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Chatsworth Road Market faces uncertain future

vegan peasant chatsworth road market

Adrian Smith and Diana Pinkett at their Vegan Peasant stall on Chatsworth Road Market. Photograph: Marta Wlusek

The future of Chatsworth Road Market hangs in the balance following a consultation amongst residents and traders as to whether the weekly Sunday event is to be made permanent.

The consultation will also help decide whether or not the number of stalls should be increased from 40 to 90.

Speaking to the Hackney Citizen about the likely outcome of the consultation by Hackney Council, Euan Mills, chair of the Chatsworth Road Traders and Residents Association (CRTRA), said it was reportedly a “close call.”

Mills said: “We had one resident who was concerned about the noise the market makes sometimes, so we’ve been trying to keep it down, even though it does start quite late (11am).”

A few weeks ago, a ‘Save Our Sundays’ banner was displayed outside a local flat, and anti-market leaflets were handed out at Homerton station.

But not everyone is against the market. Local resident Kaye Annette Mannion said: “I love the market and I’ve always loved it being here. It was a terrible shame when it originally closed down, and since it’s opened up it’s even better. I have lived here all my life, and I would be really upset to see the market go again.”

Leon Sendzikas, owner of the Firefly Books stall, said: “What the council needs to focus on is making it clear to the people in this street that it’s an opportunity for them. We have monthly meetings, which anyone is welcome to attend. I think people feel excluded, but they’re far from excluded, and they need to be made to feel that.”

He does, however, understand the objections. “When you compare it to other working markets in London, the market does need to be more diverse. But I am fully in support of it – my dad’s from just round the corner, so we’ve been using the market on and off for about eighty years. Keeping it local and staying away from supermarkets can only be a good thing, and it’s good for the shop owners as well, not just the market.”

Some local businesses have come out in favour of the market. Hasan Aytemir, owner of Whitbread Off Licence, said: “With the market it’s better, more people now come shopping here.”

Gaź at Star Discount Store, however, told us the market doesn’t affect business either way. “With the market people cannot park on the main road, and some stalls do the same things we do. But it is bringing in more people, so generally it is fine,” he said.

Ian Willingham mans the cheese stall, Dark Knights of Cholesterol. He said: “We have regulars who are interested in learning about the cheese and its heritage, and it’s fun for them. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it, and the people who come to the market share that passion.”

He told the Hackney Citizen the criticism is a form of scapegoating: “The prices in the area are going up, but that’s more to do with larger things like estate agents and housing – blaming the market is misguided. If there are issues about noise and parking we will address them, but the market is generally a good thing for the area. I really enjoy working here and my customers enjoy coming, so everyone’s happy.”

The council selects which stalls go on the market, which according to some locals needs more stands selling fish and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, has previously said markets like Chatsworth Road “need our support in order for them to continue to thrive,” and that they “add to the vibrancy of our borough.”

For more information go to Chatsworth Road Market.

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