Organisers blamed for Chatsworth Road Market business crisis

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Chatsworth meeting
Chatsworth Road Market Traders attending meeting to discuss market business; photo credit: Robert Vasquez

A group of traders with shops and stalls on the Chatsworth Road Market is upset with market organizers over a lack of improved business on the street since the market began.

Traders complained about what they said were shortcomings by organizers of the market, due to lack of marketing and poor administration, with stall takings not covering costs. Complaints were aired at a public meeting with councillor Ian Rathbone on 9 November. Several traders expressed fear of trade failing, resulting in retail activity on the road disappearing completely.

Rathbone addresses Chatsworth meeting
Councillor Ian Rathbone speaking at Chatsworth meeting; Credit: Robert Vasquez

One of the shopkeepers, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “there [are] three reasons why the market is failing… the first is accountability, the second is transparency and the third is that the people who are running it are not representative of what the street wants.” The target of the complaints were volunteers from the Chatsworth Road Traders and Residents Association, a group that has seen its membership reduced to two since the market began in 2009. They manage the market in partnership with Hackney Council.

Another trader, in answer an accusation that there were not enough people willing to volunteer to help with the market, said, “there is a group of about ten traders who have been meeting for about a year… that have time and time again offered help, offered to help with marketing, offered to pay for it… and every time we were turned down.”

The meeting concluded with both parties agreeing to try and encourage more people to volunteer, and to address the current lack of meetings and annual reports centered around the market. The condition of the market and organisational matters will be reviewed at a general meeting on 9 January.