A new report has slammed East London’s markets and high streets as ‘slowly dying’ and pointed to factors including vacant properties and high crime rates.
The report by the Association of Town and City Management in collaboration with the Retail Group tested nine areas across East London on 20 categories.
Crossharbour and Bromley-by-Bow were the only two areas where high crime rates were not reported and Tower Hamlets council, which commissioned the report, said it would invest in all nine areas to tackle the issues raised.
“By investing in public realm and safety improvements we’ll support thriving places like Brick Lane and Columbia Road flower market to retain their status as key destinations,” said Joshua Peck, Tower Hamlets cabinet member for economic growth.
East London’s iconic Brick Lane attracts tourists and visitors in droves, particularly on the weekends when countless cuisines are offered at the market and bicycle tours stop to ogle at the colourful street art on show.
However the report criticised Brick Lane for the large amount of vacant properties and ‘unhealthy’ businesses, while nearby Whitechapel Road was criticised for the high number of gambling and take-away shops.
Brick Lane, or ‘Banglatown’, is known for the large number Bangladeshi restaurants but even these fell victim to the report which found poor food hygiene standards in many.
Across East London many stores have tatty shop fronts and missing signage and the report found the attractiveness of all nine areas needed a boost, while only one of the seven street markets reviewed, Watney Market, had more than 50% of its possible stall space occupied.
However the report did highlight the good access to all nine areas as well as a strong community spirit in Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, Roman Road East and Chrisp Street.