Gary Ince has resigned as the chief executive of North London Business after the 'apparent failure' of an Olympic Games food market.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Most traders have abandoned their stalls at the market. Most traders have abandoned their stalls at the market.

THE head of a business group which helped organise a "disastrous" Olympic food market has resigned.

North London Business (NLB) says its chief executive Gary Ince has stepped down as a consequence of the "apparent failure" of the project.

The council created the temporary 'Olympia Market' in Marshall Road, near the Leyton Asda car park, in the expectation that thousands of visitors travelling to the Games from Leyton Tube station would walk past.

It contracted NLB, an agency designed to encourage investment in Waltham Forest, and private firm Skateco UK Ltd to manage it, but traders have been left tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket after hardly anyone turned up.

Council leaflets welcoming visitors to the borough included maps advising pedestrians to walk a different route through Leyton to the Olympic Park, bypassing the market altogether.

Stallholders, who were sold the pitches at prices of up to £16,200 for 45 days, are now plotting legal action against the council and its contractors.

In a statement,  NLB said: "As you would expect from an honourable, not for profit company, the NLB board are looking into making sure that NLB does all it can to support the stallholders and are continuing to investigate the situation including consulting with interested parties.

"However the board of NLB recognises the disappointment arising from the apparent failure of this project and has, as a consequence, accepted the resignation of Gary Ince."

Some have raised concerns that Mr Ince is also involved in Skateco, but council barrister Daniel Fenwick said in an email: "His alleged 'dual position' is a matter for North London Business, not the council. 

"The council had no reason to know about this issue during the tendering process and recent checks with Companies House show that Mr Ince is Skateco’s Company Secretary only - all the shares are held by the company’s sole Director, Brian Jokat".

Earlier today Mr Jokat launched an attack on the council for "letting down" his firm and traders.

He said: "The council had told us and other local businesses that in excess of 30,000 people could realistically be expected on some Games days.

"We were told that there would be a regular flow of visitors to the Olympic Park from nearby Leyton Underground station and that people would be drawn to the market by local signage and council-produced leaflets.

“All of this would have generated significant passing trade for the market and its stalls but, sadly, none of it has been delivered in reality."

Meanwhile an online petition calling on the council and NLB to refund traders has attracted more than 1,400 signatures.

It can be viewed at http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/north-london-business-refund-leyton-olympia-food-market-traders


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Comments (11)

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2:05pm Thu 9 Aug 12

Cornbeefur says...

Whilst it is bad how they have been treated from the way some of the stall holders were dressed, i would not have fancied eating off any of their food stalls. They looked disheveled and scruffy and hardly in 'Catering Attire'. They were wearing old tracksuits and rugby tops from the photos previously aired on this website.
Whilst it is bad how they have been treated from the way some of the stall holders were dressed, i would not have fancied eating off any of their food stalls. They looked disheveled and scruffy and hardly in 'Catering Attire'. They were wearing old tracksuits and rugby tops from the photos previously aired on this website. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

2:30pm Thu 9 Aug 12

Techno3 says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
Whilst it is bad how they have been treated from the way some of the stall holders were dressed, i would not have fancied eating off any of their food stalls. They looked disheveled and scruffy and hardly in 'Catering Attire'. They were wearing old tracksuits and rugby tops from the photos previously aired on this website.
I had a look at the photo you mention. The people concerned are described as 'traders' who may be the people who leased stalls, but that does not mean necessarily they were personally engaged in food preparation or service. We know from reports eslewhere that some of the stalls were employing a number people for those tasks, which had the market been a success would have been a good thing, in my view. From the photo alone, I think it is impossible to draw negative conclusions such as you seek to do.

Of course these things are a matter of taste but the clothes they were wearing do not look old, disheveled or scruffy to me, and in fact seem quite smart enough and appropriate for a trader to be wearing at an informal sports themed outdoor market.
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: Whilst it is bad how they have been treated from the way some of the stall holders were dressed, i would not have fancied eating off any of their food stalls. They looked disheveled and scruffy and hardly in 'Catering Attire'. They were wearing old tracksuits and rugby tops from the photos previously aired on this website.[/p][/quote]I had a look at the photo you mention. The people concerned are described as 'traders' who may be the people who leased stalls, but that does not mean necessarily they were personally engaged in food preparation or service. We know from reports eslewhere that some of the stalls were employing a number people for those tasks, which had the market been a success would have been a good thing, in my view. From the photo alone, I think it is impossible to draw negative conclusions such as you seek to do. Of course these things are a matter of taste but the clothes they were wearing do not look old, disheveled or scruffy to me, and in fact seem quite smart enough and appropriate for a trader to be wearing at an informal sports themed outdoor market. Techno3
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Thu 9 Aug 12

mdj says...

