NEW: Traditional Markets under threat: why it’s happening and what traders and customers can do

Traditional markets in the UK find themselves at a crossroads; on one hand pushed out by changing retail trends and urban redevelopment, on the other championed as desirable, vibrant spaces which are the key to reviving town centres. Regeneration plans threaten what many traders and customers see as a unique and necessary public space in the heart of our towns and cities.

This report has two aims; firstly, to critically examine the changing fortunes of the traditional market, with an emphasis on wider urban regeneration and gentrification strategies, and secondly to explore ways in which customers and traders can successfully maintain markets as places which serve particular and often marginalised groups of people, and in which the social value of these spaces is maintained.
The report is aimed at campaigners or potential campaigners, people with a general or academic interest in regeneration, retail and urban development, and policy-makers (especially at a local level). It draws on campaign work and the analysis of campaign groups such as ‘Friends of’ market groups in Birmingham, Leeds, Peterborough and Queen’s Market (East London), as well as trader groups like Shepherd’s Bush Market Traders Association and grassroots housing activists like Tower Hamlets Renters.

The two sections of the report can be read separately or together.

The report was produced in collaboration with groups who campaign on markets. The research that underpins this report was carried out in 2014-2015 and was funded by a scholar-activist award from the Antipode Foundation based in the School of Geography, University of Leeds.

Dr Sara Gonzalez is a Lecturer in Critical Human Geography at the University of Leeds, with a long-standing interest in markets and the neoliberal city. She helped set up Friends of Leeds Kirkgate Market.  Gloria Dawson is an independent researcher, writer and activist who has been involved in various campaigns around the right to the city. She has an MA in Social and Cultural Geography and has also worked as a community organiser.

The report can be found  and downloaded at

Vision for the next London Plan

Press release for 12 October 2015

The Just Space network of community groups and London-wide organisations working to influence London’s strategic planning document, The London Plan, today issues a set of ‘key demands’ which will form the basis of more detailed Community Visions for the next London Plan

The key demands cover a range of issues:
· Fundamentals and Process issues: challenges some assumptions; calls for a proper programme of community engagement in developing the next London Plan.

· Sustainable Development: highlights the need to better integrate environmental, social and economic goals as London has not been developing sustainably – climate change and air pollution targets are not being met, issues of equity and inequality need addressing, and a diverse range of economic activity is needed.

· Environment, Social inclusion and Economy: green space, habitat, water and food issues; helping marginalised communities; developing a more egalitarian and more sustainable economy.

· Transport and Housing that are genuinely affordable: more is needed on reducing the need for people to have to travel unnecessarily, fostering walking and cycling and avoiding new road-building; delivering adequate social rented housing to reverse the “affordable housing con” and deal well with demolition versus refurbishment issues.

Download the Community Visions statement as PDF JSVisions2015

Just Space Co-ordinator, Richard Lee said:

“People from across London have come together to produce these key demands as part of Just Space network’s work to develop a Community Vision for the next London Plan.”

“Groups will be working on these ideas, elaborating them and proposing policies, in the remainder of 2015.”

“While the Mayor’s staff are preparing their new version of London’s strategic planning document that will affect the lives of all Londoners, Just Space groups have seized the initiative and are putting forward ideas of what local people want to see included.”

“For too long London’s planning system has failed to deliver for Londoners on issues such as air pollution and inequalities, has not developed a rounded economy, and has failed to tackle the affordable housing crisis – local people are demanding a better future for London and all Londoners.”

“One bit of good news, however, is that —this time— Londoners can contribute before the Plan hardens into a formal draft, and City Hall says it is listening. In the past citizens could only comment or object to the Mayor’s draft”

Development of the Community Visions: The Just Space network held a community conference in July 2015 to start the Community Visions work:
The final Community Visions document will be completed for a conference on 4th February 2016 where Mayoral candidates, current Assembly Members and candidates, as well as GLA staff will be invited to respond.

Work in progress on the Next London Plan is here.

Relaxation of housing & parking standards a mistake

Just Space has now submitted responses to the questions posed by the planning Inspector for debate on 21st and 22 October. Both on parking and on the weakening of housing standards —especially scrapping “Lifetime homes” and weakening disability access— Just Space organisations will be submitting very critical evidence

The Inspector’s “List of Matters” (=questions) and the Just Space responses are here.

The hearings are public though, for some reason, they are being held in Committee Room 5 of City Hall, much smaller than the usual debating Chamber. Expect a queue of wheelchairs.

Workspace Handbook now Online!

Download London for all! A handbook for community and small business groups fighting to retain workspace for London’s diverse economies for free here:

Low-resolution pdf

High-resolution pdf

Watch this space for a report of the workspace handbook launch on Monday 21 September 6.30pm at New Economics Foundation, with the Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, the London branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and the New Economics Foundation, amongst others. In the meantime, check #londonworkspace for tweets.


Launch! A handbook for groups fighting to retain workspace in London

for JS website Drawing: Lucinda Rogers

Please join us on Monday 21st September 6.30-8.30pm at the New Economics Foundation for the launch of London for all! A handbook for community and small business groups fighting to retain workspace for London’s diverse economies. We will hear from some of the groups featured in the handbook, and hear responses from the Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, the London branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and the New Economics Foundation. Copies of the handbook will be available, as well as refreshments provided by Truman’s Beer, a member of the East End Trades Guild.
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A modest victory

Since the first public hearings about GLA London Plans a decade ago, community groups and activists have protested against bans on photography and recording of sessions and complained that the City Hall webcast system is switched off during the hearings. Finally the Planning Inspectorate which runs the events (Examinations in Public – EiPs) and the Mayor’s office have agreed to meet these demands:


Evidence to parliamentary committee: planning & productivity

The Communities and Local Government Committee of the UK parliament is holding an Inquiry on Planning and Productivity – topics linked in a recent government statement.

The Just Space Economy and Planning Group heard about this only days before the closing date for submissions but was able to make a short submission stressing the damage being done to the economy of London by to accelerating attrition of industrial and employment land and buildings. The submission is here JSEP submission productivity planning inquiry