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Anti-terror measures at Hackney markets are creating health and safety issues, says Ridley Road manager

PUBLISHED: 17:20 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:12 25 January 2019

The anti-terror trees at the end of Ridley Road Market. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

The anti-terror trees at the end of Ridley Road Market. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Archant

Anti-terror measures have been installed across Hackney's markets - but the manager of Ridley Road says they are creating their own issues.

The anti-terror trees at the end of Ridley Road Market. Picture: Ramzy AlwakeelThe anti-terror trees at the end of Ridley Road Market. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Following the attacks in Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park last year, Hackney Council acted on police advice to make street markets and public spaces safer from vehicle attacks.

As a result, trees in hefty wooden planters have been placed at the top of the historic Ridley Road Market while permanent fixtures are considered.

But Larry Julian, who represents traders, says they are too close together and get used as bins and even toilets.

“They are just horrendous,” he said. “An anti-terror security firm came in a couple of months ago and now these temporary planters have gone in. But it’s the way they’ve done it. We had an agreement there would be a two=metre gap so we could get people through. But they’ve put them in totally wrong.

“People can’t come in now with wheelchairs and prams.

“People are parking their bikes against them, urinating up them, putting rubbish in them. In the morning they are full of rubbish. I’ve even seen a couple of people being sick in them.

“I’m not opposed to the barriers – they could prevent a terrorist attack. But they are a health and safety issue. People can’t squeeze through and it’s causing arguments.”

A town hall source suggested the reason the planters were making the market inaccessible was because traders were moving them so delivery vans could still access the market. Deliveries are now meant to be made from the other end. The permanent fixtures will not be able to moved.

Hackney’s markets chief Cllr Guy Nicholson: “After the terrible extremist attacks on Londoners and visitors to our city, councils across London were advised by the Met to review all public safety measures at street markets and other busy public spaces.

“In response to this instruction we put in place various temporary safety measures while security experts completed a full assessment. A number of recommendations have now been made by the security experts and these are being commissioned for installation over the coming year.”

A large van is at present parked across the end of Broadway Market on Saturdays. The council has so far been unable to permanently block it off because it functions as a road the rest of the time.

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