A historic market keeping up with the times
Things are set to change in Romford Market Place. Havering Council and its partners have a vision to transform Romford Market which will see a fundamental change in the way it looks, feels, is managed and operated on both market and non-market days.
The needs of Romford residents and visitors are changing, with a growing older population, more young professionals and a large proportion of young families living in the borough. Businesses and services are moving alongside these changes, and there is potential for the Market to enhance the local economy and contribute to building a diverse independent retail offer.
The market has long been at the heart of Romford and is seen as a valued and much treasured local amenity but we know that the local community wants to see changes to the market. Research undertaken in early 2015 indicated that 76 per cent of respondents visited Romford Market but that 44 percent of would like to see a ‘better quality and variety of stalls’ in Romford Market.
A £3.1 Million programme has been developed by Havering Council in partnership with the Mayor of London, that’s designed to see the historic Romford Market return to the heart of the community. It will also provide the features that successful town squares provide including a place where people can meet, eat, shop and relax and where our local businesses can test out ideas as well as having strong, well-known traders offering high quality produce that will retain current customers and attract new ones.
Some things will always stay the same – the proud heritage and theatre of the Market, the vista of the historic St. Edward the Confessor Church, and the stories of generations of families who have met, socialised and shopped there. Now we are aiming to build stories for the future in a modernised Romford Market.
There will be investment in new stalls, covers and utilities to provide a modern, fit for purpose market that will work for traders and shoppers alike. Visitors will be greeted by a Market that looks and feels inviting. Stalls will be realigned to encourage browsing whether visitors are stopping awhile, or just passing through. The introduction of high-speed Wi-Fi will allow traders to easily introduce cashless payments, and visitors to the Market Place will be able to virtually browse events and offers, sign in to their social media or even catch a Pokemon or two!
A new Market House will be built, containing facilities for traders and a place for shoppers to meet, eat and socialise. A restaurant inside the Market House will boost the current food options on offer in Romford, providing the choice to sit inside downstairs or make use of the open air rooftop terrace.
The rooftop terrace has been carefully designed to sit within the surrounding conservation area and will allow visitors to take in the views of the historic Church on one side, and the hustle and bustle of the freshly streamlined Romford Market on the other. Temporary covering will ensure the rooftop can be enjoyed even if the weather isn’t so nice. At night time, the Market House will subtly light the Market Place, providing a beautiful backdrop for a summer stroll and brightening up dark winter days.
Additional seating will spill out from under the Market House canopy, and into the newly created Market Square – a pedestrianised public space in front of the historic Church. Permanent play equipment, new trees and lighting will be added to allow for an adaptable space that can be used for small informal gatherings, or large organised events as well as visiting markets and food festivals.
The Market Place will become more accessible with existing paving renewed or altered to remove the various levels and steps that are currently in place. On market days, visitors will be able to walk around with ease, and on non-market days there will be a clearly defined, well laid out parking area at the eastern/clocktower end that will complement the pedestrianised area in front of the church.
As an addition on current Market days, a new smaller parking area will be created at the eastern end of the Market Place, providing the opportunity for short term parking for up to 60 cars and adding to the convenience of shopping in Romford Market. Finally, at the western end of the Market Place at the historic crossroads of North and South Street, a ‘Market Cross’ will welcome visitors to the Market and provide a point of reference for those new to Romford – signposting the way to Romford’s new Everyday Adventure.
For those of you wanting to find out what events we have planned over the coming months you can join the conversation on Twitter or see our list of events on our Facebook page.
We’re excited to be working with the folks at Made Public and The Retailery who are kindly lending us their Platforms to encourage home grown talent and street performers. Watch this video to get an idea of what we can achieve with Platforms this Winter and get in touch if you would like to book a space.
Romford Events is funded by