by Else Kvist, Reporter
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
A stallholder unable to return to his spot outside Stratford Station after the Olympics says he was misled by Newham Council.
Eddy Atoche, 38, who has been serving coffees in Stratford for 10 years, had to vacate his pitch in Meridian Square to make way for visitors to the Olympics.
He says the council promised he could return after the Games, but Transport for London since deemed it unsafe to have stallholders on the square because of the heavy footfall.
Instead the council allocated Eddy a spot on the small square opposite Stratford Library in The Grove.
But the location did not prove favorable and he was relocated to outside the entrance of the old shopping centre, near Starbucks.
Eddy said: “I think it’s hypocritical of the council after all the promises they gave me.
“They could easily accommodate some local traders on the square.
“They even consulted stallholders on plans for a fixed kiosk on the square, which they said could provide visitors information during the Olympics and be used for something different afterwards to the benefit of stallholders – but the plans never materialised.
“If there was room for the kiosk then why is there not room for us on the square.”
His livelihood is now as stake, he says, as he has lost around 80 per cent of his trade and only has £20-30 to live on per day after the costs of running his stall. He had to let a young woman who was working on the stall with him go.
Eddy said: “Outside the station was ideal as most of my customers were people grabbing a coffee on their way to work. How do I stand a chance next to Starbucks?”
It is understood another stallholder with a burger van and flower stall is currently in a legal dispute in a bid to remain on the square.
A council spokeswoman said they have been working very hard to find a suitable location for Eddy.
She said: “We have made several offers of potential pitches to him and discussions are ongoing. We continue to work with him and hope to come a long term solution soon which he is happy with.”