Paul Smith

Costermonger Paul Smith. Photograph: Stephen McGrath

New awnings in Ridley Road Market have brought mixed blessings for traders who feel the council should instead prioritise making parking cheaper in the run up to Christmas.

They were installed along with new signage in an attempt to smarten up the bustling Dalston street, but some traders have reported the awnings have been leaking.

One trader, the owner of PM Prime Fish, said: “I’m not happy with the new awning, because when it rains, water comes inside the shop. My old awning was better.”

He said the shop had been forced to close for five days while the awning was fitted and had lost customers during this time.

He said: “The main thing they have to sort out is the parking, it’s very expensive. Customers will spend £2-3, but they have to spend that amount on parking.

“The council needs to make parking cheaper”

Peter Stear, who runs a fruit and veg stall, said: “I think the new signs look very good. They clean the market up.”

But he added: “The biggest problem down here is the parking, customers pay £2 for half an hour, and if they go over it they get a £60 fine.

“People will go to supermarkets where they can park for free”

Another shop owner, costermonger Paul Smith, said Hackney Council should arrange free parking for market customers between 10am-2pm on Saturdays, adding that business in the market was currently ‘terrible’.

Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Replacing the canopies in Ridley Road Market and improving shopfronts is just a small part of a wide range of improvements to make the market a more attractive and welcoming place to shop.

“We work hard to support traders but unfortunately many of the shops had canopies which were too big, breaching national safety guidelines and obstructing shoppers. Rather than simply order the traders to remove them, we provided them with new canopies free of charge which brighten the appearance of the market. This was funded jointly by the council and Covered Markets who own the units.

“The new canopies are from a reputable local supplier and are of high quality, being both waterproof and able to withstand high winds. Because of the old fittings on the shopfronts, some of the canopies did not seal properly when initially fitted. When these incidences are identified during heavy rain our contractors return to the site to address the issue and help prevent future leaks.”

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