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Campaigning to save London's most ethnically diverse market.


Fresh, affordable food matters.

Queen's Market, Upton Park is a thriving and profitable covered street market. Situated in the East End it has been in existence for over a century and is the heart of a vibrant community that draws in people from across London and beyond. Famed for its affordable and culturally appropriate produce, it is much more than just a market, it is a living information exchange and a communal space. Queen's Market is an important centre of employment, it also brings in millions of pounds into the local economy. It exudes entrepreneurial spirit, tolerance and good humour. Little wonder then that Londoners love it. Sadly, it is now under direct threat due to the arrogance, neglect  and irresponsibility of Newham Council.

"The diversity is remarkable enough, but maybe even more remarkable are the prices - everything is eye-wateringly cheap. Asda's Price Promise would be laughed at here. In an area like this, with so many people living on very low wages, this is not just convenient, it is vital."

An extract from Real England - Paul Kingsnorth (Portobello Books, 2008)

Local people are determined to resist the Sir Robin Wales' (Mayor of Newham) scheme to foist the far from saintly St Modwen Properties Plc onto them.

As featured on Power of the Web, BBC Radio 4 (25/11/2007)


London's disappearing markets

We wish to see London's most ethnically diverse market cherished, promoted and celebrated.


Photograph by Adrian Arbib

The Campaign

Friends of Queen's Market are working to save Queen's Market and wish to see it cherished and promoted. We have a constructive vision of the future of the market, one that sees a full appreciation of its unique character and that makes the most of its potential. Such has been the success of our campaign that Asda-WalMart have pulled out of the hugely controversial Wales/St Modwen scheme. Yet more remains to be done, not least to ensure that cupidity and stupidity are not allowed to triumph.

Our campaign is growing all the time and we are determined to expand it to save Queen's Market and the Queens' pub from the rapacious clutches of property developer - St. Modwen Properties Plc.

"Its business operates at the murkier end of development - taking on cheap land needing to be cleaned up and optaining planning consent, for expensive residential properties."

Financial Times, Daniel Thomas & Jeremy Lever St Modwen feels onset of Property Slump, 11/2/08

Beware Modwenisation - it may be threatening an area near you !


Photograph by Adrian Arbib

Be sure to explore the rest of our website to find out more about council skullduggery and things St Modwen would prefer you not to know.


Thus far, Sir Robin Wales (Mayor of Newham) has totally ignored local feelings on this issue. There is considerable disquiet within the ruling Labour council, but many Labour councillors are frightened to speak out.,,1838840,00.html,,1838910,00.html

Facts about the Robinocracy of Newham

61% of Newham's population is from non-white ethnic groups (Census 2001)

Unemployment is over 11% (Census 2001)

35% of the local population have no qualifictions (Census 2001)

In excess of 10% of the local population are loan parents (Census 2001)

49% of households have no care (Census 2001)

Over 12% of households have 1.5 persons per room (Census 2001)

The area falls with the top 20% of the most deprived in relation to housing and services (Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007)



100 year-old, covered street-market, 140 small businesses comprising shops, kiosks and stalls fronting onto Green Street, adjacent Upton Park Tube and  bus-stop. Open Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat. 1960s block with incongruous later cladding, late 1960's brick built Queens' pub, densely populated residential area, Edwardian terraces. Profit is subsidising markets  at Stratford and Canning Town both of  which are failing as a consequence of insensitive 'regeneration'.

Traders' working conditions antediluvian: hand-collected rents; until recently no market inspector for 7 years; leaky roof; cheapskate awning; few litter-bins; minimal signage; unwashed floors; surrounding streets, pavements, gutters permanently squalid; inadequate system of refuse removal; failure to re-decorate; dilatory maintenance , examples include tardy action to unblock sewer, leaving raw sewage  in open street. Sir Robin openly disdains the market,  boasting proudly that he never shops there.

