On the 19th of July, Wanstead & Woodford Guardian reported that, following a consultation process, Redbridge Council were planning to increase fees for all market stalls in the borough from £15 per stall per day to £28 – a huge increase of almost 87%! The paper also reported that, as a result, the South Woodford market had decided to cease trading as they couldn’t absorb the increase, clearly the Wanstead markets would also be under threat.
We felt that this was a very short-sighted decision, given the current economic situation, the threat already presented by the Westfield shopping centre, and the recent dismal weather can only have had a negative impact for local traders.
The Wanstead Society wrote to the council asking for an explanation of the massive increase and also canvassed the Wanstead Business Partnership to find out if they had been part of the consultation process. The first that they had heard of this action was the article in the Guardian. We also asked who had been included in the consultation process and what were they asked?
We received a reply from the Cabinet member for Community Safety, Planning and Enforcement, Cllr Shoaib Patel on the 24th of July, which included the following excerpt from their latest press release:
“We have recently received some feedback from businesses in different parts of the borough in relation to the increase in fees for market stalls. I would like to re-emphasise that I have always listened to businesses in the past and tried to take on board their concerns where possible.
I have again listened to what traders have to say, recognising that these are still particularly difficult economic times especially for small businesses.
I am always keen to see businesses thrive throughout Redbridge and on this occasion have therefore, in response to representations, decided to suspend any increase in fees until further notice. They will remain at the same level as last year for the foreseeable future – £15 per stall per day.
I would like to take this timely opportunity to remind businesses that the Council has waived the fees for tables and chairs on the pavement during the Olympic and Paralympic period – a decision made to help encourage extra trade for businesses in Redbridge.”
We are delighted with this outcome, it just goes to show how we can use our community voice to positive effect in our own little corner of the world, and also across our borough!