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Roman Rd facelift tries reviving patient whose heart’s ripped out

PUBLISHED: 12:47 17 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:42 05 October 2010

Dear Ed, TOWER Hamlets council states that shops in East London’s Roman Road Market are in line for a facelift and draws attention to the attempt “to revitalise and help businesses weather the effects of the recession.” It is a bit like trying to revitalise a patient after their heart has been ripped out

Dear Ed,

TOWER Hamlets council states in its 'East End Life' for July 20-26 that shops in East London's Roman Road Market are in line for a facelift and draws attention to the attempt "to revitalise and help businesses weather the effects of the recession."

It is a bit like trying to revitalise a patient after their heart has been ripped out.

The £200,000 on offer may in the short-term, as facelifts hold back the inevitable, unless there a change in attitude by national and local government.

In the same week, the British Retail Consortium published a report about what needs to be done to secure a lasting future for shopping centres that have been affected by the recession. High streets are at the heart of our communities and need to evolve as society changes, it says.

Retailing will always be a fundamental part of successful shopping centres, helping to define the nature of the communities which they serve, where people shop, live, work and get essential services.

The key proposal in the consortium's report is that high streets need Government support. There must be no new property and business rate burdens like those along the Crossrail route being asked to help pay for the project.

The consortium says transport policy should be directed at providing a service to customers and retailers and not be exploited as a fundraiser.

The penny dropped for Tower Hamlets when Canary Wharf started offering customers free parking.

For too long, shopkeepers and retailers were the people who had no voice in how our high streets were designed. Barriers along many high streets have decimated retailers passing trade.

The plight of Roman Road was highlighted by Tony Glover in a letter to the Advertiser in April when he blamed the council for removing the 140 public parking places by approving the plans for an "inappropriate development" on the Safeways site (Roman Road faces death knell, Advertiser Letters, April 2).

It is pointless going under the knife for a facelift, since Roman Road market has been stabbed in the back by councillors for the development the planning committee has approved.

Terry McGrenera (Green Party)

Devans Road, Bromley-by-Bow

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