Whitechapel market traders demand better stalls as old ones keep blowing away and hitting people

Traders in an East London market have called for better stalls to replace “dangerous” stands that blow away in the wind.

Business owners in Whitechapel Market said that the local council should improve the stalls and the area around it to make it cleaner and stop their stands from blowing away.

Tower Hamlets Council recently won over £9 million to improve Whitechapel Road and its famous market from the government’s levelling up fund.

The road has struggled with rubbish and fly-tipping in the past, but is beginning to see improvements as new investment arrives.

Whitechapel station, right next to the market, opened its £800 million ticket hall and new entrance in August, and will also be a Crossrail station when the Elizabeth Line opens early next year.

(L-R) Roman Dillon, Elen Ifans, and Kurt Slankard staff the Urban Bar across the road from the market

Tower Hamlets’ new £115 million town hall will also open across the street from the market next year.

However, stall owners in Whitechapel Market said that the council should be using its new funds to build permanent metal stalls for business owners to make the market safer and more attractive to customers.

Sumin Ahmed, who sells phone accessories at the market, said that putting a stall up and down every day could be risky.

He said: “They need to do something because when we open every morning and close every evening we need to put the stall up and down.

“Now it’s very windy and it’s very hard for the stand to stay up. When you’re putting up the stall in the morning it’s dangerous, you know?

“It should be something permanent – permanent stuff like electricity, if they can fix it that would be nice.”

Whitechapel Market

Locals have reported stalls being blown away in bad weather

Clothes stall owner Bokul Ahmed agreed, adding that using temporary stalls was difficult in the winter.

He said: “The council has a lot of money but they’re not doing much with it. They need to fix the stalls because after about six months to a year they don’t look nice.

“They should make metal stalls – nice and heavy. Because when winter comes there’s no protection.”

Whitechapel Road has dozens of local businesses next to the market, many of which also want to see improvements to the area including an upgrade to the market’s old stalls.

Kurt Slankard is the manager of The Urban Bar right across the road from Whitechapel Market – he said that the road has seen some improvements but that the market could do with more investment from the council.

He said: “Improving the market would be great, especially how it looks. How it looks now – it doesn’t look structurally stable.”

He added that the graffiti-covered trucks which line the market should also be moved, saying: “The trucks outside, they never move because they use them as storage.

“The council are renting out retail spaces for storage… the space is needed for the market.”

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Jusdas, the manager at the White Hart pub on Whitechapel Road, explained how dangerous the market stalls could be in the wind.

He said: “Once I was hit in the face by a stall sign because of the wind. They should spend the money to make all the stalls in the market the same.

“I think they should make it more clean… and maybe more police.”

Tower Hamlets Council said that the £9.3 million investment to the road would go towards improving street lighting, pavements, new market stalls, and building repairs among other things.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “I’m delighted that Tower Hamlets Council’s bid for funding through the levelling up fund has been successful.

“This is a very welcome investment that will go towards us delivering the improvements needed in Whitechapel Road to make it safer and more accessible and give a boost to the market and local businesses.”

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