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Friends of Queen's Market warn of a new threat to much-loved local street market.

Friends of Queen's Market in Upton Park, Newham are warning of a direct threat to 110 year old traditional street market, Queen's Market from Newham Council's own planning strategy. Newham has the market down as a site for a major housing development in the newly-written 'Core Strategy' (the council's long-term planning policies for the borough).

Traders and supporters of the market only discovered from a chance tip-off that the site had been labelled a 'strategic' development site. Activist Sasha Laurel commented: ‘This amounts to a proposal to pull down our market. How else can they build so much housing?’ Supporters and others will oppose the plans during public 'Hearings' in front of a government inspector, starting Tuesday 13th September at Newham’s Dockside Building 1000.

Queen's Market will be discussed on 28 September alongside the future of the West Ham Football pitch site, where Tesco are showing a keen interest. Locals living in Upton Park feel they are being squeezed out in favour of inappropriately sized, generic developments which offer little in return as a space for social interaction. The location of the hearing has also provoked campaigners. “Why are they holding the hearing in Dockside?’ asked secretary Pauline Rowe, ‘it's a back office building that is not normally open to the public and has limited access.”

Saif Osmani of Friends of Queen's Market said:  "The protection of Queen's Market is of great concern to local people and we have already seen off a major development scheme. This traditional London street market is very popular and important because it provides for a diverse community, offering affordable healthy food and is a unique social hub. As Westfield Stratford City opens today (September 12th) the council's planning strategy risks sweeping away local people's needs, independent small shops and the community's assets.

“The 'core strategy' document is unknown to the vast majority of Newham residents and the participation process is over-technical to understand for the average Newham resident or trader, who will be directly affected by it's eventual outcome. The Council knows that once the strategy is passed, any redevelopment will be hard to question, so we’re going to fight this all the way.”

Notes to Editors:

Friends of Queen’s Market is a pressure group formed from traders and shoppers to protect and support the current market. Previous development plans including a tower block were turned down by Boris Johnson in July 2009. The scheme would have removed the present composition of market stalls and small shops. The ‘Core Strategy’ is a national requirement for borough councils when preparing their long-term planning frameworks. Core Strategies are the basis for local neighbourhood policies, which must conform to what contained within the Core Strategy.

Newham's core strategy page:

Comments raised about Queen's Market in the core strategy:

Newham Core Strategy 'Hearings' Location: Room WG 06 London Borough of Newham Council, Newham Dockside, 1000 Dockside Road, London, E16 2QU DLR station ROYAL ALBERT Buses 300, 376, 678
Arrive early to be signed in as there is strict security. If you have any trouble getting access call Ian Kemp the Hearings Clerk 07723 009166


St. Modwen Properties have thrown in the towel with their proposed redevelopment of Queens Market, East London.

Friends of Queens Market Chair, Sasha Laurel, said “It’s a great day for Friends of Queens Market and thousands of ordinary people, including shoppers, residents, shopkeepers, stall holders and the wider BME communities. We fought these property developers for 7 long years to keep our supply of fresh, affordable food, and now our market is saved”.

St. Modwens was Newham Council’s preferred developer for a regeneration scheme on the site of the 110 year old traditional London street market. Following a high profile campaign which included the collection of 12,000 signatures to stop the demolition, the anchor supermarket for the development, Asda-Walmart, pulled out in June 2006. This was the Friends of Queens Markets’ first victory.

In May 2009 a multi-million pound planning application was submitted by St. Modwen which included a 31 storey high-rise tower block on the market site with a token amount of social housing. The market was scheduled for demolition and local opinion was deeply suspicious of Newham Council’s claim that St. Modwens would rebuild the market and run it as before. This resulted in sustained grass root opposition to the plans from the local community and 2,600 individual letters of objection. Despite this unprecedented response, Newham Council approved the scheme at planning stage. Friends of Queens Market then turned to the final authority, the Greater London Assembly, where London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson deemed the development ‘inappropriate’ and threw it out - Friends of Queens Markets’ second success.

