- Public Realm: enhancements to the quality, organisation and functionality of the street to increase accessibly, wayfinding and safety, and clearly define spaces for different uses and activities.
- Market Stalls: Upgrading the market stall infrastructure to make them easier to use and improve the shopping environment.
- Market Management: Determining a vision for the long-term success of the market and improving the day-to-day function of the market operation.
Who is involved?
The programme is being led by the Council’s Regeneration Team, working closely with Markets Services and other Council Teams. Project Centre are the lead consultant employed by the Council and are working closely with Greig & Stephenson Architects, who previously developed outline designs for the market stalls with TfL.
Whitechapel Road, including the pavements and highway, is a TLRN and is owned by TfL. TfL are a supportive partner to the Council.
Is the WRIP linked to previous proposals to improve Whitechapel?
The WRIP builds upon a number of studies that have previously been undertaken by the Council and TfL to investigate solutions to the challenges facing Whitechapel. These studies weren’t progressed beyond feasibility stage due to a combination of funding, resourcing and prioritisation issues within both organisations.
Why has the Council launched the programme now?
Whitechapel Road is the cultural and historical heart of Whitechapel, and home to its iconic street market. It is experiencing rapid transformation with the arrival of Crossrail, the Council’s new Town Hall, and other forthcoming investments. The Council and TfL are working in partnership to improve the area in response to emerging developments and funding is confirmed to design and deliver the improvements.
Will the proposals mean the end to Whitechapel Market?
No! Whitechapel Market is one of the most iconic street markets in London and the WRIP seeks to preserve and enhance what makes it so great.
What has been achieved so far?
Initial work commenced in Winter 2020 and a feasibility report was prepared by the Council’s consultants Project Centre in Spring 2021. The report builds on the historic work completed by the Council and TfL and established a joint vision for the area.
The Council and consultants The Assembly Line carried out a survey in Spring 2021 consulting on its 10 street markets in order to create the first borough-wide action plan for the Council’s markets. The strategy will cover the borough’s market operations and help inform their future management with an action plan for individual markets, including an expanded focus on Whitechapel Market to support the WRIP. The strategy will run from 2021 to 2026 approximately.
The Council’s Regeneration Team, Market Services and Greig & Stephenson Architects previously introduced the WRIP project to market traders at a webinar held in July 2021, and also met with members of the Whitechapel Market Trader Association in September 2021 ahead of two engagement events held in October 2021 where the feedback was received on the market stall design direction. A summary of these engagement events can be read here.
Will there be opportunities to provide feedback?
Yes, definitely! We want to hear from residents/visitors, businesses, market traders and community groups throughout the design process and there will be lots of opportunities to provide feedback and take part in consultation events. This page will be the central point for all communication and engagement updates. If you would like to stay informed about the progress of the WRIP, please subscribe opposite. If you have any questions, please email LBTHRegeneration@towerhamlets.gov.uk.
How is it being paid for?
Funding is confirmed from the Council's capital programme and the Levelling Up Fund to design and deliver the improvements.
When will the improvements be delivered?
Works will be taken forward in a phased manner to minimise disruption and businesses will be consulted in detail prior to the start of construction. It is envisaged that sections of the southern pavement will be constructed first with a planned start in mid-2022, as this aligns with construction activity at the new Town Hall. Work on the northern pavement and market stalls will commence in 2023, and will be phased to align with works by TfL on their property repairs project in order to minimise disruption
As part of the market stall design work that is funded we will be testing a prototype of a new market stall typology in 2022.
Upgrades and improvements to the market’s management i.e. waste, storage and toilet solutions will be delivered independently from the market stall and public realm improvements.
What is included in the improvements?
The WRIP focuses on the area of Whitechapel Road from the junctions with New Road and Vallance Road, to Cambridge Heath Road and Sydney Street and comprises three stands:
Changes to the highway and traffic improvements are not included in the scope of the programme.
I’m a market trader and I want to know how I will be affected?
When the improvements take place there will be some disruption that impacts trading but this will be kept to a minimum and market traders will be informed and supported throughout. These arrangements will be confirmed through the evolving design work, and we're keen to receive feedback in the meantime so we can manage this most effectively. Please email LBTHRegeneration@towerhamlets.gov.uk.
I’m a neighbouring business/resident and want to know how I will be affected?
There are lots of issues – covering the design of the improvements, any access restrictions and information about the construction work that that will be agreed with stakeholders as part of design development. These arrangements will be confirmed through the evolving design work, and we're keen to receive feedback in the meantime so we can manage this most effectively. Please email LBTHRegeneration@towerhamlets.gov.uk.
What's happening with the new Town Hall?
Tower Hamlets Council is bringing the former Royal London Hospital site in Whitechapel back to life as its new Town Hall.
The new Town Hall is a blend of new and the retained Grade II Listed building and will be more than just an office for council staff and members, but also democratic services including council chamber. At its core will be a publicly accessible environment, taking up the entirety of the ground floor, in which residents will be able to access services such as a public library, Digital hub, access to council services, and public meeting rooms.
The New Town Hall will be completed and accessible to the public in summer 2022.
Is the Idea Store included in WRIP?
Idea Store Whitechapel is to undergo some changes and improvements that will contribute to the Whitechapel Road Improvements Programme. The store will be linked to a brand new space within the New Town Hall, so that library, learning and cultural activities will be spread across the two sites, by the end of 2022 Idea Store Whitechapel and the New Town Hall will form the axis of a new Whitechapel Cultural Campus.
Is toilet provision being considered as part of WRIP?
The Council is undertaking a piece of work to explore how improved publicly accessible toilet provision can be achieved in Whitechapel District Centre. One of several initiatives being considered is a community toilet scheme which allows members of the public to use the toilet facilities in a range of approved local businesses and other organisations during their opening hours. Alongside the engagement events about the Whitechapel Road Improvement Programme proposals commencing in November 2021, local businesses in the Whitechapel area will be invited to complete a survey regarding their levels of interest in a community toilet scheme. Feedback from the consultation will inform the development of toilet provision options which will be tested in the area.
Can I request an accessible format or translated copy?
Email us at LBTHRegeneration@towerhamlets.gov.uk to request an accessible format or translated copy of materials, or if you require further assistance.