East Ham butchers facing the chop after council clampdown

It has been a fixture of East Ham for more than two decades but a family butchers’ reckons it now faces the chop.

The Fresh Meat Market in High Street North has fallen victim to a Newham Council clampdown on objects “cluttering the pavement” and has been ordered to remove its outside meat refrigerators.

Owner Ken Preece says this is certain to hit passing trade. He says he will have to lay off at least two members of staff and reconsider renewing his lease when it is up in January.

He said: “I have had this shop for more than 20 years and I’ve always had refrigerators outside containing meat

“They did the same thing about two years ago and I lost about a third of my trade. They let me put them back a few weeks later and we got the customers back.

“We are a part of the community, the last English butchers in the High Street. I don’t see how we are doing any harm.”

Fresh Meat Market employs a team of five people, including manager Steve Boyce and Mr Preece’s son Ricky.

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If the store refuses to remove the units it faces the prospect of a maximum �150 fine.

Mr Preece added: “I have lived here all my life and I was hoping that my son would take on the business for me. We’ve survived a lot.

“That’s not going to happen if I don’t renew the lease.”

A Newham Council spokesman said its officers have been advising businesses about obstructions cluttering the pavement.

He said: “If a shop has a forecourt which is part of their property, they are permitted to use this area to trade.

“Some shops do not have a forecourt and are unlawfully trading on the street so we have spoken to them and advised if they do not remove various obstructions, we will carry out enforcement action.

“Our enforcement team has issued a fixed penalty notice to Fresh Meat Market after the owner was asked repeatedly to bring his fridges inside but failed to do so.

“We have been working hard to make East Ham High Street a pleasant place to shop for businesses and residents and the majority of responses about the improvements have been positive.”