Hoxton Street Market traders have criticised the council’s latest plans to boost trade.
As part of a consultation period which started last week, the council is seeking to bring in new traders and increase the range of products on offer. But traders, who have seen business plummet in recent years, remain doubtful the plans will make a difference.
Mark Brooks of A. Brooks florists said: “They’re talking about spending money here but they spent one million on Ridley Road Market last year.
“They’ll never spend that kind of money in Hoxton. It would be good to see some investment in the market, but I’m not holding my breath.”
Clothes vendor Tony Spickett, said: “It’s been a long time coming. For years the market has had lots of empty pitches. When you compare it with Broadway Market which looks alive and part of the community, this just looks like it’s dying.”
The council pledges the investment will go ahead despite budget cuts of £44 million. Traders claim customers have been put off by parking costs introduced in 2006, which put an end to free Saturday parking. Some say their trade has fallen by as much as 50 per cent.
Christine Andrews, who runs a cosmetics stall, said: “With the parking restrictions people just pop in for five minutes and say they can’t stop because they’re on a metre – if they can find a metre, that is.
“We’ve had loads of meetings with the council before but they’ve done nothing to improve the situation. Let’s see if it’s different this time.”
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “Hackney Markets are an important part of our borough and the Council has made a commitment to invest in and improve them.”