A council survey asking how Ridley Road Market can be improved has led locals to voice concerns over gentrification.
The survey was sent out to residents and traders within half a kilometre of the thoroughfare and includes questions such as ‘How satisfied are you with Ridley Road Market?’ and ‘What would encourage you to visit the market more often?’.
But the questionnaire faced a backlash on social media, with the owners of Hackney Central café Pacific Social Club calling it a “sure sign that those lovely developer lads are planning a new bit of progress down our favourite little street”.
The Town Hall sent the same survey out for five other markets – Broadway, Chatsworth, Well Street, Hoxton Street and Kingsland Waste – but said none of them are “under threat”.
A spokesperson said the council wants residents to help it develop an “individual business plan” for each market, which could include “new stalls, more traders and new signage”.
Ridley Road resident Katrina Berry said in an Instagram post: “Hmmmmm. Survey from Hackney Council about Ridley Road Market through the door this morning. Don’t you dare get rid of this gem in the name of gentrification.
“Sixteen years of living in this wonderfully diverse neighbourhood has been fed by the fruit and veg of Ridley Road and when things started getting trendy and tarted up in 2008 I always said that if Ridley Road and the Turkish restaurants go, I go.”
A user called seakermusic replied: “Got the same one and feel the same! If that market goes it will be a sad, sad day.”
Pacific Social Club echoed their concerns on its Facebook page: “Hackney Council has started a consultation process about the future of Ridley Road Market, which is a sure sign that those lovely developer lads are planning a new bit of progress down our favourite little street.
“Please fill in this very quick survey and give a little love to our market and traders. I know we all really need sourdough pizzas and oat flat whites and all but a full, family weekly fruit and veg shop for the same price as one pizza gets our vote.”
A spokesperson for Hackney Council said: “We are surveying market traders, local businesses and residents living within a half-kilometre radius of all of our markets, not just Ridley Road, as part of our Markets Strategy.
“The aim is to gather feedback from the residents about what they are looking for in a local market – we will collate all the responses and work with each market to develop individual business plans. Improvements could be things like new stalls, more traders, new signage, marketing to get more customers etc.
“Ridley Road Market is not under threat, we want it to grow and thrive as we do all our markets.”
An upcoming exhibition by local illustrator and campaigner Lucinda Rogers, called On Gentrification, explores the changing face of Ridley Road Market.
Year 5 pupils from nearby Princess May primary school are also embarking on an art project in November which will see them illustrate their thoughts on Ridley Road./ 25 October, 2017