THE IMMINENT erection of this six-floor building marks the biggest potential change in Ridley Road Market since the opening of Wu’s bar.
Will the still-great market at E8 2LH continue to draw people from all over East (north and south) London for the quality and value of its fruit and vegetables or will it take the Broadway Market route to lure foodies by day and young sophisticates by night?
The increasing number of stalls selling fast but not junk food suggests that recently arrived stall-holders consider hipsters to be still a force in the Hackney economy.
A stall that set up last month August 2014 is so keen to develop a niche customer base that it sells only vegetarian and vegan snacks. The owners are meat-eating Muslims.
A man and woman sell Turkish pancakes from a van. Other market stalls offer hot Caribbean and other ethnic versions of street food, a far cry from the chickens sold in other streets around the borough.
The design at No 75, by Gainsborough Studios-based Ellis Miller, inevitably rises above other buildings in Ridley Road.
When the Victorian-era Ridley Arms pub at the junction with Colvestone Crescent, was converted to flats and retail, more than its Rabelaisian atmosphere was lost. Sky view was lessened because the development added a storey to the original height.
Speculators are likely to seek even higher buildings when they turn their thoughts to the land on which stands the gloomy Ridley Road Shopping Village, an off-street warren of specialist – some of them fascinating – shops and to other sites on the north side of the street.
The council planners will need to overcome their willingness to ignore height constraints, which they themselves helped to set, before they approve more buildings in Ridley Road.
Otherwise, the market will become a dark alleyway with no special appeal to shoppers from beyond the area. And even they may find multinational supermarkets preferable.
Hamish Scott 230814
* Backstory: Seven-floor application at 75 refused
* Thanks to Ellis Miller for permission to use CGIs
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.