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Roman Road market needs a bright night vision to survive

PUBLISHED: 17:08 30 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 October 2010

By Cllr Joshua Peck IN ITS heyday, Roman Road was one of the country s most popular markets and people would come from across London and Essex to snap up high fashion at low prices.

The Roman, alongside other popular markets like those at Whitechapel, Pe

By Cllr Joshua Peck

IN ITS heyday, Roman Road was one of the country's most popular markets and people would come from across London and Essex to snap up high fashion at low prices.

The Roman, alongside other popular markets like those at Whitechapel, Petticoat Lane and Columbia Road, are part of what makes aast London special.

The slow decline of Roman Road has been sad to watch.

There are lots of reasons: parking restrictions certainly haven't helped, but the low prices and variety of shops like Primark and Top Shop in the West End have also lured customers away, as have huge new shopping centres at Canary Wharf, Lakeside and Bluewater.

Whatever the causes, it's clear something has to be done if the historic heart of Bow isn't to die on its feet.

Bow councillors have won that argument and a council action group has been set up to breathe new life into the Roman.

Last month, we launched the new monthly Farmers Market and the weekly Arts and Craft Market.

Both made a good start, attracting more people to the Roman, bringing new business to existing traders and shops as well as showing residents, new and old, that the Roman Road still has something to offer.

We now need people to keep coming back and we're already working on plans for a Christmas "fayre".

We also want to make sure that when they come people find a cleaner, safer place to shop.

But the Roman Road will need more than that if it's to return to its former glory. We'll need to attract a greater variety of shops, including those we're currently missing, like a butcher's.

A few more family restaurants, such as a Pizza Express or a Nandos, would bring more people out at night, making everyone feel safer.

And with the Road on the up again, we can start to talk to high street shops about coming here.

Making the Roman great again won't happen overnight but it's too special to let go to the dogs.

Cllr Joshua Peck is a Bow West Councillor in Tower Hamlets and Chair of the Council's Roman Road Regeneration Steering Group

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