A year later, St. Modwen and Newham Council have parted company, claiming that they could not agree about a way forward. Pauline Rowe, Secretary of Friends of Queens Market commented “We will be asking a ‘Freedom of Information’ question to find out how much taxpayers money was wasted on this unwanted scheme, which always had the backing of our Mayor Sir Robin Wales.



Photographs and interviews are available on request. For these and more information:

Pauline Rowe, Secretary, Friends of Queens Market – 07903 374 009

Saif Osmani, Co-ordinator - 07915 234 404

Sasha Laurel, Chair - 07956 649 696


BREAKING NEWS: 13.05.2009


LondonMayor Boris Johnson and the Greater London Authority have REJECTED theSt. Modwen scheme to demolish Queen's Market and pile on'inappropriate' tower blocks on the historic site.

Mayor rejects ‘inappropriate’ plans for Queen’s Market redevelopment

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnsonhas today directed Newham Council to refuse planning permission forplans to redevelop Queen’s Market in Upton Park, which include theconstruction of a 96 metre high residential tower block.

When plans were submitted to theMayor for consultation in May 2008, the applicant was advised that theydid not conform with the London Plan on several counts, including thequality of the design of the proposed tower.The applicant subsequently revisedthe plans but these still failed to address the Mayor’s concerns on theappearance and, in particular the attractiveness of the proposed tower.

The plans also failed to demonstrate that a tall building of the designproposed would be appropriate on the site.The Mayor said:“I have carefully considered thisapplication. However, it is obvious that a tower of this size, so muchhigher than any existing tall buildings in the area, is neitherattractive or in proportion or suited to any of the surroundingbuildings, streets or the general urban realm of Newham.“I am not opposed to the improvementsto Queen’s Market, but I am against this inappropriate tower and have,therefore, instructed Newham not to approve these current plans.”

To download a copy of the Mayor’s Planning Decision visit



11.05.2009: PRESS RELEASE


The future of Queen’s Market in Upton Park, one of the last remaining traditional London street markets, is to be determined by Boris Johnson, after a planning application by St. Modwen Properties was approved by Newham councillors.

Long – running campaign Friends of Queens Market say the plans directly threaten the existence of the 110-year-old market which sells a wide range of affordable, healthy and diverse produce in one of the poorest London boroughs. Three-year building work would mean a split-site temporary market, with a reduction in shops and stalls that would force 40% of traders out. Rents have already begun to rise in some cases by 100% under the management of developer St. Modwen, who run shopping centres in Edmonton and Hatfield. Strong local opposition to the developers’ involvement on the site began in 2006 with a 12,000 signature petition and there were over 2,600 letters of objection to the current scheme. A 31-storey tower and two 15-storey blocks are proposed to house small mainly private flats with the market space reinstalled under a ‘podium’ level.    

Last Year Queen’s Market won second prize for the UK’s best market in BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards and is “London’s most ethnically diverse” (New Economics Foundation report 2006). The NEF specified low rent as key to the market’s success. Objectors state that while retaining the market in name the developers will have no obligation to safeguard its present affordability, character and culture.

“If Boris refuses this permission he will give the chance for a better development solution that does not threaten the existence of the market itself. We should let the traders and shopkeepers get on with their jobs - cheap, affordable healthy food is needed now more than ever.” 
Mr Iqbal Chohan

“London’s markets are disappearing fast under the guise of regeneration and local communities are continually priced out of urban regeneration projects. This has got to stop.”
Bibi Patel, supporter of Queen’s Market and Friends of Queen’s Market 

“The decision will show whether Boris Johnson is serious on his pledge to keep London a world city, retaining its special character and supporting small enterprises in one of London’s most deprived boroughs. Londoners will thank the Mayor for not handing over another of our unique market places and putting them at risk.” 
Pauline Rowe.

