Page 7 - Market Times February 2014
P. 7

   Andy Bhangal is pictured with his son, Akash, ten, who helps out in school holidays. Andy sells bed linen and towels on the market
“Many of them have been trading here for 20 and 30 years and good traders make the market a success,” Lisa said.
The council recognises that the market is a key asset and the rent structure rewards loyalty and established businesses, rather than offering cheaper rent as an incentive for new traders.
Having said that, they are keen to get new traders on the market and there are gaps for a number of lines, particularly food.
The traders themselves are generally happy with the support they get from the council and the management team.
Waltham Cross has benefited from some significant investment in recent years. The world’s biggest printing plant, which prints the News International newspaper titles, moved to the town from its former home in Wapping.
There has been a £6 million investment in the Lee Valley White Water Centre, which was a 2012 Olympic venue.
It is now attracting people from a wide area, according to market inspector David Birley. And the gunpowder museum is also putting Waltham Cross on the tourist map.
He said: “We are lucky in that we are quite close to London. The town is steeped in history — the writer Anthony Trollope lived here. News International is a big employer. New attractions and the Fishpools store encourage people to visit the town from London and quite far afield, and generally shoppers have money in their pockets.”
The wide ethnic mix of Waltham Cross is also boosting the market. Iris Green, who sells haberdashery, knitting wools and women’s underwear, said: “We
have a lot of Eastern Europeans and the young ones tend to knit and sew.”
A part-time lecturer, Iris has been market trading since 1996. “You have to adjust to changes in people’s shopping habits. But there is a resurgence in sewing and knitting — there are knitting clubs starting up around here.”
Like many long-established traders, Iris goes with the flow and enjoys the camaraderie of the market environment.
Geoff the card man, who has been selling cards and gifts on the market for the past 18 years, said: “Like all high streets, Waltham Cross has been affected by more competition, but business is steady.”
And Andy Bhangal, who has been selling linen for the past 15 years, is upbeat and optimistic. “This is a good market and there’s a good feel about it,” he said.
Susan Hutchisson who
sells jewellery said: “I have been a market trader for more than 30 years. Many town
centres and markets are struggling, but this is one of the better ones.”
And Mark Smith, who started helping on his local market in Romford at 13 and hasn’t looked back, finds it a good market for his groceries business.
“I came here eight years ago as I was struggling on some of the London markets and I am happy with the footfall and the custom,” he said.
But on one thing everyone agrees. Waltham Cross is a fair weather market. “It is really affected by the weather,” said David Birley.
“If it starts raining you might as well pack up, because no one wants to shop in the rain,” said Andy Bhangal.
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Geoff the card man puts a lot of effort into setting up his colourful stall selling cards, wrapping paper and gifts on the market
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