Traders demand ‘genuine’ consultation over Queen’s Market makeover proposals
PUBLISHED: 11:58 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:06 07 September 2020
Traders have slammed a consultation on plans to transform a market for not being made public enough.
Queen’s Market in Upton Park is in line for a spruce up after scooping a share of a £4.1million pot from Newham Council and the mayor of London.
Ideas on how to spend it include new lighting, flooring, toilets and wifi as well as artwork on a rear wall.
But traders and supporters including the Friends of Queen’s Market say a consultation beginning on August 24 and due to end on September 18 has not been publicised enough and leaves people little time to comment.
Friends of Queen’s Market coordinator, Saif Osmani, said: “Notices were given out in the market in the last week of August directing customers to a website where they can ‘vote’ and comment.
“And now there is a big notice in the window of Green Street library. But people still have not been given enough time to respond to the consultation which is taking place in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic in a badly-hit borough.”
A Newham Council spokesperson said the proposals are linked to funding awarded to the council by the GLA which has to be spent within a certain time.
The money represents the “most significant” investment in the market “in a generation”, she added.
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The consultation options were developed following discussions with traders and neighbours from 2019. The town hall has advertised the consultation using posters, chats with traders and online with details in Bengali, Gujarati, Urdu and English.
Rozina Iqbal from Friends of Queen’s Market, said: “Favoured Stratford residents get till October to comment on the Stratford masterplan. We demand the same end date, October 27.”
The council spokesperson said: “The Queen’s Market consultation is completely different to the Stratford masterplan process, which is for the entire area of Stratford town centre and therefore larger in scale and complexity.”
Traders want to meet in person too, rather than online.
Retailer, Altaf Patni, who runs a fabrics business, said the website is not easy to navigate.
Fruit trader, Ron Hoadley, added: “I was on holiday when they gave out the notices. I only heard today with just two weeks till consultation ends. My customers didn’t know. This really is unfair.”
And haberdashery businessman, Ashok Kaul, said: “Traders need a greater say.”
Newham’s spokesperson said lockdown paused conversations about the ideas, with online meetings planned because of the need for social distancing. A freephone number and email has been provided too.
Pauline Rowe from Friends of Queen’s Market said: “The future of the market matters to us all.”
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