Yours sincerely, 

Saif Osmani
 07915 234 404
On behalf of Friends of Queen’s Market    

Notes for Editors:

The proposed development next to Upton Park tube includes a 31 storey tower; two 15-storey tower blocks. Market space with retail around the ground and mezzanine floors is under a landscaped podium level. 350 units of housing, 89% is 1-bed and 2-bed. Affordable element very low at 16%. Architects are PRP. The temporary market on two sites would provide 116 stalls (currently 150 stalls) and approx 5 shop spaces (currently 42 shops and 10 kiosks). Therefore the overall reduction in traders is approximately 40 %. A five year ‘rent freeze’ is proposed for stalls: this is an unknown figure as rent is frozen at the time when building work begins.

Newham Council’s planning report cites negative impacts in the following areas: housing mix, lack of open space, loss of light, health, education, wind, noise, air quality, transport, parking. CABE described buildings as ‘bulky and overbearing’. The GLA’s Stage 1 report said the scheme did not comply with the London Plan. Newham councillors approved the scheme on April 22 by a vote of 7 to 1.

In the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards 2008, judges looked for ‘excellent produce’ and ‘making a difference to the local community’ and described Queens’ Market as the ‘throbbing bustling hub of a truly multi-ethnic area’. 


Press Release - 15th September 2008
Boris plans incognito visit to East Endmarket    

The Mayor of London has announced plans to visit Queen's Market, Upton Park. Such has been the controvers ysurrounding the London Borough of Newham 's proposals for the market site that Boris Johnson has pledged to visit London's most ethnically diverse market incognito.The Olympic host borough has alreadybeen ridiculed for refusing permission for a South Korean film crew tofilm in Queen's Market on the grounds of supposed political sensitivity. Local campaigners have welcomed the news that the GLA are to look into the threat to London's street markets. Having been accused of neglecting Queen's Market will Newham Council now begin a deep clean or mount a 24 hour Boris Watch?    

Press Release issued by the Friends of Queen's Market - 15th September 2008


PRESS RELEASE– 16th July 2008

St Modwen’s woes mount  

Self-styled regeneration specialists St Modwen Properties having announced an interim loss of £20 million (14/7/08) is heading for a more turbulent time than most. The normally sure-footed developer has become entangled in a number of highly controversial schemes that have brought the company a wealth of negative publicity. StModwen has already had to cut £37.7 million from the book value of its residential sites and £16.9 million off its commercial portfolio. Yet the torrid times look set to be acerbated by a number of high profile PR disasters they seem to indicate a lack of judgment:  

1) Queen’s Market, Upton Park – where St Modwen is perceived to be threatening London ’s most ethnically diverse street market.

 2) Middle Quinton, Warwickshire –the developer has raised hackles over the whole Eco-towndebate.  

3)   Coombeswood Green Wedge, WestMidlands – where St Modwen’s ‘green’ credentials have been described “as only being spin deep”.

 Considerable difficulties have also emerged in Bognor, Farnborough, Hatfield and Walthamstow. Landslides happen when small stones start to move and it would appear that more than a few boulders have already come loose. 

Press Release
Issued by the Friends of Queen’s Market – 16th July 2008

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Press Release-  30th May 2008


On Saturday 24th May 2008, Friend of Queen’s Market held a stall at Queen’s Market notifying locals of the St. Modwen’s development for the site which could see the 100 year old, much-loved market demolished, rebuilt to halfits current size, surrounded by high-rise flats, some up to 15 and 30 storeyshigh.

“We have not been given a clear picture of the proposals- I don’t want to see the small local shops in the market disappear... the market should not be reduced, it’s crying out for more space, it should be getting bigger” said Zainab Mirza who comes to shop at the market from East Ham. Friends of Queen’s Market say computer generated images are misleading and have been manipulated to obscure the heights of the flats which could see parts of Green Street heavily overshadowed, denying them of direct sunlight.
Muslim residents in neighbouring Harold Road have complained of their gardens being peered over by the potential flat occupiers. Jean Lambert, Green MEP attended the event to speak to locals on the need of asustainable and carbon-neutral options in an already heavily congested area like Green Street. She even managing to pick up some cheap fruit and vegetables along the way. Sham Miah of Friends of Queen’s Market, the campaign which represents the views of shoppers, traders and local people alike said “we’ve had almost 160 objection letters in less than 2 hours which clearly shows that locals still do not agree with the proposals which is likely to increase traffic, air and noise pollution. A climate of economic uncertainty, house prices and development slowdown is also worrying shoppers. "Local people have until 30th May to respond but can make objection up until the day of committee. Please send your objections to Officer Sunil Sahadevan at Newham’s Planning department.

