Traders’ hopes for market rejuvenation are in tatters

PUBLISHED: 12:33 08 September 2011 | UPDATED: 12:48 08 September 2011

Traders say the council has abandoned its campaign to promote Roman Road and that business continues to be in decline

Traders say the council has abandoned its campaign to promote Roman Road and that business continues to be in decline

Carmen Valino

»Efforts to promote Bow’s Roman Road Market as a shopping destination have been branded a flop by shopkeepers.

Businesses in the once bustling shopping street say Tower Hamlets Council has now abandoned a campaign to reinvigorate trade and encourage more shoppers.

The strategy, employed by the council, followed the successful relaunch of Broadway Market in 2005, which now sees hordes of shoppers throng to Hackney.


The council had promised a promotional campaign including launching a magazine, shopping vouchers and recyclable “I love Roman Road” bags.

But manager at the Italian Chi Chi Café Metin Esen said the council did not have its heart in the campaign. “It’s not professionally run like Broadway Market. Initially they showed interest but now we’ve just been abandoned,” he said.

Regular meetings between market traders, shopkeepers and town hall representatives stopped after traders branded it a mere “talking shop” and stopped attending, he added.

“There was only ever one copy of the magazine and most people never saw it because it was published with the council paper which most people just throw in the bin.”

Manager at the Finnesse clothes and homeware boutique, Ulla Cronin, said business felt abandoned by the council and that trade continues to be in decline.

A council spokesman said: “The meetings were discontinued because attendance had reduced and regeneration projects by then were underway.”

More than a £1million has been invested along Roman Road over the past two years, including electrical points for traders and 7,000 promostickers and 2,000 shopping bags were also distributed, the spokesman added.

The booklet promoting businesses was delivered to residents, as part of the Shop Local campaign, “was not intended to be a regular magazine as this would be too costly”, the spokeswoman said.

Two years ago 7,000 promotion stickers and 2,000 shopping bags were also distributed.

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