Francophone: Cllr Guy Nicholson

Zut alors! Francophone Cllr Guy Nicholson

Kingsland Waste Market could be rebooted as a “brocante”, the councillor in charge of regeneration in Hackney has suggested.

Councillor Guy Nicholson, whose brief covers planning, business and investment, used the French word during what was billed as an “extraordinary” council meeting.

He told colleagues last night that his “starter for 10” involved giving the general goods market an encore as a version of a French flea market.

Kingsland High Street, just south of the far busier Ridley Road Market, started life as a tool market one hundred years ago.

It was once very lively but has in recent years dwindled to the point where it is virtually non-existent.

Cllr Nicholson announced to colleagues: “It is our ambition to restart Kingsland Waste Market and to actually get a new market back on its feet again in our borough.”

He added: “Kingsland Waste has had markets in the past, and it has over the years declined quite significantly and quite profoundly.

“On that basis, the intention is to come forward over the coming year to actually explore what a new Kingsland Waste Market would look like, what it would do.

“So on that basis I think perhaps, as a starter for 10, it might be worth thinking about, perhaps, Kingsland Waste as Hackney’s future ‘brocante’.

“If we were French we would call it a ‘brocante’, a flea market, perhaps.

“Now, I’ve put that down as a starter for 10. I’m sure everybody in this chamber will have a different view and a different idea about what the future of Kingsland Waste Market could be.”

A flea market in Paris. Photograph: Demeester/Creative Commons

A flea market in Paris. Photograph: Demeester/Creative Commons

Brocante markets exist all over France and tend to sell bric-a-brac, antiques, rugs, glassware and the like.

Cllr Nicholson’s remarks came after he was asked by Cllr James Peters about the Kingsland Waste Market’s unhappy “downturn in fortunes”.

“C’est miserable,” the French might say.

Cllr Nicholson admitted the issue of “what’s happening to the future of our markets” was an area “where passions have bubbled to the surface” (à la Marseillaise?).

Last year stallholders from Kingsland Waste spoke out after being told their licences would no longer be renewed, and protested outside the Town Hall against the loss of “affordable” markets and what they claimed was the council’s tendency to favour pricier artisanal-type markets and street food markets.

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