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Press Release- 18th December 2007

It’s the law! By law Newham Council must do a Race Equality Impact Assessment before putting forward their planning application for the market.  They have to show that  their plans won’t discriminate against minorities and will promote harmonious race relations. So what does the current Equality Assessment say? Amazingly this document, drawn up by Newham Council officials admits that ‘there maybe a gap in terms of the proposal having a greater adverse effect on those on low incomes depending on the provision of affordable food. Similarly there may be a gap depending on the provision of speciality food catering for BME groups.’  The campaign is receiving help from the Rights & Justice Centre at Friends of the Earth.  And now an embarrassed Newham Council has promised a fresh Equalities Assessment before the planning application goes in. If this is done properly – and if it isn’t there could be a legal challenge – the Friends of Queens Market believe that it will show that the new proposals simply can’t deliver. 
‘Everytime we have a stall in the market people say they support us ‘ says campaign activist Ram Chadda  ‘ we’ll use every weapon to save our market: petitions, demonstrations and now  - the Race Relations Act!’ 

Press release issued by the Friends of Queen's Market

For further details about the campaign visit the above website or contact:- Contact:Saif Osmani Tel 07915234404 

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Press Release - 12th April 2007

Cyberspace Cause Celebre Thecampaign to save Queen's Market, Upton Park has become such a phenomenal success that it is now resonating across cyberspace. As the campaign enters its fourth year the Friends of Queen's Market have re-launched their website in order to help other communities up against negligent local authorities and rapacious property developers. Interest has flooded in from a-field as Australia, Germany and the USA. "It is extraordinary the interest that we are receiving. Our campaign has become areal cause celebre. Researchers, food writers, photographers and fellow campaigners all seem to want to know more about London's most ethnically diverse market." reports Saif Osmani, the website editor. "As the Friends of Queen's Market we are more than happy to set out our cyberstall.The positivity we are receiving has really inspired to move things up a gear. No wonder the Mayor of Newham and his developer friends at St Modwen Properties Plc are on the backfoot big time" continues Mr Osmani.

Press release issued by the Friends of Queen's Market

For further details about the campaign visit the above website or contact:-

Saif Osmani:- Tel 07915234404


PressRelease - 16th June 2006

Supermarket giant throws in the towel

Asda-Walmart have announced that they are pulling out of the hugely controversial scheme for Queen's Market, Upton Park. It is clear that sustained pressure coupled with compelling data produced by the New Economics Foundation has resulted in Asda-Walmart throwing in the towel. Newham Council's plans for London's most ethnically diverse market have been fiercely resisted from the outset. To many the proposals championed by Newham's mayor are seen as a genuine threat to social cohesion. It has also become clear that the council scheme fails to make economic sense. Some 12,000 shoppers have signed a petition (the largest in Newham's history) against the plans.Traders and campaigners alike are ecstatic about the news that Asda-Walmart have pulled out and now believe that it is only a matter of time before the whole projectis scrapped. The proposed developers, Edgbaston-based St Modwen Properties Plc are already facing problems over Edmonton Green Market and Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre. St Modwen had planned to demolish the existing covered street market and replace it with an Asda-Walmart superstore, over 220 executive apartments and a market-in-a-mall. Local people feel there has been minimal consultation and are angry that the Mayor of Newham seems intent on foisting his detested scheme on their market. A Friends of Queen's Market spokesman reacted to the Asda-Walmart capitulation as follows:-"This is a stunning victory when you think of what we are up against. We have seen off Asda, now we need to see off St Modwen Properties, for they have already ruined Edmonton Green Market and we're not going to allow them to ruin our thriving market. As for Sir Robin Wales and Newham Council, well their arrogance and pig headedness beggars belief. Sooner or later they will have to face up to reality, people don't want this appalling and ill-conceived scheme and we will fight this all the way." For further details of the campaign visit:- or Mark TJones    Tel 07989362286


