Growing excitement as Bow’s Roman Road Market prepares to reopen

Shoppers encouraged to stay local as Roman Road market reopens next Tuesday, June 30. Picture: Mike

Shoppers encouraged to stay local as Roman Road market reopens next Tuesday, June 30. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Miker Brooke

The Roman Road neighbourhood could be in for a boost with its famous market set to reopen in a few days’ time.

The Advertiser caught up with community champion Roman Road Ldn ahead of the reopening on Tuesday, June 30 to reflect on lockdown and discuss the future of shopping in the East End.

The market’s return is good news for the high street, says editorial assistant Siva Thangarajah: “We focus on developing the Roman Road area, so we’re happy to see that the market is reopening after lockdown.

“We hope that people who go to the Saturday market will also go to the adjacent shops.”

Tower Hamlets’ location makes it a popular area in which to live, however, Siva warns that its proximity to the City of London means that many people will both work and shop there, rather than locally.

This is detrimental to the borough, particularly so given the struggles facing the high street.

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However, lockdown has meant fewer people travelling to central London to work, benefiting the essential shops that did remain open.

Siva is hopeful this upturn won’t change even when people begin commuting once again: “We have seen people’s behaviour change, in terms of their relationship with smaller shops. Moving forward we hope this will continue.”

The stretch alongside the market is full of “local gems”, she adds, such as Fiesta Cafe, Sweet Treats and Muxima, among many others.

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In light of the challenge facing independent businesses, it’s vital that people offer their support: “A lot of these businesses are family-owned — they’re part of the community and we don’t want to lose them.”

Roman Road Ldn grew from Roman Road Trust, an economic and community development trust whose aim is to create a thriving East End economy where communities can flourish.

Siva and her colleagues work to fulfil that aim, with next Tuesday’s reopening sure to prove helpful in that endeavour.

A cautionary tale came earlier this week when it was announced that family bakery Percy Ingles is set to close.

To avoid further casualties, it’s crucial that people head back to the high street.

For Siva, there is no better place to go than Roman Road.

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