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Traders mistrust plans for historic market

PUBLISHED: 11:07 09 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:30 25 August 2010

UNCERTAIN: Market trader Sue Dewhurst says she isn’t impressed with plans (above).

UNCERTAIN: Market trader Sue Dewhurst says she isn't impressed with plans (above).

MARKET traders revealed a climate of mistrust over plans to build a hotel into an historic town centre market.

PLANS: An artist's impression of Greenwich Market with a hotel.

MARKET traders revealed a climate of mistrust over plans to build a hotel into an historic town centre market.

Greenwich Market, a World Heritage Site, is due to be closed for two years from next January if the council approve plans submitted by its owner, Greenwich

Hospital, last Friday.

The designs would see the cobbled market area fitted with a new transparent roof, smooth granite floor, wooden decked walls, and a 100-room upmarket hotel.

But traders were surprised that no replacement site has yet been secured to locate their stalls and shops during the closure leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Market trader Sue Dewhurst, who made some 250 hats for the Harry Potter film trilogy, said she wasn't impressed by the new-look market.

She said: "We have been told so many different things. All we know for certain is that it will close down.

"I'm worried because the tourists love the run-down 'quaint' look of the place, and that some of the older traders will be pushed out.

"Spitalfields was overhauled and that's become very successful, so there is at least hope that they can get it right here too."

Greenwich Hospital, a 300-year-old charity, hopes to put a temporary market in the Old Royal Naval College grounds during building work.

Two non-listed buildings in King William Walk are earmarked for demolition to allow for a Bespoke Hotel, designed to match in with the neighbouring yellow-painted buildings.

The market's loading and parking area is set to be demolished along with shop units to allow an extra 4,000 sq ft of retail or studio space.

Martin Sands, director of Greenwich Hospital, said: "We want to keep the independent arts and crafts character and the traders, it's in our interest.

"But what we have at the moment are 1950s warehouses and a roof which is shabby and not particularly attractive.

"Clearly it's difficult for traders and retailers now, but we will do everything we can to support them."

A public exhibition of the plans is due to take place in 22 Nelson Road, Greenwich, on Friday, April 24 from 4pm to 8pm, and Saturday, April 25 from 10am to 4pm.

For more information go to www.greenwichmarketconsultation.org.uk.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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