In Tesco, £5 brought a reasonable selection of fruit and vegetables, but a visit to Queens Market buys triple the amount of produce for the same price. In place of two bananas at Tesco, shoppers can buy a bunch of six from the market stalls, whilst four vine tomatoes at Tesco costs the same as 18 at the market and one onion from the supermarket giant costs the same as an entire bag at Queens Market.
In May 2009 London Mayor Boris Johnson rejected plans backed by Newham's Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, for Midlands-based developer St Modwen Properties to pull down the existing market and rebuild it it as a shopping hall, whilst piling on 31 and 18 storey high-rise (mainly private sale) flats. However, St Modwen Properties have been handed responsibility by the council for the management of the market and have increased rents and allowed it to fall into disrepair. It looks a lot like running the place down to help make a case for a new development proposal. As well as opposing this, Friends of Queens Market believes the market should not be leased to developers but refurbished and kept under local control.
Speaking on behalf of the campaign, Lucy Rogers said:
This market is flourishing in these lean times. Newham is a designated ‘food desert’ and local people depend on this market for healthy food at bargain prices. Fix the market’s roof, give it a lick of paint and we will have a gold medal market for 2012.Stall holder Neil Stockwell added
More people are coming to the market though some are spending less. And new stalls are opening up every month. This market is definitely livelier than it was two years ago.The fruit and vegetables from the display were given to a local charity with traders adding their own gifts of more fruit and vegetables.