Concerns over plans to redevelop Willesden Market site

A market trader who has been serving the community for nearly 25 years fears he will lose his business for good when the site is redeveloped.

Barry Ellis is concerned that locals will take their trade to big supermarkets when Willesden Market in Church Road is cleared to make way for flats.

Last week Brent Council agreed to sell the site to Catalyst Housing Association (CHA) but assured traders they will be given a home at the new development.

In 2006, the Times fought a successful battle to save the 28-year-old market after the owners of its previous site were given planning permission for flats.

The council relocated it to a rundown car park around the corner where it has been trading ever since.

Mr Ellis says that shutting down the market while it is being rebuilt will spell disaster for his and other businesses.

He said: “When they moved us round the corner it hit trade, so what do you think is going to happen if we are out of business until they redevelop the site?

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“People will go up the road to Tesco and to other shops and they won’t come back.”

Gary Saunders, market manager, wants an assurance that the market will be a priority for the new developers.

He said: “In the rush to develop it would be nice to think they may stop and give consideration to this busy and vibrant market.”

The council is expecting a planning application from CHA by the end of the year detailing the make-up of the building plans for the new market and management arrangements for traders.

Mr Saunders said: “We have been given assurances there will be a continuation of the market.

“We are just hoping they don’t move the goalposts.”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Brent Council’s Lead Member for Resources, said: “The market will be staying in the new developed site. It will be given a new space that will have new and enhanced facilities.”

It will be a much improved location for stallholders and customers, he said.