Row over local markets

A Waltham Forest market stall (credit Chrissie Dodkin)

Report by Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter

Market traders say Waltham Forest Council cannot claim to support local sellers when they make up less than one-fifth of stalls at one of the borough’s most popular markets.

Lloyd Park Market, open from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, features stalls from businesses such as established chain Crosstown Doughnuts, operating from Battersea, and Ted’s Veg, based in Lincolnshire.

Critics have also questioned why responsibility for the market was given to an organiser, Max Kennedy, who is based in Hackney. In response, the market has now set up a ‘local guest spot’ initiative, allowing new stalls to trade for a day without the usual charge, and insisted local traders are given priority “where possible”.

Hoe Street Market organiser Kate Bod said she was “baffled” that the council, which has widely publicised its ‘Save the High Street’ and ‘Choose Local’ campaigns, would not support her calls to have the market “go into local hands”.

She said: “My argument is that this should be an E17-run market with maybe a token stall or two from elsewhere, if there’s room. Not the other way round. 

“I know so many local traders who are on the brink of losing their livelihoods. Their incomes would be saved with one or two days at that market.

“That initiative to be a ‘guest’ at the market is a joke. You need to have been trading for less than a year, and due to the pandemic, most businesses won’t have started up this year.”

She made it clear that she did not want to run the Lloyd Park Market herself but was concerned that spots were offered to out-of-borough businesses when there was a clear local alternative offering the same product.

One local business, Dear Prudence Creperie, tweeted at Waltham Forest Council last month explaining it had applied to trade at the market when it first started but “never received a reply”.

The owner wrote: “Was disappointed to see a crepe stall from Hampstead there when we visited the market to support other local businesses – only to see there weren’t any there!”

Another trader and resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “No-one in the local area has been given the opportunity to do things with Lloyd Park Market. Opportunities have been given to someone outside of the borough.

“There’s plenty of locally-run markets so we do not understand why no one was approached about running it for local people.”

A total of 15% of the market’s traders are based in the borough. The market’s website lists some of the locally-based stalls, which include Walthamstow Dogs, Hanoi Kitchen, Kolkati, Hoshi, Sandwiche, Marli’s Kitchen, Artisan Foods and Shedletsky’s.

It also lists reasons why local traders may not be accepted; the market being at capacity, as is currently the case; already having too many stalls of that kind; problems with the trader’s quality, stall setup or branding; or if a trader cannot commit on a weekly basis.

It adds: “It is also worth mentioning that there are many categories of farm producers like our Leicestershire Organic Farm Butcher and Lincolnshire Fruit and Veg Farm that do not have Waltham Forest equivalents. 

“Plus there many other producer categories where we have not had any applications from Waltham Forest residents.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Lloyd Park Market organiser Max Kennedy said: “The local response to the market has been brilliant and we have an amazing loyal customer base that’s grown over the past year since we’ve opened and who will come out and support our traders, rain or shine!

“I believe there’s been a bit of confusion among one or two people, but hopefully the info on our website will answer all their questions now. 

“In terms of local trader numbers, if you compare Lloyd Park Market to a similar size local food market like Walthamstow Farmers Market, I’m pretty confident that we have more local traders from Waltham Forest and have a more proactive policy.”

Clyde Loakes, the council’s deputy leader, said the council works with all markets “to ensure that local traders have the opportunity to be involved”.

He said: “We are proud of the wide range of markets across Waltham Forest which offer shoppers a great range of products from a variety of traders. 

“We do not have a contract with the operators of Lloyd Park Market – the organisers hire the space on a month-by-month basis, like many organisations which hold events in parks.

“Since Lloyd Park Market opened local traders have been given opportunities to have a free trial stall or to see if a market stall is right for their products using the ‘guest trader initiative‘.

“Local traders and new prospective traders are encouraged to contact Lloyd Park Market for any future opportunities at the park.”