Small traders vie for place in Bishopsgate goodsyard scheme

Areal view of proposed Bishopsgate goodsyard scheme

Areal view of proposed Bishopsgate goodsyard scheme - Credit: Ballymore

Small traders are negotiating with developers of the massive former Bishopsgate railway goodsyard site in east London to include more local businesses.

Agreement was reached when a delegation from the newly-formed East End Trades Guild met senior figures from the Ballymore Group at Westminster on Wednesday, hosted by Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali.

They have signed up to regular direct meetings to discuss the future of the huge site between Spitalfields, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch.

Small businesses including corner shops are now a major part of the local economy, contributing £1.3 million in rates to Tower Hamlets Council alone towards public services, the Guild points out.

They employ 1,200 people, most of them living in the area, and have a £77 million turnover between them, according to findings of the New Economics Foundation.

The shopkeepers must now use this strength to tackle rocketing rents, encroachment of chain stores and disruption to trade caused by massive projects like Crossrail, the Guild urged.

Small traders have already chalked up two victories, including Les Bobrow who won his battle to stop his Wood N’ Things craft shop being evicted from Spitalfields Market to make way for a chain store.

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“The Guild helped me get what seemed an impossible task in securing a new lease,” he said on Spitalfields Life website. “I’m convinced I couldn’t have taken on the landlords myself without that help.”

Shopkeepers in Whitechapel won compensation for trade loss caused by Cambridge Heath Road being closed for several weeks earlier this year during Crossrail roadworks, when they bargained collectively through the Guild.

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