Beloved Wembley Sunday Market closed for the foreseeable future
- Credit: Archant
A vibrant market which has been operating in Wembley for more than four decades has been forced to close for the foreseeable future or face footing a £20,000 fine.
Brent Council handed Wendy Fair Market, which runs the popular Wembley Market by the former Unisys Towers in Brentfield, with a stop notice, which has prevented it from operating on the site since last Sunday.
Failure to comply could result in the five-figure penalty.
Town hall bosses previously served the company with an enforcement notice on May 19, claiming the market had created highways disruption, parking problems in nearby streets and inconvenience to surrounding residents.
But Tessa Darby, a Wendy Fair Markets director, has panned the decision, claiming that issues have been exaggerated.
“Issuing a ‘stop notice’ is quite draconian,” she said. “It is like hitting a small cat with a sledgehammer; it is over the top.”
The market previously operated from an area next to the iconic Wembley Stadium, in Empire Way, for more than 41 years, before being ousted out by landowners Quintain in favour for the multi-million pound London Designer’s Outlet centre.
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Wendy Fair Market - which has appealed against the stop notice to the Planning Inspectorate - has submitted a planning application to the council for a temporary change of use for its current Stonebridge site.
“We are hoping that the market can carry on there. If not we will be in search for another site,” Ms Darby said.
“We have tried to locate suitable premises before but it is very difficult to find one within Greater London.”
If unsuccessful, it will mean an end to a market which - according to Ms Darby - has seen self-made enterprising juggernauts Richard Branson and Lord Sugar have trading from stalls back in the day.
She continued: “The market is extremely special, you just need to take a look at the people who started here.
“It provides a platform for people from all backgrounds to set up shop and start their businesses from one of our stalls.”
A council spokesman told the Times the problems associated with the site had become significantly worse as the market has become more popular –with highway safety concerns and disruption to residents being particularly worrying.
She continued: “Stop notices are used sparingly, but in this case the problems are serious enough to warrant the immediate cessation of the market prior to the appeal being determined.”