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Roman Rd: Walking down market was depressing

PUBLISHED: 14:48 24 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:13 05 October 2010

Dear Ed, WALKING through Roman Road Market in East London on Saturday was both an encouraging and a depressing experience. The market may be about to get the final deathnell in a long line of attacks from Tower Hamlets Council

Dear Ed,

WALKING through Roman Road Market in East London on Saturday was both an encouraging and a depressing experience.

The market has been there a long time. But it may be about to get the final deathnell in a long line of attacks from Tower Hamlets Council.

This has been caused by the council’s almost brutal desire to force through an unwanted and inappropriate development on the old Safeway’s supermarket site. In so doing, the Town Hall will remove the 140 public car parking spaces and strangle one of the last ways of parking near The Roman.’

You may ask why people should bring cars in this environmental age. The simple fact is that the market has a wide following. I spoke to people on Saturday who came from as far as Northampton and Gatwick.

The traders, some of who have been there for more than 30 years, are clinging to life. As one put it to me, “We are being slowly starved by the council.”

Yet despite all this, there is hope. The community has been fighting back. The local authority has already tried and failed to get the development through and getting things wrong.

The community is against an unwanted imposition on their locality. Traders and residents together are fighting an arrogant and uncaring council. They are united in something else as well—what they want on the site, something that will transform a dying market and revitalise a once-great, but now neglected, area.

They want sympathetic residential development, not a 10-storey tower block. They want retail development that encourages a feeling of community and meets its needs. They want social space not no’ space.

Why is Tower Hamlets Council inflicting this awful development on a community that has repeatedly opposed it? Local Labour councillors have shown total distain for those they represent, saying the development would be supported by all the Tower Hamlets Labour councillors.

They completely fail to address what is the main concern—the community around The Roman.’

Tony Glover

Moravian Street, Bethnal Green


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