Leadership claims Queen's Market is somehow responsible for the surrounding detritus and maintain it encourages criminal activities due to faulty design. Experts tell us the simple, permeable structure is ideally suited to purpose. The constabulary say there is no more and no less crime in the market area than anywhere else in Newham and have given the campaign their full support.  The market straddles  West Ham, East Ham and Boleyn Wards.

Market stalls have licenses while the kiosks and  shops are leased. Under the terms of the stalls’ licences the council may not make a profit, the shops however generate £240,000 profit per annum. This is allocated to the Commercial and Industrial account, covering all Newham commercial properties, which the council  will not  release. The appearance of market suggests no pattern of regular reinvestment.

Furthermore, Newham Council seems determined to maginalise the market as much as possible; it does nor feature in the council's Discover Newham booklet and has been effectively airbrushed out of the Newham Food Strategy. When in August 2007 a South Korean Film crew requested permission to film in the market the council denied them permission on the grounds of "political sensitivity". It is quite clear Newham Council has much to hide and plenty to feel ashamed of!



Directly elected 'New Labour' Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, until recently had the support of 59 New Labour councillors.  For much of our campaign the sole opposition was Councillor, Alan Craig, CPA, he is a member of  Friends of Queen's Market and a tireless champion of non-invasive refurbishment. April 2005, written ban issued to all Labour councillors on any discussion of QM in full council and the whip is always out. Debate is not in any case a feature of  full council meetings and those  councillors who are unhappy about the regeneration of QM  are not  prepared to risk de-selection. Up until May 2006 apart from opposition councillor Alan Craig, who has repeatedly put down motions, only Joseph Ejiofor (Boleyn Ward), had put questions highlighting the damaging impact of the multinational giants on retail diversity and small local businesses. All discussion has now been closed down at community forum level.  The three Newham MPs (all Labour) Lynn Browne, Jim Fitzpatrick and Stephen Timms all support Robin Wales.

The Mayorial and council elections of May 2006. CPA, Green, Conservative, Respect and Lib. Dem. Parties were all against regeneration and are represented on the committee of Friends of Queen's Market. They all worked  to  make Queen's Market a pivotal issue and there are now six opposition councillors (3 for the CPA and 3 for Respect) . It is worth noting that since Sept 2005 three Labour councillors (Mike Law, Sarah Ruiz and Abdul Karim Sheikh BEM) have resigned from the Labour Party all citing dissatisfaction with the Sir Robin Wales and his seeming contempt for democracy.


Queen's Market has already become an issue in the London Mayoral Election.

October 2006 saw St Modwen finally get around to revealing the revised plans for the their development. The venue chosen by Newham Council and the developers for the three day exhibition was West Ham United Football Club - not a place frequented by Asian or African women shoppers.  Senior council officials and Labour councillors were conspicuous by their absence, all rather strange really as the local community has been told time and time again that this development is going to be a wonderful development for Newham.

It now transpires that as well as some 370 dwellings (the original estimate was 146!) are planned and furthermore, the Queens' pub (popular watering-hole with home and away football fans) is to demolished and will not be replaced. For all the additional colour on the drawings, they were certainly light on specifics. Traders were horrified to discover that St Modwen were still unwilling to reveal exact facts and figures, claiming that these still needed to be calculated and negotiated with the Council. It is evident that 'consultation' has been largely bogus and a sham, deliberatley orchestrated to get the answers that the council and its developer friends want to hear.



Both Anthony Glossop, Chairman of St Modwen, and Tim Seddon, St Modwen Regional Director, London and South East have made much of a double-sided pledge card entitled; Regional proposals for Queens Market Autumn 2006. One side is addressed to the market traders and includes such nonsense as:-

"Market rents will be frozen for 5 years from the opeing of the new market."(St Modwen conveniently forgot to mention that this only applies to the stalls, not to the shops and kiosks and that anyway a new charge will be levied in the form of service charge)

"Increased footfall throughout the market leading to increased custom and a thriving market for the future." (Hardly a pledge, more an aspiration)

It continues in a similar vein. On the other side it is address to the residents of Newham and states amongst other things that;

"A transparent and comprehensive consultation will be carried out." (What little consultation that has taken place thus far has been at best opaque, at worse has bordered on choreography and spin)

For some reason there is no mention of the 150 year lease or the 370 apartments.

