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Anti-gentrification campaigners see off developers to protect historic market street

Plans to knock down an indoor market in Hackney’s Ridley Road and build luxury flats have been defeated after a three-year community campaign.

The future of one of east London’s most famous market streets has been secured after a community campaign saw off plans to build luxury flats.

Ridley Road Market is the beating heart of Dalston in Hackney, and controversial plans to redevelop the indoor Ridley Road Shopping Village in 2018 sparked a huge backlash from anti-gentrification campaigners.

The developer, Rainbow Properties, subsequently withdrew its proposals and has now agreed to let Hackney Council take over the running of the market on a 15-year lease. The building will be refurbished, with existing traders allowed to stay in place.

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“By acquiring a lease for the privately-owned indoor market at the Ridley Road Shopping Village – home to a number of independent businesses and traders and which has previously been under threat from redevelopment – the council can support local traders and businesses and strengthen Ridley Road’s long-term future,” Hackney mayor Philip Glanville said.

The council had taken a tough stance on the plans for the indoor market, and listed it as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) following a campaign by the Save Ridley Road group. Campaigners had argued the redevelopment would mark the beginning of the end for the famous market street because traders on the outdoor stalls – already managed by the council – would lose access to essential storage facilities in the building.

Glanville added: “Bringing the shopping village and the street market together under the council’s stewardship will strengthen Ridley Road’s position at the heart of Dalston’s economy for the long-term – they will complement each other and will both be managed in the interests of local traders, businesses and residents.”

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Save Ridley Road welcomed the news, tweeting: “After years of uncertainty and so much work by so many this is a HUGE victory. For traders, campaigners, the whole borough.”

The group added: “There’s a lot still to be clarified. We want to see traders involved in every step of the process as the council takes over the Indoor Market. But this is still a MASSIVE victory for anti-gentrification campaigners across Hackney and the whole city. So let’s celebrate it!”

Save Ridley Road member Danny Hayward said he was delighted years of campaigning had paid off.

He added: “There’s a lot that still needs to be made clear here, but we view this as a major victory for Save Ridley Road and anti-gentrification campaigners across the city.”

Mohamed Barry, a trader at the indoor market, told The Big Issue: “It’s good news. I’m happy about it because the only way this market will pick up again is if something different happens to bring people back. Refurbishing it and giving us new stalls will help.”

Under the plans, approved on Monday night, the council will take on the lease and management of the ground floor market and its 40 stalls. The workspaces on the first and second floors, used by artists, will be retained by Rainbow Properties. The council says it is in talks with Rainbow Properties about supporting the artists.

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