PRESS RELEASE - 21/3/2006

Friends of Queen's Market respond to the Mayor's signing of the Development Agreement with St Modwen We have read the Mayor of Newham's latest statement on the future of Queen's Market. We have no details of the agreement he has signed. Those should be published so we can see exactly what is involved and assess their significance. He also needs to state clearly the sum of money the council will make from the sale of this public asset. Furthermore, we are indignant at the omissions which characterise the Mayor's statements and which are evident in his press release. Instead of £75 million he could spend £5.5 million and have a modernised, unique and publicly owned real market where people already love to shop. Under this scheme no local shops would be lost and the emergent businesses and jobs retained. He doesn't mention that trade will be disrupted for 2-3 years and precious parking spacesl ost increasing the already chronic shortage and cutting trade severely. Residents will be subjected to huge increases in traffic, including delivery lorries, for long hours every day, increasing pollution in this dangerously polluted borough. There isnever any reference to the fact that traders will have to pay service chargesand the shops will have their rents increased two to three times immediately with a huge effect on prices. They will also have to contend with the favoured position being offered to Asda surrounded by car parks while they are a lift orstair journey away.The Mayorclaims the building will have a strong 'international character'. In fact it has no merit at all and its only international characteristic is that it can befound anywhere! No-one will visit it from outside Newham because everyone has one! All it will do for Upton Park station will be to plunge it into everlasting gloom as it blots out the sun.In all surveys there has never been any enthusiasm for an Asda or posh apartments.What Newham needs are family homes, not 1 & 2 bedroom flats at £200,000+.What kind of cynic offers these first to the people of Newham when much of Newham cannot aspire to ownership of any sort ? In conclusion, the intervention of Anthony Glossop, the St Modwen Chairman, is very revealing. St Modwen's flagship market at Edmonton is a plae shadow of its former self with reduced trade, higher prices and, reportedly, falling rents, always an indicator of things going badly.St Modwen Properties Plc far from being a model developer are more often than not associated with controversy than they are with social housing and environmentally friendly architecture. Sir Robin Wales has put St Modwen shareholders before the people of Newham. Although this company have not published the results of their first consultation two years ago, they now promise another. Fine words, but we'll believe it when we see it. Anthony Glossop will be in good company. The Mayor has promised further consultation on his plans, but a sign over the market says he is building a better market. What's the point of a consultation when he's already given us the answer! He thinks that this signals the end of our campaign. In fact it is only just beginning.


