Hackney Labour has demanded that the landlord of the private Ridley Road indoor market extends the tenancies of the local businesses in the ‘Shopping Village’ beyond the two week closure period which starts on the 20th August .
The landlord has said the closure period of the Shopping Village is needed for health and safety reasons for traders and customers as the refurbishment of the Shopping Village commences in preparation for the Council taking the Shopping Village over.
Dalston Ward Labour Councillor Grace Adebayo says Hackney Labour has already stood up for tenants and called on the landlord to agree to reduce the rent for traders by half until the Council formally takes over in the autumn. She said: “I have called for the Council to provide dedicated support for the traders to help sort out any problems and to make sure everything runs smoothly over the coming months” .
Hackney Labour have made sure that the Council will offer all business tenants new spaces in the refurbished Shopping Village when the Council takes on the lease after the refurbishment works are completed.
Cllr Adebayo commented: “I have been closely watching the situation and standing up for the traders by making sure that our Labour-run Council offers a new space to every business and trader currently in the Shopping Village.”
Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Labour Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Regulatory Services who has been supporting Cllr Adebayo said: “Our decision to take over the management of Ridley Road Shopping Village was made specifically to give security to the traders based there after the uncertainty caused by ongoing risk of redevelopment when it was under private ownership.
“I am reiterating the offer that, once the lease with the Council is agreed after the refurbishment is complete, all traders will be guaranteed a similar-sized space in the refurbished indoor market under the Council’s ownership.”
Hackney Labour has also unlocked the investment into improving Ridley Road and the street market trading environment, making it one of London’s premier street markets, running six days a week.
All the hard work is paying off – Ridley Road street market recently won a national award as the best community market in the UK, and other awards have been won by young Hackney residents learning about being a market trader in Hackney markets.
What will happen to vendors who have been issued a Notice to Quit for August 20 but have not been instructed as to what will happen afterwards?
The notice to quit was served by the landlord not the Council. The landlord has done this so they can proceed with the refurbishment planned for the ground floor of the building. Whilst these works take place it would not be safe for tenants or customers to be on site.
While this is a matter for the landlord rather than the Council, the current landlord has assured the Council that tenants can return after the two week period and continue trading from the Shopping Village with the 50% rent reduction. Hackney Labour will continue to monitor this situation closely.
Free storage is being provided by the Council for the traders affected.
What are the terms and/or agreement for a (Council) lease of (a) unit within Ridley Road Shopping Village which will be offered to traders following refurbishment including the terms and conditions?
The terms are yet to be agreed over the course of the autumn and all terms will be based on individual meetings with each individual trader. Hackney Labour have demanded that the Council will be fair and flexible with each tenant. The Council has allocated a team to manage the whole project and work closely with the traders.
Traders have also voiced discontent at the details Hackney Council has released so far about the future for traders and the process of decision making:
- Despite the Shopping Village being a recognised “Asset of Community Value”, the Council will run the scheme as For-Profit
No, the Council will not run the scheme for profit.
Hackney Labour called for the Council to designate the Shopping Village as an Asset of Community Value to help protect the public value and community benefit of the building and its uses and ensure it could be used for community purposes and not turned into flats.
Hackney Labour has demanded that the Council will run the Shopping Village in the interests of traders and the local community rather than to make a profit.
Should there be any income generated by the Shopping Village then it will be reinvested back into the market to ensure that tenants can trade safely, effectively and sustainably.
- Only short term six-month licences will be offered to traders with none of the security and rights which business tenants usual have
This is incorrect and untrue. The plan is for licences to be issued annually for years one and two while the refurbished market building gets up and running, and thereafter the licences will run for three years at a time. Hackney Labour has made sure that the Council has committed to meet with tenants to discuss this and address any concerns they may have. These arrangements are in line with all Council-managed markets.
- There will be no consultation on licence fees and charges
Not true. The Council will always consult on all fees and charges before anything is implemented.
- 5% increase on existing rents in Year 1 but to be followed by possibly huge annual increases linked to the CPI index. CPI is a measure of inflation which is expected to reach at least 15% this year
The Council has committed to a 5% rent increase for the first two years after the lease agreement begins. Rent levels in the Shopping Village are already low when compared with local market rates. By taking this approach the Council will ensure there are fair and affordable rent levels for all traders in Ridley Road, both in the Shopping Village and in the street market.
In return the tenants will see a significant upgrade to the working environment in the Shopping Village and an increased level of support that will be available through the Council’s management role. The Council’s markets service will be working out of the same building!
In year two, the Council will consult with traders on the costs for year three and onwards. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the maximum possible increase allowed after two years, it is not a target rent increase, the final amount will only be set following consultation with tenants.
The Council is committed to do everything in its power to ensure rents remain affordable and sustainable for all Ridley Road market traders in the future.
- Traders policed more strictly by the HC Market Services team
Hackney Labour’s ambition is to make sure the Council helps local businesses grow and develop and not impose unnecessary restrictions and conditions on traders..
Hackney’s street markets, high street shops and street traders have recovered well from the trading conditions and restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
The Council led by Hackney Labour is proud to support local traders day to day and with fair, open and transparent terms and conditions. Hackney’s street markets are the most successful in London and explains why many small businesses choose to operate in Hackney’s street markets.
- Unlike market stallholders, traders will be denied the right of appeal to a Magistrates Court against unfair treatment
This is untrue and incorrect. Terms and conditions for traders under the new lease arrangement are yet to be agreed, but across all of Hackney’s markets any trader has the formal right to appeal against a revoked licence or unfair treatment.
- Traders have not been included in the designs of the new trading units which have been agreed solely between Hackney and Larochette
A great deal of thought has been given to ensuring the indoor market will be safe, accessible and beneficial for traders and customers. Improvements include enhancing the visibility along the walkways within the Shopping Village, improving all utilities, the quality of the existing units and ensuring all businesses will be able to move to a similar sized space in the refurbished Shopping Village.