Monday, 2 August 2010

It Was Friends Of Queens Market Wot Won It!

Proving that even against seemingly insurmountable odds, local people can fight against big business interests and win, reports in the Newham Recorder and the Evening Standard have both rightly acknowledged the crucial role of campaigners in defeating property company St Modwen, who have finally abandoned its plans to redevelop Queens Market in Upton Park.

For seven years, the Friends of Queens Market campaign has fought against the developers and Newham council to ensure that fresh, affordable food remains available to local people. It's first victory, after 12,000 signatures were collected to stop the demolition of the market, was to persuade the supermarket giant Asda-Walmart to pull out of the proposed development in June 2006. The next victory involved successful lobbying of the Greater London Assembly after a multi-million pound planning application was submitted by St Modwen in May 2009, involving a 31 storey high-rise tower block on the market site with a token amount of social housing. The campaign mobilised 2,600 individual letters of objection to the plans and although Newham council drove through approval of the scheme at the planning stage, Friends of Queens Market then worked hard to persuade London Mayor Boris Johnson to throw out the 'inappropriate' development.

A year on, St Modwen and Newham council have finally parted company, claiming that they could not agree about a way forward. Campaigners are now demanding to know how much local council-tax payers money was wasted by Newham council as it repeatedly pushed ahead with the destruction of Queens Market in the teeth of local opposition.

This is particularly important because the scheme always had the fervent and unwavering backing of Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales, who was adamant that redevelopment had to go ahead at all costs. And we know how much the Great Helmsman hates to lose...

The Friends of Queens Market campaign has a website here. My earlier posts on the campaign can be found here


Anonymous said...

This is very good news indeed. However don't expect Newham to stand still on this matter. The Mayoral spin machine will soon be back in action and this defeat will be portrayed as a tactical maneouvre by Wales to force the appointment of a more community-responsive developer. Congratulations are in order to everyone who helped to publicise this campaign. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I am very happy that the market has been saved.

Queens market has so much potential and its amazing the the Council thinks that the vision is a market-in-a-mall. Just look at the boring East Ham covered market.

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