In 2019 we conducted a large-scale survey with 500 customers each at Queen’s Market, Bury Market and Newcastle Grainger Market in order to gain an in-depth and rigorous understanding of markets users’ experiences. A number of market users were also invited to take part in focus groups to help us develop our understanding of the survey data and build a richer image of the everyday experience of shoppers. Interviews were also undertaken with 10 key local actors, including council representatives, market traders and community groups.
Queen’s Market was selected because of its size (being large enough to support a representative user survey) and because of its existing community value. Aspects of its economic and social value – in particular the market’s role in providing access to affordable fresh food, supporting jobs and intercultural interaction – have been documented in various reports and studies (see, for example, the New Economic Foundation’s study) but no systematic user survey has been undertaken. It is one of London’s most ethnically diverse markets, selling a range of goods and particularly specialising in Asian, African and Afro-Caribbean foods. Traders are informally organised and the market is supported by a committed and long-standing group of campaigners, the ‘Friends of Queen’s Market’. Newham Council (which owns and manages the market), market traders and Friends of Queen’s Market all expressed interest in our research and we have enjoyed strong support and an open dialogue with all parties throughout the process.
In February 2020, we presented a summary of our research findings to key local actors, which can be found on our website here. A full report will be available on this website in the coming months.
Introduction to Newham Council’s Good Growth programme
In 2020, having secured match-funding from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, Newham Council began to engage with key stakeholders on four interlinked projects, outlined on its Co-create website at https://newhamco-create.co.uk/en/folders/queen-s-market-good-growth-fund:
- Improvements to the ‘look, feel and function’ of Queen’s Market, including new lighting, flooring and toilets (£1.3m)
- Converting part of the car park above Queen’s Market into 1,500 sqm affordable workspace (£2m)
- Converting the vacant retail units and first floor space below the Hamara Ghar sheltered housing block adjacent to Queen’s Market into a new flexible multi-use arts, meeting and workshop space (£760k).
- Improving the public space around Queen’s Market, including new trees, greenery and a pedestrian crossing (£90k).
Members of the Markets4People research team have attended consultation meetings and enjoyed an open dialogue with all parties. These meetings and the co-design process offer a valuable opportunity for Newham Council and other Queen’s Market stakeholders to benefit from the research findings of the Markets4People project. In order to make the most of this opportunity, our team has prepared a document which sets out a number of observations. These respond to a consultation on the draft briefs to consultants to deliver the four elements of the Good Growth programme, which began in September 2020. Our response draws on data and analysis produced in the course of the Markets4People research project. We would be happy to discuss these issues further and provide any additional information to Newham Council’s Regeneration Team as well as any other Queen’s Market stakeholders. Read the full document…