Broadway Market traders fear ‘race track’ cycling event

Broadway Market traders protest road closure

Broadway Market traders are protesting over the road closure. Photograph: Berny Torre

Market traders are up in arms over road closures taking place as part of a bicycle-friendly event tomorrow.

Stallholders in Broadway Market assembled there later today to voice their fears that the one day experiment will harm their takings and turn the area into a “race track” for wannabe Bradley Wiggens’es.

Trevor Parsons, coordinator of the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney, said only “absolute fools” would ride through the market itself, adding that this was always closed to traffic in any case.

He said: “I think we should also be focusing on what the purpose of the experiment is, which is to try and look for a solution to the approximately 3,000 private motor vehicles which cut through the area to get from the A10 to the A107 every day. These vehicles bring no prosperity to this immediate area, but they do bring road danger and air pollution to the residents.”

The car-free day is part of Europe wide project aimed at highlighting the problems caused by motor traffic, and two wheelers will be able to pedal across Cat and Mutton Bridge, which crosses the Regent’s Canal just south of Broadway Market, tomorrow (Saturday) without fear of being encroached upon by cars.

But Andrew Veitch of Broadway Market Projects said signs and barriers barring vehicles from roads adjoining Broadway Market might make the area appear off limits to shoppers.

Mr Veitch said: “We have already had extensive road works, the Olympics and the recession. We can’t afford to have barriers discouraging people coming to the market.”

He said there had not been adequate consultation about the move, adding: “They’ve done this without coming along to businesses and saying, this is what we want to do, what do you think about it, guv? They’ve just done it, which I think is immoral.”

Bar owner Stephen Selby said the event was “the thin end of the wedge” and could lead to the street becoming a “race track”.

Some traders have said they were given notice of the event just one week in advance.

They have suggested signage erected in the area may have given passers-by the impression that the market is closed.

Conservative London Assembly Member Andrew Boff, who lives just off Broadway Market, even went so far as to deface the signs with his own notice telling people the market was open.

Athena Duncan, from Rebel Rebel florist, said she supported car-free day, but that little thought had been given to the signage.

Mr Parsons stressed deliveries will be operating as normal, adding that the car-free initiative had been jointly promoted by Hackney Living Streets and supported by residents of the nearby Whiston and Goldsmith Estate.

Though initiated by the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney, the event was rubberstamped by Hackney Council.

Town Hall neighbourhoods chief Councillor Feryal Demirci said: “Hackney Council received an application from the London Cycling Campaign for a temporary traffic order for a one-day event on the Cat and Mutton Bridge, next to Broadway Market, to celebrate European Mobility Week.

“The Council has approved this application. 95% of visitors to the shops and stalls in this area come by public transport, walk or cycle with only 5% of visitors to Broadway Market travelling there by car.  Access to the area will still be maintained via routes such as Mare Street, Richmond Road and Queensbridge Road.

The proposed event is not part of a long-term plan to change the access arrangements and traders and market stall holders will be exempted from this weekend’s closure arrangements.”


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