We must ensure Edmonton Green’s redevelopment works for the community

With planning permission now granted for the redevelopment of Edmonton Green Shopping Centre, Koko Hill hopes that the needs of local traders and residents are not ignored

Edmonton Green Market
Edmonton Green Market as it looks today – the whole shopping centre is now set to be rebuilt, with a new market provided on a different site within the development

Local markets breathe life into any area. You can touch, feel and experience the things you need; fresh fruit, coffee, flowers, fish.

A common experience for everyone, from all walks of life, is going to a local market. Compare browsing market stalls to squeezing down tight, claustrophobic supermarket aisles, fighting with the self-service checkout
and begging for customer services to save you.

At a market with independent traders, you spend your money at a slower pace, looking for quality over quantity, and it’s easy to find more products you can identify with. The market experience gives you greater value for your hard-earned money, with even tourists attracted to landmark markets such as at Borough, Brixton, Spitalfields or Hackney, just for the experience.

Travel anywhere in the world and you will find markets are a fountain of life, providing a means for employment, trade and meeting the basic needs of a community. As much as you may love Asda, Tesco or Sainsbury’s, there’s nothing like getting your groceries from a market trader.

Markets, however, often occupy land that can become a hot asset for developers. Major applications for redeveloping markets use fancy words like ‘hybrid’ or ‘mixed use’. They can also include Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs), forcing people out. The language at times can be confusing, with each new major redevelopment creating either an opportunity or a threat to any local market, depending on the developer’s intentions.

Edmonton Green Market has an interesting history. In an extremely dense urban area, many people don’t have to walk far to benefit from the array of stalls. The existing shopping centre is quite successful in making the market central to the main design, without having any major effect on the huge stores adjacent to it.

Now, with the redevelopment of the shopping centre by developer Crosstree having being approved, the question is what will happen to the existing market traders? And what lessons can be learned from other market developments?

Down the road, there has been a huge campaign to protect the ‘Latin Village’ traders at Seven Sisters Indoor Market. The redevelopment was scrapped by developer Grainger last year, but now with the indoor market closed since the start of the pandemic, community traders are both displaced and dispersed.

The redevelopment was supposed to contain safeguards to protect the market and its traders during construction, to limit the damage from the upheaval to traders and to create a temporary market while works are in progress. However, with the market building scheme scrapped, land owner Transport for London is refusing to either let the traders use the site or provide them with an alternative.

It shows is that if safeguards are not enforced, more is at risk than just fruit
and veg. Every local authority has a duty vested in the community, which they serve as democratically elected members, to maintain the fabric of that community. Whether they be Conservative or Labour or another party altogether, councillors hold the keys to the future of the local area. We have to make sure that the future of market traders at Edmonton Green is protected, so they do not suffer the same fate as those at Seven Sisters.