Battle For Broadway Market film: now online

Battle for Broadway Market from Emily James on Vimeo.

Emily James’ film of the occupation was put online whilst this site was out of action.

An exchange of letters about Broadway Market

Published in Hackney Gazette 2 August 2007

[The Gazette] article “Alarm Bells Ring on Broadway”, suggested that the Saturday market has been a “catalyst for regeneration”. If it was genuine regeneration, there would be tangible benefits for the wider community.

This latest invasion of Hackney doesn’t even have the apologetic stance of gentrification, which would at least give a nod to the underlying conflict and tension for those excluded from the “benefits” of the process. This one-day-a-week public exhibition of over-priced over-consumption is an affront to ordinary, working people.

It is more like outright colonisation by over-paid white, middle-class yuppies who have nothing better to do than fritter their sizable wage packets (sorry, “salaries”) on items of food that cost the equivalent of most people’s weekly food bill.

They obstruct the pavements with their selfish appropriation of what should be shared public space for walking so that they can pretend that they are part of some upmarket pavement café culture and they relentlessly wheel or ride their bikes on the pavement to the detriment of anyone who foolishly thinks they are meant for ordinary Hackney pedestrians.

Then, of course, there are the yummy mummies brushing aside anyone in their way with their over-size baby buggies or causing a bottleneck while they stop to yatter about their stressful day of shopping and eating, without any thought for anyone else.

Even more overtly indicating a double standard are the pub groups sitting on the pavements as if the market is their private beach, while, of course, if the local youth (particularly if they were black) behaved in this way, there would be mutterings about intimidating groups of young people, police cars would be called and no doubt Asbos issued.

Six days of the week this is a street that has very little to offer the ordinary shopper, apart from the local supermarkets now having to compete with the chains that can undercut them and the (ordinary) vegetable stall which comes one day a week – but how long before the snobs stop this. The market has no facilities for the local community, no youth club or community centre or meeting place for pensioners, and it is unfortunate that the “improvement” to London Fields only echoes this cultural and class divide.

This isn’t regeneration, this is a perfect example of the divided Britain that Blair has left us, a corner of Hackney where society is stratified into race and class divisions – and celebrated as a success.

J Walker

[from Hackney Gazette 9 August 2007]

Mr Walker is ideally qualified to join the team of Hackney Council officials who have been given the job of managing the Saturday market on Broadway. He has clearly not been to the market and, therefore, does not understand how it functions.

If Mr Walker does come to Broadway Market, he will find that he can buy a loaf of bread for under £1 from the local baker, wonderful sausages from the local butcher, good cheap fruit and veg seven days a week – and, oh dear, drink coffee at pavement cafes run buy people who actually live here.

He would also know that the market’s regular fruit and veg stall operates for five days a week, not one.

The Saturday market, founded and operated by volunteers in the Broadway Market Traders’ and Residents’ Association, brings well over 3,000 people to a street that was all but once deserted on Saturdays. Many come back to shop in the week.

It generates more than £30,000 a year in licence fees for Hackney Council and costs taxpayers nothing.

It enables the traders’ association to support a youth group on the Regent’s estate. It gives young business people a start in life.

It has been described as the most successful community-run street market in the country. And, yes, it has helped to regenerate the area.

One reason for its success is that the shops are part of the market. The Saturday traders compliment the shops, they do not compete with them. Customers don’t buy fresh coconuts from a stall – they buy them from Spirit’s grocer’s shop. They don’t buy hardware from a stall – they can get almost anything they need from Bradbury’s. The result is a glorious mix of cultures and colours.

Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods, told a public meeting on Broadway Market recently that the council had a statutory duty to manage Hackney’s street markets. He was misinformed.

The London Local Authorities Act states that the councils have a duty to regulate street markets. They can appoint agents to manage them as Islington has done, or they can work in partnership with community groups.

Indeed, Mr Laing’s own officials have been instructed to reply to the association’s proposed partnership agreement. They have yet to do so.

Perhaps, Cllr Laing would care to come to the Saturday some day and see for himself how it is run. I’m sure that the market department’s managers, and even Mr Walker, could be persuaded to join him.

Andrew Veitch
Resident Executive Member
Broadway Market Traders’ and Residents’ Association

Benefit for Spirit, Friday April 27

Benefit for Spirit, 3rd February

The Battle for Broadway Market documentary – public screening

3pm, Sunday February 11, Sebright Arms, 31-35 Coate Street, London, E2 9AG
£2 entry


The Battle for Broadway Market

At the end of November 2005 an occuption was started by local residents at 34 Broadway Market to prevent it being knocked down for luxury flats. Over the next few months support multiplied and the news travelled around the world. It’s a story that brings in corrupt property developers, an incompetant council, rampant gentrification and the question of just what sort of community we want in 21st century London.
This is the definitive film of the event.

Dir: Emily James, 2006, 62 minutes


The 43 group

After the Second World War Jewish ex-serviceman found once again Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirt pals spreading their anti-semitic message on the streets. This documentary recounts the anti-fascist battles fought in the East End and all over London in the years immediately after 1945.

