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.
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 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.