The Newham Council and St Modwen logos feature next to these words; "The principle behind these pledges is a fair deal for residents and traders." Messrs Glossop and Seddon are well aware that these pledges have no basis in law and are not worth the paper they are printed on.


Photograph by Adrian Arbib

Yvette Essen  of the Daily Telegraph has described St Modwen as a "hopper". The company is often locust-like, taking what it wants and then moving on, leaving locals  to face the consequences and councils wringing their hands.


Campaign group in favour of gradual, non-invasive, reform with co-operative management and any addition to be architect-designed, quality build to contrast with but respect the existing grain of  Victorian Railway Station (Upton Park Tube) with cast iron/ glass canopies. and 1960s Brutalist tower block, Hamara Ghar and Queens' Public House. FoQM formalised 2004. Represents shoppers and traders. 18 strong  committee includes opposition Councillor Alan Craig, (Christian People's Alliance), and supporters of the Green, Respect, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

Web Editor & Media Liaison, Saif Osmani, 07915 234404

Secretary, Pauline Rowe, 020 8472 4730

Councillor Alan Craig,  020 7511 9663, mo. 07939547198

As a campaign group we do not exist to tell residents, shoppers or traders what to think. We seek to elucidate the issues and inform debate, so that people are in a better position to get to the real facts and make up their own minds.


-    The Spectator, Matthew d'Ancona, The mighty should quake before the Wiki man, 24/11/07

-     The London Paper, Tom Moggach, Queens Market: All Things Nice, 31.05.07

-     Property Week, Mike Phillips, A two-way street, 11.05.07

-     Estates Gazette, 'PR Disaster' Greets St Modwen, 5.05.07

-     Property Week, Mike Phillips, Market Stalled, 19.01.07

-     Daily Telegraph, Sophie Brodie, A protest fit for Queens Market, 31.10.06

-     Time Out, Simone Baird, Strange Fruit, 25.10 - 5.11.06 

-     Evening Standard, Anna Davis, Street markets 'good for London's race harmony', 5.10.06

-     Guardian, Paul Barker, Mixed Blessing, 30.08.06

-     Guardian, Bibi van der Zee, Pitch Perfect, 7.08.06

-     Daily Telegraph, Harry Wallop, Asda backs out of East End site after protest, 17.06.06 

-     Guardian, Angela Balakrishnan, Asda pulls out, 17.06.06

-     The Independent, Susie Mesure, Locals win battle against Asda over superstore plan for market, 17.06.06

-    The Independent, Maxine Frith, Street Markets 'more powerful than supermarkets' 22.05.06

-     The Times, Joanne Bale, Superstores lose as customers give in to market forces,       22.05.2006

-     Retail Week, Katie Kilgallen, Superstores may cost jobs, campaigners claim, 22.05.06

-     Observer Food Monthly, Tim Adam, What's in store ?, 30.04.2006   

-     Evening Standard, Jonathan Prynn, The developer accused of strangling market's traders, 24.03.2006

-     What's on in London, Daisy Greenwell,  Market Forces, 16.03.06

-          Private Eye, Rotten Boroughs, Sir Robin Wal-Mart, 17.02.06

-          Daily Telegraph, ‘No’ case to answer for Asda, 14.02.06

-          Mail on Sunday, Financial Mail, pg 3, Teena Lyons, Could this 20 stone barrow boy halt the march of Wal-Mart? 05.02.06

-          Evening Standard, Paul Sims, Market under threat ‘is an East End Jewel’, 13.1.06

-          Regeneration and Renewal, Ben Willis, Fear over risk to East End market, 13.1.06; East End market’s flavour under threat, 20.1.06.