Dir: Graeme Kennedy, 2000, 25 minutes


An inspirational documentary showing how tenants in Edinburgh fought against council housing privatisation.

3pm, Sunday February 11, Sebright Arms, 31-35 Coate Street, London, E2 9AG

£2 entry

Sunday lunch is served in the Sebright Arms from 1-4pm at £7 per head onwards


The ferocious war of words between Hackney Labour Party and Hackney Independent continues.

The reality is that whole chunks of Hackney have been handed over to public and private property developers and are being converted to blocks of exclusive one and two-bedroom flats which are to be sold or let at prices that are increasingly beyond the means of even the middle classes for whom they are intended. The original residents of Hackney have two choices, live in squalor or move out.
– Arthur Shuter

The saga began during the May elections when a number of inaccurate allegations were made against us in Labour Party election material: that Hackney Independent is against Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and only into “trendy issues such as Dalston theatre”!


The truth of the matter is that Hackney Independent had never commented on ASBOs, not least because in Haggerston ward only one had ever been issued, making it an issue irrelevant to local people at that time. But as ASBOs seem to be feature of the government’s agenda for some time to come we have opened a debate on the issue and given space in our Winter newsletter to a local teenager to air his views on the subject.

As for Dalston Theatre, which we did not mention in our election material, it’s hard to take seriously the idea that the eviction of hard-working shop-keepers and the demolition of an historical landmark for the sake of 19-story tower blocks of private flats is somehow a “trendy” issue.

Hackney Independent ran a completely positive election campaign that didn’t stoop to political smears and personal attacks on any of our opponents. Rightly or wrongly, we chose not to walk in the gutter. Perhaps we were naïve, but we genuinely believed – and still believe – that the reason most people get turned off by politics is just the kind of empty mud-slinging and spin that New Labour excels at.


Events have veered off at an even stranger angle in recent weeks with allegations from Haggerston Councillor Jonathan McShane in the Hackney Gazette. McShane states that Hackney Independent are opposed to CCTV on purely civil liberties grounds, that we are campaigning for the 2012 Olympics bid to be transferred to Paris and, most bizarrely, that we want a brothel to be opened in Gillett Square, Dalston!

In reference to CCTV, this was an article published in our free newsletter this summer entitled `Who benefits from `ASBOTV’?’ The piece was a detailed examination of the sinister Digital Bridge project on the Haberdasher and Charles square estates. This is a proposed scheme in which residents, for a fee, can gain access to local CCTV cameras through their own television set. (See Summer 2006 newsletter on this website.)

The conclusion of this article was clear: `Hackney Independent have never had an “official position” on CCTV. We would like to start a real debate on the issue that doesn’t just accept New Labour’s solutions. After speaking to local people and doing surveys on estates we know that many people in Haggerston are pro-CCTV.’


The Olympics is coming to London in 2012. There is nothing that Hackney Independent or anybody else can do or say to change this fact. But what we can do is to try and ensure that the Olympic project benefits everybody rather than just the property developers and the politicians’ egos in City Hall. That means

*construction work that is well-paid, unionised and primarily draws its labour from the local area

*other forms of employment to meet a minimum standard London wage (as TELCO have campaigned for)

*social housing rather than private developments

*a building programme that respects local green space rather than bulldozing over it

*consultation that’s a genuine dialogue with local residents rather than the snooty dismissal to opposition that is always generated by the urban elite.


Hackney Independent has no illusions that that the Olympics is about sport. It is about business and making money. As this process unfolds in the coming years we will work with others to ensure as much of the billions spent on this project benefits the working classes of East London as is possible. Having said that, we are sadly under no illusions that the usual fat-cats and prima-donna politicians will be those who most benefit…

Unfortunately, it may prove to be the case that the people of London – after 2012 and beyond – will wish that Paris had won this white-elephant after all. (Those interested in a critical analysis of 2012 are recommended the games monitor website at


The accusation that we are for building a brothel in Gillett Street has been adequately responded to in the letters pages of the Hackney Gazette, copies of which can be found in the `letters’ section of this website.

As Carl Taylor wrote: `Hackney Independent has no desire to see a brothel built in Gillett Square, or elsewhere.’ Arthur Shuter made the point: `The reality is that whole chunks of Hackney have been handed over to public and private property developers and are being converted to blocks of exclusive one and two-bedroom flats which are to be sold or let at prices that are increasingly beyond the means of even the middle classes for whom they are intended. The original residents of Hackney have two choices, live in squalor or move out.’


Since the elections Hackney Independent has distributed two newsletters across the ward and organised two Kids Cinema shows, Labour has not put out a newsletter in the ward. The Hackney Labour website shows no updates since May. What a contrast to the months running up to the council elections when Labour was putting out regular newsletters and updating their website. We have said it before and we will say it again now: Labour lies to the working class during elections and ignores us in between.

Rather than address the real issues of social cleansing and the displacement of the poor in their vision of Hackney’s future, Labour can only resort to lies and spin. Pipe’s `I Love Hackney’ sloganeering is a piece of empty gush. Yes, Jules, we too `love’ Hackney – but we want a Hackney that values all its residents not just those who can afford to move in and live here.

