifehere without it and value this rich and complex identity, theWales/Modwen/Wal-Mart solution deliberately edits this out.
10.Queen's Marketfor healthy eating Sir Robinassociates himself prominently with health initiatives and indeed levels ofheart disease, juvenile obesity and tooth-decay in Newham are among the highestin Britain. Yet his concern does not extend to promoting the most easterly sourceof good quality, fresh food in London, Newham has the second highestunemployment rate in London: the need for a second Asda, trading in convenienceand processed food and token vegetables and fruit at double, in some casestreble the market's prices, is nil. Evidence shows that within two years a newsupermarket will start to extinguish local businesses.
11.The Newham FoodAccess Project Newham ishome to some of the poorest people in the capital yet as far as the councilgoes, Queen's Market is invisible: traders were rebuffed when they volunteeredfor the Newham Food Access Project, a remedial programme that delivers freshaffordable fruit and vegetables to Newham's Food Deserts (derelict estates withnot a corner shop left). The Newham team which is the most dedicated,successful and widely quoted in the capital have just drawn up their latestreport which naturally recommends support for markets. But where is theremention of the only genuine market left in the Borough? Once again Queen’s Marketwhile providing supreme food access, is the absent guest. This anomaly callsfor tactful probing.
12.Culturalcleansing It is notonly the market's link with our health that Sir Robin chooses to ignore. Thesurvival of Queen's market in its present form is as Benjamin Zephaniahsays, “it's not just about money, it's about culture, and our culture ispriceles”. As a social space the market is unique because it bringstogether Jew and Christian, Muslim and Hindu in an unself-conscious sharedactivity. Described recently Times Magazine, by food writer, JennyLinford as '… the world on a plate', Queen's Market is also a magnetfor food-buffs, anyone who values home cooking and the ritual of family meals.It requires great skill to buy fresh ingredients, judging variety, ripeness andflavour not from a label, but by sight, touch and smell. Most of Newham'scitizens possess a level of culinary know-how that is largely lost to theresidual white population, not least through the gradual erosion of our markets.Queen's Market keeps these precious traditions alive.
13.TheTELCO Citizens’ Inquiry Publicconsultation by Newham council has been consistently dishonourable. Thefeasibility study in 2000, showed only 3% wanted a supermarket but themayor steamed ahead and this figure has never been circulated. When news of thedevelopment broke it was met by a storm. FoQM pressed for an independent surveyto which they would be party, and with this proviso agreed to Mori. Butthe chef executive reneged and the resulting questionnaire was so misleadingthat it failed to tell the respondent that the scheme involved the sale of themarket and pulling it down. Of Asda there was not so much as a whisper.The bias was picked up a year later by the TELCO Enquiry, whoseresearch involving 5,000 interviews could find only 'deep mistrust'and 'almost no enthusiasm for the scheme'. So damming are these findings thatthere has been no report by the Newham Recorder, leaving a worryingsuspicion that the editor was leaned on. Small wonder: How can Sir Robinexplain the gulf between TELCO’s nil endorsement and his claim that 51%support the scheme? Friends of Queen’s Market have been consistentlydenigrated as a band of petty, backward-looking trouble-makers and a petitionof 12,000 from the customers, never acknowledged. Mori’s summary, that79% like to shop in the market as it is has been suppressed, debatebanned in the chamber by written injunction and free speech interfered with inthe community forum. The result of St Modwen’s own public consultationhave never been published, leaving little doubt that they wereunfavourable.
14.Semantic slips and marketcategoriesA letter from Ken Livingstone to Jenny Jones, GreenParty Member of the GLA, dated 24.10.05 shows that in a pre-planning exchange,Newham informed the GLA that the market is being retained. Thisstatement is not true. Reiterated constantly by Sir Robin it is verymisleading. While he may truthfully claim that a market is beingretained in the scheme he is not in any sense retaining the market whicheveryone knows and loves.. The character of a market is very much influenced byits location which can range from the open street to a purpose built markethall. Most traditional indoor markets have a simple rectangular footprint, likean extension of the street, which allows the customer to mingle at will and thetrader to deliver almost to the stall. The type proposed for the new Queen’sMarket has been dubbed by the prize-winning architect, Will Allsop, a“Market-in-a-Mall”, the priorities of which are ease of management, extendingdwell-time and controlling footfall. To maximise retail space there may be amezzanine or the entire market can find itself on the first floor. Tooexpensive for a popular market, in regeneration circles this model has beenlargely discredited. EdmontonGreen Market barely qualifies as such and is not what John Prescott or KenLivingstone had in mind. Perhaps a profile should be made by a strictly promarket organisations, whenever they form part of any planing proposal.Developers should not be permitted to substitute one kind of market foranother. Because the traditional street market has no overheads it remains thecheapest which is why in Newham we need to retain the present market in it’scurrent location and see it properly managed and updated.
15.A question ofcompetence The mayor's intentions run counter to the existing culture and demography ofNewham. Nothing suggests that he or any of his councillors had a look atSt Modwen's work before appointing them. We feel that before imposing suchsweeping change on the community the developer's claim to have had'considerable experience' of markets would have been examined had Sir Robinseriously had the welfare of ordinary people at heart.. Neither he, thecouncil, the executives or the developer have displayed anyknowledge or interest in other major markets in London still less the manysplendid models in Europe. It appears that Sir. Robin misjudged the depth ofaffection for Queen's Market and never expected to have to justify hisdecision. We believe he is driven by financial motives and personalambition at cost to an already underprivileged community. Edmonton Greenclearly illustrates St Modwen’s failure to manage even the smallestof markets. No one believes for a moment that the interests of the people areat heart. RobinWales should admit to a case of seriously bad judgement and drop theregeneration partnership forthwith.
