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Historic Hackney market is ‘unofficial car park’ for council workers and commuters

PUBLISHED: 17:18 26 August 2011

Well Street parking.

Well Street parking.

Archant

Council workers and commuters are stifling one of Hackney’s oldest street markets by parking in stallholders’ bays, residents and traders say.

Motorists are leaving their cars for long periods of time for free in Well Street Market – where Jack Cohen famously founded Tesco in 1919 - in spaces hired out by the council to street sellers such as grocers and florists.

Campaigners from Well St Traders and Residents Association (WESTRA) are hoping to relaunch the struggling market in September with a fun day to boost business.

But they fear the parking problem could kill the market first.

Ian Rathbone, Leabridge ward councillor and secretary of WESTRA, said the group had called for one hour waiting restrictions and proper signs, which were promised by the town hall last November.

But a council spokeswoman told the Gazette the improvements may not be in place until the end of this year.

“This is a big issue that could be solved really easily. Shopkeepers and stallholders are desperate,” said Cllr Rathbone.

“All this is being noticed and talked about by so many people – it looks like the council does not care about the street or its market or anything said or done to try and work with the council.”

Residents living nearby are also frustrated with what has become known as ‘Well Street car park’.

Stay at home dad Delroy Brown, 47, of Victoria Park Road, said: “I’ve lived in Hackney all my life and have just watched the market die. Well Street Market one of the closest business sites in Hackney to the Olympic Park but it’s currently an unofficial car park for the council. It just doesn’t make sense.”

The spokeswoman for the council said it would work with WESTRA to make improvements and hoped to begin a consultation on plans for controlled parking in the area in September.

“We know there are many challenges ahead but better parking management and forthcoming investment in Hackney markets including Well Street will be a step toward achieving towards revitalising the market,” she said.

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