London 2012: Stewarding loses Greenwich market trade

Spectators make their way through Greenwich on Monday Spectators for the equestrian competitions walk through the town on the way to Greenwich Park

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Greenwich Market traders say they lost money on Saturday when cordons blocked access to their stalls depriving them of passing trade from the 2012 equestrian competition.

They said stewards directed people straight to the station from the Olympic Games venue at Greenwich Park.

A spokesman for Greenwich Hospital, which owns the market, said it was "disappointing".

He said stewards had now been asked to encourage people to dwell.

'Teething problems'

Mike Chambers, who runs a photography stall, said: "It was utterly appalling. They put barriers all the way along the one-way system.

"It was a total waste of time.

"I made £25 the whole day."

It costs traders £50 a day to rent a stall from Greenwich Hospital.

Elaine Gilbert, who sells glass nail files, said: "We were told the Games would boost the area but the stewards pushed everybody straight home."

Jewellery seller Richard Chown said: "It was like being in the inner cordon of a crime scene."

But he said he would not be put off from returning next weekend.

Edward Dolby, Resources Director at Greenwich Hospital the naval charity which rents stalls, said discussions had taken place to improve the situation.

Trade 'demoralising'

He said: "It is disappointing. I think this was a question of what had been agreed early on with senior people at Locog and TfL not flowing down to the volunteers.

"There's no question that Greenwich Council, Locog and Greenwich Hospital wanted to make sure this was a real success for the shops in the town and the market."

He said the market was now "vibrant" and put Saturday down to "teething problems".

But trader Juliette Scarfe said business was still bad.

She said: "People are behaving like lemmings, as if they don't get a train straight away they won't get home."

She described trading as "demoralising".

A spokesman for the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: "Locog are responsible for the barriers in Greenwich Town Centre and, at our request, they have left gaps so that visitors can cross over roads and enjoy all the shops and independent traders around Greenwich Market and town centre.

"We have not received any formal approaches from stallholders in Greenwich, but we have noticed that restaurants in Greenwich appear to benefiting from an upsurge in trade from visitors to the Olympics."

Locog has not provided a response.

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