The large street market that runs along the main road outside Whitechapel station in East London is about to get a major makeover, and a consultation is currently open about the plans.

Depending on your perspective about such things, the street market is either an eyesore that should be swept away, or a vital ingredient to the cultural heart of the area.

The market today – from the consultation document

Apart from the market stalls themselves, the area has lacked investment in recent years, with a lot of street clutter having built up and repairs not carried out. As part of a £9.3 million funding deal from the central government, the council has outlined plans to revamp the street to improve the area.

What’s likely to happen if the plans are approved is that a large number of the temporary market stalls will be scrapped to be replaced with permanent lock-up shops, along with some temporary stalls retained in places.

Where the street market is also a largely continuous line of stalls, breaks will be introduced into the market for seating areas and new planting. The rest of the shabby street furniture is also to be cleaned up and new stone pavements laid down to replace the rough tarmac that currently makes up the paved areas.

Visually though, the biggest change will be the line of market stalls, replacing the view from the new Town Hall of a random array of striped canvas tents with a uniform row of lock-up stalls.

It’ll be cleaner, tidier, more ordered, and doubtless, the market traders will appreciate the better weatherproofing offered by the permanent stalls. But it will also be a bit blander and a bit more uniform, lacking the visual character that dominates the market today.

The market proposed – from the consultation document

The consultation is open until Sunday 9th January here.

The Whitechapel Road Improvement Programme (WRIP) covers the area of Whitechapel Road from the junctions with New Road and Vallance Road, to Cambridge Heath Road and Sydney Street.

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7 comments
  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    That picture is amazing, it somehow manages to miss off the dual carriageway road that’s there!

  2. Oli says:

    A shame that the proposals miss the opportunity to improve one of the worst parts of Cycleway 2 (eastbound between Vallance Road and Cambridge Heath Road).

    • Mike Levy. says:

      Terrible!
      Another attempt at stripping away and sanitizing the old East End. Leave well enough alone! This market has been going as it is for virtual centuries! Leave it the fuck alone! BLYMIE!

  3. Mart says:

    All I say is good luck to them. It is only 10 years since it was last done for High Street 2012 where it had £1.5M spent on. New lighting was installed, power and water made available to all stall holders (but no one wanted to pay the running costs for), and bin stores were installed that no one used. Fixed stalls were proposed but the logistics of maintaining an operating market while decanting stall holders to other sites, the issues with the amount of utilities in the ground and the shallow tube tunnel made it all impossible to do. Black mastic asphalt was proposed at the time as stone paving as proposed now would have got ruined by the effluents coming out of some of the stalls. The main issue the market had was lack of enforcement of stall size and refuse. I see the concrete tree stump has lasted in he photos though.

  4. Ian Thomas says:

    Rather than a load of money being spent. What about a clean up and a bit of waste management. That area is filthy and everything is caked in graffiti. Just awful. Clean the place up I say.

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