Gazette letters: Hoxton market, rail fare freeze and rethinking post election

Hoxton Market on Saturday, January 4. Picture: CLLRS RATHBONE/NICHOLSON

Hoxton Market on Saturday, January 4. Picture: CLLRS RATHBONE/NICHOLSON - Credit: Archant

We’re writing in response to the letter in the December 19 edition ‘What about the future of Hoxton Market? The answer is – it’s looking good, write Cllr Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for markets and Cllr Ian Rathbone, markets champion.

Take a look at the photo from last Saturday's market (January 4), when it was cold and maybe you would not expect many stalls or customers but trade soon warmed up with more than 30 stalls trading. Last summer there were more than 50 stalls regularly trading, a 10 per cent increase in 2018/19 on the previous year.

Already in the year so far 2019/20, the weekday market is trading at a five per cent increase on last year.

It is true that the market was struggling but in the last few years it has successfully reversed this trend. Led by traders working with the council's markets team, Hoxton market is now thriving. The weekday food market has grown significantly in the last 18 months.

Last year the service introduced a winter discount to support traders in Hoxton and saw a significant improvement in trader numbers on the previous winter months and this discount is in place again this year to further support the market and traders.

Local ward councillors have been running a campaign to make sure that as the street changes and construction works on new buildings temporarily disrupt the street, the street remains open for business and a popular destination so traders aren't left struggling for customers.

Hoxton market has a great general market offer. An offer that is recognised by customers and promoted by the council. It's a market filled with traditional stalls selling fruit and veg, clothing, shoes and household goods. There are currently no plans to extend trading to a Sunday.

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The good news is our local markets are also thriving because more of us are using them - but the more we shop online the less we spend in our local economy.

So join us in our New Year resolution to do a bit less shopping online and a bit more shopping in your local street market. It's better value, a lot more fun and you are supporting quality independent retailers. What more could you ask for from 2020!

Local people have quite rightly lost patience with continuous rail fare hikes, particularly when many have seen little to no improvement of their services, writes Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly Member for North East (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest).

The burden on peoples' pockets could surely be lessened, and services improved, if privately operated metro services are devolved into the more capable hands of TfL.

You need only to look at City Hall's decision to freeze TfL fares for the fourth-year running to know that rail devolution could make life that little bit more affordable for London's beleaguered commuters. Single pay as you go fares and paper single tickets on Tube, London Overground and Docklands Light Rail services remain as they did in 2016. So too ticket prices for buses and trams, for Santander Cycle hire and for the Emirates Air Line. Unfortunately, City Hall does not have power to freeze fares on travelcards, because those prices have to be set in agreement with train operating companies and the government.

By the end of next year, this freeze will have saved each London household on average £200, providing a helping hand to those hit by the ever-rising costs of living and the lasting impacts of chronic austerity.

I write further to my previous letter on the recent election because everything has changed, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

Two things in particular stand out. The first is loading private companies up with debt so that the private owners can sell their assets to enrich themselves, whilst leaving the remaining company struggling for survival with the effect on employment and customers paying the price. This must stop as this should no longer be acceptable and the city institutions and pension funds should stop encouraging it immediately.

Another unacceptable problem is selling stock in a company, which the seller does not own by borrowing shares from owners hoping to buy them back cheaper later on.

The last do nothing parliament failed to tackle this issue but it can no longer be avoided.

On another unrelated issue, I am getting increasingly angry with the Department for Transport who blame train operators for franchise problems whilst overlooking that often the problems have been caused in part by the failure of Network Rail (national track owner) to deliver improvements that have been promised, on time.

This attitude has increased demands to renationalise the railways returning them to the inefficiency of the past and a poorer safety record.

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