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Land owner and operator of Dagenham Sunday Market have their say on its closure

The market announced on Wednesday that it would not reopen (credit: Dagenham Sunday Market)

The owner of the land where Dagenham Sunday Market used to take place says it is “sad” to see the market close permanently.

But Barking Riverside Limited says it will look for a new tenant to take over the site.

A spokesperson for Barking Riverside Limited said: “We are sad to see the closure of Dagenham Sunday Market, a draw to the local area for 18 years. We understand the difficulties faced by the market operator, Charfleets, due to Covid-19. 

“We will be looking for other meanwhile uses and tenants to occupy this area.”

Barking Riverside is in the midst of a huge transformation, with 10,800 homes, new schools, and the Barking Riverside train station coming to the area; but some local residents have expressed concerns about overdevelopment.

A concept image of what Barking Riverside will look like when complete

A small number of readers of our original article revealing Dagenham Sunday Market’s closure commented on social media, questioning if the move would lead to further development on the site.

But Frank Nash from the market’s operator Charfleets has told Time 107.5 that the decision to close is “purely driven on Covid-19 restrictions” and is heartbreaking for him.

Mr. Nash said: “Dagenham Sunday Market has been our pet project for many years, and it has been heartbreaking to call time on it, but we cannot just wait until social distancing ends to reopen because no one knows when it will end.

“Traders needed us to make a decision so they could plan for their futures. To comply with social distancing we would need to remove 40% of the traders which would not be financially viable and would be a pretty cruel thing to do anyway.

“We have tried to find a relocation site for the last five years along the Thames corridor, north and south side without success. The problem has been that no owners of 20 acre plus sites are willing to commit to five years certainty because they believe within that time they will be able to get the site away for housing. We require five years because to set up a market at a cost of around £750,000, requires that sort of tenure.

“We appreciate lots of people will have their own theories, but the decision to close is purely driven on Covid-19 restrictions. The magical attraction of Dagenham has always been the good old fashioned shoulder to shoulder hustle bustle on a Sunday morning, which simply is not possible with a two-metre restriction.

“It is a terribly sad time for all of us.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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