'Major victory': Ridley Road Shopping Village's future secured

A Dalston campaign group has praised Hackney Council moves to safeguard Ridley Road's indoor shopping village

A Dalston campaign group has praised Hackney Council's decision to manage and lease parts of Ridley Road's indoor shopping village - Credit: Johann Arens

A Hackney campaign group is celebrating the council's decision to take over Ridley Road Shopping Village. 

The group Save Ridley Road says the decision, passed at a cabinet meeting on Monday (January 24), will "end years of uncertainty about the future of small businesses trading in the indoor shopping village", as well as securing  market stallholders' storage facilities in the sites basement. 

The green-lighted proposal will see the council sign a 15-year lease on parts of the building. 

A spokesperson for the Save Ridley Road group said: "The decision is a major victory for the Save Ridley Road campaign, which came together to successfully resist the evictions of all ground floor traders at short notice in October 2018.

"Save Ridley Road has since then consistently argued that the Shopping Village is an essential part of Ridley Road, and that its redevelopment would constitute a long-term threat to the street market and its many customers and traders."

Protesters gather outside Ridley Road Shopping Village. Picture: Polly Hancock

Protesters gather outside Ridley Road Shopping Village. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

The village, home to independent businesses and traders, came under threat after the building's owners put forward plans to develop the site. 

But the proposals were withdrawn after the council backed a community campaign to save Ridley Road Shopping Village and listed the building as an asset of community value in 2019. 

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The owner then agreed to plans to refurbish the existing building.

A planning application to carry out refurbishment works was approved by the council in November 2021.

Save Ridley Road says the move is a "highly positive step", "potentially safeguarding for many years to come a number of black and minority ethnic businesses".

Campaign member Danny Hayward said: ‘We’re delighted about this decision that comes from years of collective campaigning to prevent the building’s redevelopment.

"We now hope to see existing traders on the ground floor involved in every stage of the planning process as Hackney Council takes over the building's management.

"There’s a lot that still needs to be made clear here, but we view this as a victory for Save Ridley Road and anti-gentrification campaigners across Hackney."

The refurbishment will give the council an opportunity take over the management of parts of the building following the works. 

The council will take on the lease and management of the ground floor, which currently includes 40 trading units and will remain as an indoor market and the lower-ground floor for street market trader storage facilities.

 It will use part of the first floor for the it's market’s team offices.

Existing offices and workspaces on the first and second floors will be retained and managed by the existing landlord and owner of the building, Rainbow Properties.

Ridley Road Shopping Village in Dalston. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

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

The council is in discussion with Rainbow Properties about supporting the current first and second floor occupants of the building.

The front of the building will be upgraded as part of the refurbishment works.

Hackney mayor Philip Glanville said: "Bringing the shopping village and the street market together under the council’s stewardship will strengthen Ridley Road’s position at the heart of Dalston’s economy for the long-term."

The mayor says this is the "latest in a line of positive investments" being made by the council in Dalston which will "safeguard much-loved local places such as Ridley Road".

Cllr Guy Nicholson, portfolio holder for planning, culture and inclusive economy, said: "This intervention is great news for market traders, who will gain access to new and improved stalls, better toilet facilities and purpose-built storage units to keep their produce fresh.

"The council had already designated the building as an asset of community value, but by taking a long-term lease on part of the building following its refurbishment, it can help protect existing independent businesses in a much-improved building and under the council’s management.

The move is the latest action taken by the council to secure the long-term future of Ridley Road market. 

Its security was identified as a key priority by local people and businesses in the draft Dalston Plan - which sets out a vision for Dalston's future over 15 years.