Issued by the Friends of Queen's Market


PRESS RELEASE - 1/2/2006 

Far from Saintly

It is interesting to note that the private developer that Sir Robin Wales is hell-bent on foisting onto Queen's Market is itself no stranger to controversy. Had Newham Councillors bothered to do their job properly they would have soon discovered just how unsuitable Birmingham-based St Modwen Properties Plc are. St Modwen promote themselves as 'regeneration' specialists; if nothing else they certainly have an eye for a bargain.  "It is one of relatively few property companies to recognise the importance of getting into brownfield sites, where planning permissions and assistance grants are easy to secure."Growth Company Investor Ltd In recentyears their shareholders have done very well from St Modwen preying on cash strapped local authorities prepared to 'flog off the family silver'. The acquisition of designated brownfield sites has become something of a St Modwen speciality. Yet, the St Modwen cure-all rarely tends to live up to thepromotional literature, hype and promises. Thelitany of controversy includes developments and proposed developments at:- Dudley Castle and Zoo, Farnborough Town Centre, Stoke City Football Club, Swindon Town Football Club, The WestPier- Brighton. The hugely controversial St Modwen proposals for Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre have been referred to the Commission for Racial Equality and as for the disastrous redevelopment at Edmonton Green Market, well this has already sounded the death knell for innunerable small and ethnic minority businesses. The Mayor of Newham claims he is offering local people a high quality development featuring an iconic building, he evidently has a very different definition of "quality" to the rest of us. The St Modwen plans for Queen's Market show a bland off-the-peg design with a few ethnic motifs tacked on as an after-thought to appease critics. It is worth noting thatthe initial St Modwen artist impressions showed London's most ethnically diverse market to befrequented by white shoppers only!  True to form the consultation has been at best limited and has often resembled something of a loaded dice. To date the obfuscation of Newham Council and St Modwen in regard to rents, service charges, parking and social housing has understandably added to the concern of traders, shoppers and residents alike. If SirRobin Wales gets his way St Modwen Properties Plc and their friends from Asda/WalMart will be the death of Queen's Market. It is time for a re-think and sensitive refurbishment. The people of Newham deserve better and the Friends of Queen's Market and many others will campaign to ensure that they get it.  

PRESSRELEASE Issued by the Friends of Queen's Market 

Contact:-Mark T Jones    Tel07989362286


Friends of Queen's Market -  PRESS RELEASE - 1st January 2006 


Markets throughout the country are busy putting themselves on a professional footing. An integral part of this being a concerted and on-going marketing strategy. So why in Newham when it comes to Queen's Market should things be any different? To date Newham Council has made no effort to promote London's most ethnically diverse market. Why is this? This indifference is all the more shocking as the advent of the London Food Strategy makes the promotion of the market a matter of urgency. The Mayor of Newham claims to care about Queen's Market, but the evidence seems to pointing the opposite direction. Sir Robin Wales has a duty to ensure that the council institutes a thorough marketing plan for the existing market. Unless that is he would prefer to create the impression that the current market's days are numbered. Why is there no signage directing people towards Queen's Market? Where is the advertising on London transport, in newspapers or on the radio? Markets such as those at Barking, Borough and Romford all know the value and importance of marketing, even East Ham Market is publicised, so why the neglect of Newham's premier market? We trust that 2006 will see exciting and imaginative marketing ideas that will do justice to that gem of the East End we know as Queen's Market. 

PRESS RELEASE Issued by the Friends of Queen's Market 

Contact:-Mark T Jones Tel. 07989362286


Friendsof Queen's Market - PRESS RELEASE - 15th December  

Why the rush ? The Friends of Queen's Market wish to express their concern about Sir Robin Wales's unseemly rush to sign a 're-development' deal with Birmingham based property developers - St.Modwen Properties Plc. In common with many other people we would like to knowwhy the Mayor of Newham is in such a hurry on this issue. This haste is all the more disturbing in the light of the considerable disquiet that exists about the Mayor's proposals for London's most ethnically diverse market. To date there has still only been very limited consultation with shoppers, traders and residents. It is also a matter of grave concern that there has been little or no consideration given to the impact of the Wales/ St.Modwen Proposals on local businesses or the ethnic minority communities that make up the vast majority ofthe shoppers at Queen's Market. FoQM welcome the interim findings and recommendations of the Telco Commission of Enquiry . We trust that Newham Council will take a leaf out of Telco's book andmake a conscious effort to reach out to all communities on this issue. Furthermore, it is clear that the Council needs to give serious consideration to the refurbishment option. Queen's Market is a precious London asset that is thriving and profitable despite continued neglect by Newham Council. An issue as important as the future of Queen's Market warrants a measured and sensitive response. So why the rush Sir Robin ? 

 Issued by the Friends of Queen's Market  

Contact:- Mark T Jones    Tel.07989362286

Queen's Market is unique in being the most ethnically diverse market in Britain. Seek out this world of shopping in one place. There area wealth of bargains to be had at Queen's Market. Have you visited yet ?