Westminster City Council

Save Berwick Street Market!

Save Berwick Street Market!

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406 signatures until 1k

Westminster council wants to privatise one of London’s oldest street markets.

Berwick Street market in Soho has been independent for 300 years. But now Westminster council wants to privatise it, contracting out its management to a private corporation.

If that happens, say the market’s traders, they’ll lose their livelihoods. As rents go up, the historic, independent market will turn into yet another bland retail theme park full of coffee bars and corporate chains.

The corporate encroachment into our public spaces is relentless -- but we have a chance to stop it this time. Westminster council hasn’t yet awarded a contract to a new, commercial operator. If we can show the council that thousands of us support the traders, we can save the market.

Westminster city council: don’t privatise Berwick street market!

Independent market stallholders have been having a hard time of it recently. Traditional street markets across the country are in decline. But instead of supporting the traders and helping them find a way to thrive, Westminster city council is pulling the rug out from under their feet. It’s ended traders’ licences without warning and decided to bring in a corporate operator with barely any consultation.

The council hopes that privatisation will encourage “aspiration and enterprise”. But actually, it will kill off people’s livelihoods along with Soho’s amazing heritage -- all for the sake of short-term profit.

As stallholder Sam Coe, who has worked on Berwick Street for 18 years, says: “If people are going to come in and charge £100 a day for a pitch then it’s goodbye to my business… I’m very angry, to be honest. Soho was always separate from Oxford and Regent Streets - it was where you went if you wanted something different, a bit of quirkiness. But now they’re moulding it into the same as everywhere else.

And Soho Dairy owner Robin Smith says: “We can’t let it fall to the developers — rents are already forcing companies and residents out, this cleansing will continue that direction. This is a little vital piece of Soho, everyone seems to be agreed on that. There are 90-year-old customers who were born in Soho in the Twenties and come to us for fruit and veg and milk, they need us.”

Let’s stand up for our public spaces -- and for the traders of Berwick Street.

Let’s tell Westminster city council to keep Berwick Street market independent!

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