Ridley Road Shopping Village: Traders battle to stay as mayor of Hackney slams ‘betrayal’ by managers

Ridley Road Shopping Village in Dalston. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Ridley Road Shopping Village in Dalston. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel - Credit: Archant

The battle is on to stop the premature closure of Ridley Road Shopping Village after the intervention of Hackney’s mayor – and more than 1,500 supporters.

Chris Notley outside his jewellers Raffles. Picture: Sam Gelder

Chris Notley outside his jewellers Raffles. Picture: Sam Gelder - Credit: Archant

Phil Glanville waded in after the Gazette last week revealed stunned business owners had been given two weeks’ notice to quit – missing out on vital Christmas trade they’d stocked up for.

Market bosses had blamed the police for leaving them “no alternative” but to shut after the issue of a Community Protection Notice (CPN). They also claimed cops and the council had been discussing a closure order off the back of anti-social behaviour for some time.

But Mr Glanville is pointing the finger squarely at the shopping village management itself, saying the CPN simply meant extra security and safety measures had to be installed, not that it needed closing.

The managers are to some extent at the mercy of the building’s new owner Rainbow Properties. The West Hampstead firm had already earmarked the shopping centre for redevelopment, and traders had been told to leave by December 29. But no planning permission has been given – and it is by no means certain it would get through.

Mohamed Barry at his stall in Ridley Road Shopping Village. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Mohamed Barry at his stall in Ridley Road Shopping Village. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel - Credit: Archant

Market managers and police have failed to answer our requests for comment.

Now, traders have joined forces to stop the early evictions.

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The petition states: “Ridley Road is the beating heart of Hackney, and yet the loss of the Shopping Village will be the beginning of the end.”

Mohamed Barry, who has run a clothing stall since 2009, said: “Nothing has changed since last week. We are still here and nobody has got back to us. We never see the landlord and nobody knew there was a problem with the police.

“We want to stay for another six months so we can get storage for our stuff.”

Mr Glanville is “appalled” by the market managers’ actions.

“The letter they have sent business owners is misleading and a betrayal of hard working local businesses,” he said.

“They have chosen to use a CPN as an excuse to close the market early and damage a number of small businesses, rather than act as a responsible owner and work with tenants and the police to drive down anti-social behaviour.”

Hackney Council has now offered the traders stalls on the outdoor market. Mr Glanville said applications would be fast-tracked and the first six months would be half price. Three traders have taken up the offer already.

Since the Gazette broke the news of the closure – which will also see more than 60 artists booted out of the studios above – the decision has widely been seen as a sign of gentrification in the area.

Planning papers for the development – including 10 luxury flats and shops underneath – state: “The existing building is in very poor condition, provides poor quality retail space, and suffers from design defects that encourage anti-social behaviour.

“The proposals offer a fantastic opportunity to reinvigorate this key building on the market to create a sustainable mixed-use development, providing a high quality living, working and leisure environment for the 21st century, greatly contributing to the ongoing regeneration of Ridley Road Market and the wider area.”

That statement seems to differ greatly from the town hall’s own vision for the area, as detailed in a draft local plan published on Monday.

It states: “The council will protect and promote the street markets of Ridley Road, Hoxton Street, Broadway Market, Kingsland, Well Street and Chatsworth Road.

“Development which would result in the permanent loss of markets or pitches will be refused unless appropriate comparable replacement provision is made.”

Chris Notley has owned Raffles Discount Jewellers in the market for 27 years but is retiring now. On the planned development, he said: “They want it to be luxury flats and posh shops down the bottom. It will stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of the market. The people who buy these flats are going to be waking up to stallholders setting up. People will be walking through drunk at 3am. It’s bloody ridiculous.”