Despite Mayor Pipe’s jubilant post-election address that Hackney Independent `are finished’, the group is still actively campaigning as a part of and with the working class of Hackney. We will continue to do so – on real issues rather than the fiction that Hackney Labour Party accuses us of dealing with. Councillor McShane says he looks forward to challenging Hackney Independent at the next local elections. We should remind Cllr McShane that the battle for ideas and campaigning takes place in the here and now – not just every four years at election time. This is the battle that Hackney Independent is engaged in at this moment.

Benefit film at RIO, Dalston: 5 1/2 roofs

‘Save the Spirit of Broadway Market’

Late night benefit film screening 

5 1/2 ROOFS (15)
UK 2006, director Sepp R Brudermann, 84m

According to Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 the occupation of empty property in the UK is not illegal. In London there are more than 13.000 people living in squats. These are 6 episodes of 6 different London based squats and their inhabitants. 6 stories of life in the city, stories of struggle, celebration, creativity, resignation, fear and hope. The final episode concerns the struggles and occupations in Broadway Market.

“A compelling look at a layer of our urban community which is rarely seen” (Raindance Film Festival)
“Fresh and beguiling” (R. Thompson, BBC Storyville)

+ speakers

11.15pm, Saturday November 25, Rio cinema, Dalston

Tickets £6.50/£5 Concs (available in advance or on the door)

Background information:

A campaign has been running in Broadway Market, London E8 for the past twelve months in support of two particular leaseholders who operated businesses in Broadway Market and who were tenants of Hackney Council until the properties were sold to offshore property developers in 2001/2. These cases are also linked to an on-going campaign to protect buildings in Dalston Lane, London E8. The issues surrounding these cases gained worldwide press and media coverage last Christmas and New Year and led to an investigation by the Fraud Squad and the L. B. Hackney Audit and Anti-Fraud Division, culminating in an internal enquiry before the L. B. Hackney Governance and Resources Scrutiny Committee in March/April this year. The findings of that report go before Hackney’s Mayor and Cabinet on 27 November. The enquiries came about as a result of the widely publicised occupation of Francesca’s café at 34 Broadway Market and publicity relating to Lowell ‘Spirit’ Grant who runs a Caribbean fresh fish, fruit and veg shop at 71 Broadway Market. Spirit is still facing eviction, although a significant campaign has been launched to clear outstanding rent arrears whilst the Courts determine his legal status. There is to be a hearing at the Court of Appeal on 5 or 6 December 2006 and his lawyers are increasingly optimistic.

Benefit Gig for Spirit – Chat's Palace, Hackney, October 27

Benefit Gig for Spirit at Chat’s Palace Fri 27th October – Advance Tickets Available NOW

Save the Spirit of Broadway Market presents:

Reggae by Jah Youth Roots Ambassador & Guest Sounds, West Indian Food by Jah Spirit.

Proceeds will help to keep Spirit in Broadway Market E8 and prevent his eviction from the shop and home he built from scratch before Hackney Council sold him out to developers.

For more info about Spirit and the campaign against council sell offs and evictions in Broadway Market, check out the News section of this site.

Friday 27th October 2006 8pm – 1am

Chat’s Palace, 42-44 Brooksby’s Walk, E9

£5 advance,

* Advance tickets available from Spirit’s shop, 71 Broadway Market, E8 *
Tickets also available on the door. The last benefit was a sell-out so get your tickets now!!!

Benefit for Spirit – 23rd September

Save the Spirit of Broadway Market

Reggae dance
music by Jah Youth (Roots Ambassador)
& guest sounds

West Indian Food by Jah Spirit

Saturday 23rd September: 8PM – LATE

At Chat’s Palace, 42-44 Brooksby’s Walk, Homerton E9


Proceeds will help to keep Spirit in Broadway Market E8 and to prevent his eviction from the shop & home he built from scratch before Hackney Council sold him out to off-shore developers.

Great Food, Bar – and a good night out in aid of a good cause

More information on Broadway Market and Spirit –

Vehicle Theft

Sheriff’s Officers arrived in Broadway Market at approximately 10.45 hours today and removed a Mitsibushi Shogun vehicle – regn: mark H836 FOY.

According to the Sheriff (who evicted the occupiers on 21/12/05 and 23/02/06 from 34 Broadway Market) he was acting on orders from Dr. Wratten who claims that he is still owed £14,000 in Court costs by Calogero Platia, and that he was ‘only doing his job’.
Surely, part of ‘doing his job’ involves ensuring that he is acting lawfully and that should include ensuring – before acting – that any possessions (goods and chattels) being removed actually belong to the person who is the subject of a Court Order.
Had he correctly done his job, he would have found that the vehicle concerned does not belong to Calogero Platia.
Such actions will, of course, damage the reputation of the Sheriff’s Officer, both in terms of his professionalism and his impartiality. This will be taken into account in future.
In the meantime, we would invite all relevant parties to make the necessary inquiries and to ensure that the vehicle in question is returned to the point from which it was taken immediately.


Failing this, formal allegations of theft will be made against the Sheriff’s Officer and against Dr. Wratten, and any other culpable party.