Bring The Roman back to life, Labour urges

A Labour councillor is calling for the Mayor to re-establish the Roman Road regeneration group after two residents failed in their bid to secure government funding for improvements.

Councillor Mark Francis, who represents the ward of Bow East, said he was disappointed to hear that their attempts to win funding for the Roman through the “Portas Pilot” scheme had failed.

Instead, Tower Hamlets council received a grant to improve facilities and encourage healthy lifestyles in Watney Market, Chrisp Street and Roman Road. However, Cllr Francis said he wants more to be done to bring new business to the area, in addition to the new Tesco store due next year.

He said: “I am calling for the Mayor to re-establish the council’s Roman Road regeneration group, involving those who put together the Portas Pilot bid and other residents and businesses.

“And it’s why I am also asking for him to provide the funding needed to bring in an expert Town Centre Manager who can help existing retailers and attract new businesses,” he added.

Paula Hirst, one of the residents behind the unsuccessful bid to secure government funding, urged the council to do more to help regerenerate the area.

She said: “We are trying to get the process moving, and we would really like to work with the council on it. Roman Road desperately needs support and investment, and the council can be a key player in that - it should be demonstrating a lead role in this.”

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However, the council sought to reassure people over the area’s future. A spokesman said: “The regeneration of the Bow and Roman Road area is a top priority. We are producing a new action plan to invest and improve the Roman Road market, boost the local economy and restore Roman Road as a vibrant area for the local community.”