Update on Ridley Road Market and our consultation on markets fees and terms

The Council operates the outdoor Ridley Road street market and we have pledged to protect and improve it. It is an essential, diverse and historic part of Dalston’s culture, and we are determined to be a champion for it.

Last year, we announced that together with the Mayor of London, we will invest more than £1million into Ridley Road to help existing traders compete with a changing high street. This work could give traders new facilities and provide more pedestrianised spaces for shoppers to browse their stalls – all while preserving its unique character. We’ll start consultation work with traders and local people on this early next year.

We have no intention of closing Ridley Road Market down – or changing its character. We want it to continue to be successful, bringing people from different backgrounds together at the heart of the community.

Our dedicated Markets team works across the borough with traders and traders associations to deliver and promote successful street markets. This has seen them grow by 15% since last year, with an extra 455 traders operating across our street markets, which now host more than 4,000 traders a month. At Ridley Road Market, the team has worked hard with traders to increase pitch occupancy by 3% in the past year – equating to an additional 850 pitches filled.

Consultation on markets fees and terms 

We are consulting on proposals to update terms and conditions, and fees and charges at all markets in Hackney. The proposals we are consulting on are aimed at making sure that all our markets – including Ridley Road – fund themselves so they can continue to grow and thrive. We have no plans to ‘privatise’ the market or evict existing traders.

Trader fees have not changed at Ridley Road Market – or risen with inflation – since 2016, despite our yearly waste, storage and maintenance costs increasing by over £100,000. We are proposing a small fee increase of between £2 and £3 per day for most weekly traders to cover these increased costs, and a decrease in charges for traders in zone 3 of the market, making it the cheapest six-day-a-week market in London with people able to trade for as little as £8 a day.

The proposed updated terms and conditions for Hackney market stalls have been developed with traders and cover: changes to food hygiene and health and safety legislation; the use of single use plastics, and the logistics of operating a market stall. There is no term or condition in the licence that enables the council to revoke a street trading licence to enable private development.

The ‘51% rule’, which asks traders to be at their pitches for 51% of the day, is not new and was in place in previous terms and conditions. It is there to make sure that pitches are occupied when people are shopping, and. It is lower than other comparable boroughs, – some of which require traders to be at pitches for 60%, or all, of the day. – but is there to make sure pitches are occupied when people are shopping. 

We value the views of all of our traders and encourage them all to take part in the consultations.

Ridley Road Shopping Village

This building, a neighbouring indoor market, is operated by a private company and we do not own or control it. The owners have submitted a planning application to convert and extend this building into new homes, retail and employment space, but it has not yet been considered by the Council’s Planning Committee.

Last year, the police issued a Community Protection Notice to the management company of the Shopping Village instructing them to install things like CCTV to support crime prevention and ensure fire exits were not blocked.

However, they chose to close the market early ahead of the owners’ planned refurbishment, and issued eviction notices to tenants. Mayor Philip Glanville and Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy, met with the owners of the building to set out the Council’s concerns. This intervention meant the traders and tenants of the studios above the market were given an extended deadline to acquire legal advice and sign a six-month lease, and the owners agreed not to close the Shopping Village.

We have also stepped in to support affected traders, offering them a fast-tracked stall on the outdoor market it operates or other retail premises if more appropriate.

The Council’s independent Planning team will continue to scrutinise the owners’ planning application as part of the planning process, to ensure it complies with the borough’s planning rules. The application will be considered by the Council’s Planning Committee next year.

A changing Dalston

We know that many people may see this as further evidence of a changing Dalston, with new businesses, people and buildings. We agree. That’s why we launched the Dalston Conversation last year to get the ambitions of local people for the future, and what they’d like the Council’s priorities to be.

Dalston has seen a transformation in the last 5-10 years, but we are determined that new buildings and private investment don’t put Dalston’s character and heritage at risk.

We can’t control all change, but we don’t believe it should come at the expense of existing communities and the things you value. We think it should also mean a better town centre, streets and public spaces, better access to jobs and employment opportunities, and better facilities for local residents and businesses.

Protecting and improving Ridley Road Market was our first pledge, and we’re already delivering on it by investing money in new facilities. Our other pledges are:

✔ Be a champion for existing business and culture

✔ Deliver affordable spaces for local businesses

✔ Secure the future of the Eastern Curve Garden

✔ Be honest about plans for the future

✔ Use your feedback to shape change

✔ Keep and promote diverse shops, restaurants and nightlife

Thousands of people had their say as part of the Dalston Conversation, and we’ll publish a detailed report explaining this feedback early next year – alongside a plan to ensure that feedback is put into action.