16.Restoration andModernisation InDecember 2005, FoQM published their own proposal, 'Towards aForward-looking Traditional Market' to demonstrate that the executive'sestimate for refurbishment, of £6 million, was grossly inflated and thatincremental restoration has always been the most desirable option. Queen'sMarket does not need a new floor and forecourt - these are as serviceablehere as at Borough or the Rialto. It needs a modest capital sum to power-hoseand redecorate and an instant programme, as at Bradford under Malcom Veigas, ofre-investment of profits. Above all it needs dynamic management and a boardincluding representatives from the traders and shoppers and possibletrust status. We would advocate a symposium to gather together marketexpertise. A list of essential improvements could then be established including repairs to the roof and lighting, new lavatories with attendants,proper cleansing, lifts, increased parking, modernisation of thebackrooms and possible gating at night. With possible sponsorship from Europe,we would re-open the competition for tender and funders with 'expressions ofinterest', an architectural competition launchthat would accord esteem to themarket and everyone working there. The brief would be for a canopy to protectthe traders who front the gaff in the open, with a solar roof designed toproduce the energy to light the interior. Finally, if the Parks Departmentcould be persuaded to plant fruit bearing trees and vines in theforecourt, Queen’s Market could claim to have kicked off the ‘Greening of GreenStreet’.
17.Expanding the role of the market Byencouraging Queen’s Market to develop a potential that Asda will never have,its role in food access could be extended into education, liveability’and the arts. There is ample space in the market for an out-reach classroom tofoster the skills needed to shop in a market, for demonstrations and cookeryclasses to teach youngsters how to make nourishing, inexpensive family mealsand exchange culinary cultures from all over the world. There would also be anopportunity to study links between diet and health and learn about trade routesand the environmental impact of food production and distribution. Apartnership could be forged with the city farm for the disposal of organicwaste. In pride of place, a semi-transparent machine to display the process ofre-cycling card, paper and plastics for the entertainment of shoppers could seta recycling standard for Newham and maybe London. FoQMwould like to see an east-west loop as part of the new Sustrans cycle-trackwhich would give direct access to the banks of the River Lea for Newhamyoungsters who grow up in surroundings of brick and concrete. South ofStratford, Newham has no dedicated space for the performing arts. A drop-downsilver screen showing stand-and-watch Bollywood shorts, theatre and danceworkshops and outreach performances would make good use of the empty marketspace. A temporary ice-skating rink could be set up to mark the New Yearfollowed by a skateboard event at midsummer.
18.Queen’s Market,top Visitor-destination in new Thames Gateway Queen'sMarket is already a superb source of fresh food and everything else besides. Itfeatures in leading tourist guides and appears prominently in several books onLondon Food. Described recently by an enthusiastic visitor as, 'theclosest thing to a souk this side of Paris', it already attracts visitors from New Zealand to Montreal. Developed intelligently, allowed toexpand in its own way it could not fail to become one of the mostcompelling features of the Thames Gateway, unique in London, unique in UKand unique in Europe. Unlike Asda. 19. NewQueen's Market?St Modwenand Newham council make great play of the supposed support for theircontroversial scheme. The following website http://www.newqueensmarket.co.ukmakes for fascinating reading, particularly with regard to what it chooses notto tell the reader. Reference is made to the National Market Traders'Federation and yet only 10% of the market traders at Queen's Market are membersand those are largely white traders. A traders group called the Queen's MarketTraders' Association is mentioned, yet many traders are unaware of what thisis, when or if they meet and what there connections are with St Modwen. Alongwith cropped images, the website seems unwilling to acknowledge Queen'sMarket's uniques status as London's most ethnically diverse market.Forfurther information contact: Saif Osmani, email@example.com [i]Thethreat to Queen's Market is not unique: the number of traditional Englishmarkets damaged by crass schemes of regeneration is still rising. Mostrecently, Lincoln, Droitwich, Stalybridge and Green Market Newcastle havevanished; Sleaford, Accrington, Redditch, Wythenshawe, Wrexham, Birmingham,Gloucester, Carmarthen, Poole, Paddy's Market in Liverpool, Arndale inManchester and St. John's Blackpool are in freefall. Markets in line forregeneration include Blackburn, Preston, Ellesmere Port, Morpeth, Wakefield,Spitalfields, Queen's Market Newham, Elephant & Castle and possiblyWoolwich. A number of markets are being turned around by enlightened authorities and have started to flourish.Our stance has the support of the New EconomicsFoundation & Common Ground . We expect the results of the all-party inquiryas well as the Office of Fair Trading into the impact of supermarkets on thesmall retailer, to endorse it further. We look forward also to supportfrom the findings of the Open University, currently conducting research into,Markets as Social Spaces for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Ignoredby Newham council, traders and shoppers take their case to City Hall.NationalAssociation of British Market Authoritieshttp://www.nabma.com
GLA London's Street Markets report (January 2008) writing of Barking Market -"The key to the market's success is promotion and a large 'open door'policy (casual traders are welcomed)"Typicallyneither of these things are done by Newham CouncilThingsare afoot