A group of New Covent Garden Market tenants this morning staged a protest outside the Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA) buildings to highlight new concerns with the redevelopment.
Inadequate access to the market and too few parking spaces in the new multi-story carpark were among the concerns raised, as well as disruption from accelerated works across the market. “This morning there was a 20-minute demonstration. It was very well-behaved, no placards and no swearing,” said chairman of the tenants’ association, Gary Marshall.
“No one from the board came out to speak with us, except [new chief executive] Daniel Tomkinson. Board member Bill Edgerley was passing by and was asked some questions. None of the other board members would come out.”
Marshall said that the tenants’ association has also been refused access to two CGMA board meetings that it had requested to attend, which he said showed a refusal to engage.
CGMA communications manager Alastair Owen said Tomkinson had met with the tenants’ association yesterday (19 September) at their request, to hear concerns, and said Tomkinson would respond to these but required time to look into them. “They were not happy with this, and as a result asked to attend the board meeting today,” Owen said. “We have one board meeting every two months with a completely packed agenda that is planned weeks in advance. We need advance warning to cover issues, so the meeting is conducive to everyone.”
Marshall said the redeveloped multi-story carpark will have 400 spaces too few, while the proposed single access road to the market is not adequate.
“The market was blocked by trader vehicles this morning, to demonstrate that one access road is not adequate. If anything happens on that road, the market is gridlocked,” he said.
Owen said the new market will have a total of 579 spaces, and this was calculated on the shift-pattern of work at the market. “We know there are issues and we are working on them. We’re not the only market with one access road, many others have just one road to enter and exit. We also have an emergency route leading to Wandsworth Road, which is used for customers of the flower market but also available if there was an emergency.”
“They should voice their concerns, just in the right medium,” he added.
Marshall said the tenants are now seeking legal representation about how to begin a judicial review.