-          Time Out, Mischa Haller, Regeneration Game, 4–11.1.06

-          The Market Trader, Roger Mills, London Chat: The Queen’s Market Saga, 30.12.05

-          Times Magazine, Tim Pozzi interviews Jenny Linford, The World on a Plate,  25.6.05

-          Guardian, Hugh Muir, "Lovely bananas? Get 'em while you can", say Market Traders squeezed out by Developers, 10.5.05

-          Evening Standard, Yasmin Alibhai Brown, My Type of Market Forces,  27.4.05

-          Evening Standard, Ross Lydell, Superstore Threat to London Spice Market, 11.4.05

-          TV: Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, documentary film by Robert Greenwald featuring Queen’s Market, due for UK release Spring 2006.

-          Radio: BBC London Radio, Robert Elms Show, 9.3.05; BBC1 Regional News, 12.3.05; Asian Radio, Voice of Africa Radio,. Radio Four, Food Programme 7.5.06, Radio Four, Farming Today 22.5.06.

-          Local: Weekly coverage in Newham Recorder, Stratford Express, Stratford Guardian.

-          Books: Food Lovers London, Jenny Linford, Metropublications

FoQM cordially invite journalists to visit the market. Feel free to dig on this story. Rest assured that Sir Robin Wales and St Modwen would rather that you didn't.


See the Prominent Supporters section of this website.



Signatories say they do not want a supermarket such as Asda, or the market to be moved or sold. Delivered to the Mayor of London, City Hall, 14.10.2005


Sir Robin issued a self-adressed, self-portrait postcard which reads: As the first directly-elected Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales makes the decisions that run the Council  and improve local services. The buck stops at his desk. He wants to know what you think he can do to make our borough better, please fill in the postcard and return it. FoQM took 225 of these to the market where people filled them in. 224 pleaded with the Mayor not to destroy the street-market, 1 was in favour of an Asda in its place and an indoor Market-in-a-Mall. Many were vehement in their opposition to Asda or indeed any other supermarket in the area.

The TELCO Citizens Inquiry Results in Dec 2005 of  The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO) Inquiry involving 5,000 interviews, found only  'deep  mistrust' and 'almost no enthusiasm for the scheme'. The panel said they had during the process examined and detected bias in the Mori questionnaire.

Recommended  suspension of signing of agreement so close to local elections.


1998, £I million (largely outside funding) on roof - unfinished, still leaks, no one called to account, bad smell 

2000 Feasibility Study by Weatherall quotes council claim of 'severe deterioration' in fabric. Friends of Queen's Market can find no survey to support this claim on which the need for regeneration is predicated.

Weatherall Survey finds 3% of general public in favour of a supermarket

Weatherall Survey find   31% in favour of refurbishment / regeneration (little credibility here since these words are opposed in meaning)

2003, Market offered for sale, Estates Gazette with vacant possession of tower-block sheltering elderly Asians.

2004 Sir Robin appoints development partner, St. Modwen who have a reputation for quick-return, top-down instantly forgettable schemes and almost no experience of designing or managing markets      

Newham Borough Council release developer's drawings to local press showing all-white shoppers. Following objections from FoQM, drawings are withdrawn and hajib and shalwar kamise superimposed on foreground. figures. St.  Modwen themselves described this as a 'bad blunder' but no apology was forthcoming. Less than a third of the population in modern Newham is white.

May 2005 Mayor gives development option approval 

July 2005, executive produces costing of £6 million for refurbishment based on Spons Architect and Builders' Price Book, inflated by the inclusion of £300,000 for a filling station long removed and £200,750 for decoration of shop interiors which are the onus of the lessee.


FoQM believe that this is a first step towards getting rid of the market entirely. Nick Kay from St. Modwen has told traders that the days of markets are over. However, developers know that by including a market in name they can claim to be 'preserving' the market smoothing the way towards  planning-permission..

It is impossible to estimate how many jobs will be lost until the developer has decided which businesses it will compulsorily purchase. One large furniture shop on the block occupies 8 units and supports three families.  Mrs Toor's fruit and vegetable business occupies one kiosk and seven pitches and employs four male heads of households. Several Halal meat shops employ each employ upwards of 20 adult males with dependents.

The market offers a career for life to anyone who is prepared to  start small and work long hours. The majority of shops and stalls are now Asian, African and West Indian, so whatever the damage, immediate and long term it is these communities who will pay the price of the mayor's 'vision'.


What little there has been has been showy and bogus. The council reneged on agreement that FoQM should have input into the Mori questionnaire leaving them as  sole suppliers of information to Mori. Mayor has touted results of only one quarter of the poll,  the residents group, as though Green Street residents represented the community at large. On-going consultation by Sir Robin is conducted anywhere but the market itself. Photographs of traders who are bitterly opposed to the scheme, taken by council publicity dept. apparently for use in Newham Magazine, appeared in the market in promotional propaganda. Traders reluctant to sue for fear of being marginalised under new management.


If on the final plans the floor-area exceeds 15,000 sq metres, the proposal will be referred. We are lobbying Ken Livingstone accordingly.

Friends of Queens Market                                

For further information contact:

Saif Osmani   07915234404

or email :-

Queen's Market and the 2012 Olympics


It is worth noting that one of the engines of change in the East End of London has been the drive towards so-called regeneration in readiness for the Olympics. Yet, it is clear that much of this is both ill-conceived and potentially harmful to the communities whose lives it is meant to improve. In Newham the bullying antics of the Mayor of Newham has resulted in minimal scrutiny and a lack of robust debate. All of which does not bode well for the much trumpeted Olympic legacy.

This matter is further elucidated by the following websites:

If like us you feel strongly about this issue please write to your elected representatives via the following website:-



Photograph by Adrian Arbib

Queen's Market - Loved by Londoners, neglected and unloved by Newham council.


Photograph by Peter Marshall

To see more of his excellent work and make purchases be sure to visit:  or email

Queen's Market - savour the flavour !


Reactions to the FoQM website and campaign;

"The most exciting example of grassroots web politics ..."

Matthew d'Ancona, The Spectator, 24/11/2007

We invite you to see what is going on for yourselves.


Sir Robin Wales and St Modwen may not welcome searching questions. Beware the gloss and spin. Dealing with the Mayor of Newham brings to mind a quotation from Shakespeare's play Macbeth - "There's daggers in men's smiles"


Matthew d'Ancona, Editor of The Spectator has described the FoQM campaign and website as;

"The most exciting example of grassroots web politics..."



"Saving the market is not just about money, it's about our culture, and our culture is priceless".

- Poet Benjamin Zephaniah on Queen's Market


It now transpires that if St Modwen get their way they intend to build an 18-storey tower block on the Queen's Market site, some 370 executive apartments (and rising!) will also further exacerbate the problem of parking. Why the silence from Newham council on this ?


Why has the Newham Recorder been so timid in its reporting of the Queen's Market story? People have begun to suspect a near symbiotic relationship between the paper and Newham Council. Call Colin 'Nipper' Grainger(the Editor) Tel:- 0208 472 1421 and see if you can find out why the paper is so reluctant to give this story greater prominence. Maybe the power of advertising revenue ensures an unwillingness to want to probe or even dare to criticise. Be warned though, by all accounts he becomes very defensive when this issue is raised. Other newspapers most notably the Stratford Guardian have been far more robust in their coverage of this highly controversial issue.


At the close of 2006 the Stratford Guardian ceased publication leaving only two newspapers in Newham, the Newham Recorder and Stratford & Newham Express (a free sheet) - both papers owned by the Archant Group.


Queen's Market is now in real danger thanks to the arrogant and intransigent behaviour of Sir Robin Wales (Mayor of Newham). He is a thrasonical man who in the opinion of many promises mountains, but delivers molehills.


'Regeneration' Newham council-style has already seen the wrecking of Rathbone Market, Canning Town. 'Consultations' are bogus and invariably all local people get offered is a Hobson's choice. No wonder people don't trust Sir Robin Wales and his spin-meisters, they've heard it all before.


"Newham Council is run by blockheads who want to kill this asset and drive people to turkey twizzlers." Yasmin Alibhai Brown, Evening Standard (27/4/2005).


Queen's Market offers a world of shopping in one place.



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