'"The council had no reason to know about this issue during the tendering process and recent checks with Companies House show that Mr Ince is Skateco’s Company Secretary only..'

Given that Mr Ince has been in post at N London Business for several years, would Mr Fenwick not agree that this sudden interest in due diligence, taking two minutes online, comes rather late in the day? I appreciate that he is a busy man, since a request I sent him seven months ago for a link to the Council's Code of Conduct for officials has yet to receive the reply he promised. I regret that he had to intrude on his scarce leisure time last Sunday to draft the letter quoted.

It is notable that the statement by N London Business reporting Mr Ince's resignation makes no reference to his position at SkateCo. Why might that be?
Mr Jokat may wish to explain how his information pack for potential traders appears to quote higher expected figures for passers-by than those he claims the Council gave him. Can he let us know the name of the confident official who told him this?
'"The council had no reason to know about this issue during the tendering process and recent checks with Companies House show that Mr Ince is Skateco’s Company Secretary only..' Given that Mr Ince has been in post at N London Business for several years, would Mr Fenwick not agree that this sudden interest in due diligence, taking two minutes online, comes rather late in the day? I appreciate that he is a busy man, since a request I sent him seven months ago for a link to the Council's Code of Conduct for officials has yet to receive the reply he promised. I regret that he had to intrude on his scarce leisure time last Sunday to draft the letter quoted. It is notable that the statement by N London Business reporting Mr Ince's resignation makes no reference to his position at SkateCo. Why might that be? Mr Jokat may wish to explain how his information pack for potential traders appears to quote higher expected figures for passers-by than those he claims the Council gave him. Can he let us know the name of the confident official who told him this? mdj
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Thu 9 Aug 12

JuniorCarter says...

Why haven't the journalists contacted the Council to ask why the stalls weren't advertised at Leyton station or around the rest of the borough? Where did the Council advertise this? Were the Council duty bound to advertise the stalls? If they didn't, why not?

As a local person - I had no idea these stalls were here. I regularly get out to Leyton tube, I didn't see any signs or hear any announcements.

I am so sorry to all of the stall holders who have been affected by this. That is a huge financial burden and must be incredibly stressful. I do hope North London Business, Skateco and London Borough of Waltham Forest see fit to very quickly reimburse traders.
Why haven't the journalists contacted the Council to ask why the stalls weren't advertised at Leyton station or around the rest of the borough? Where did the Council advertise this? Were the Council duty bound to advertise the stalls? If they didn't, why not? As a local person - I had no idea these stalls were here. I regularly get out to Leyton tube, I didn't see any signs or hear any announcements. I am so sorry to all of the stall holders who have been affected by this. That is a huge financial burden and must be incredibly stressful. I do hope North London Business, Skateco and London Borough of Waltham Forest see fit to very quickly reimburse traders. JuniorCarter
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Thu 9 Aug 12

NT says...

And what of that scarlet pimpernel, Councillor Akram?

He has not updated his website page since February 2010, and if Facebook is to be believed is this week in Karachi touting for business.

Yet he is also currently listed as a North London Business board member, and thus has been in a very good position to advise both sides about how this project was evolving, together with the potential risks, not to say correct any inaccurate claims, for example about footfall.

As a sometime contributor to this website, we can only hope that he will once again emerge from the clouds and given us the benefit of his unique insights.
And what of that scarlet pimpernel, Councillor Akram? He has not updated his website page since February 2010, and if Facebook is to be believed is this week in Karachi touting for business. Yet he is also currently listed as a North London Business board member, and thus has been in a very good position to advise both sides about how this project was evolving, together with the potential risks, not to say correct any inaccurate claims, for example about footfall. As a sometime contributor to this website, we can only hope that he will once again emerge from the clouds and given us the benefit of his unique insights. NT
  • Score: 0

5:58pm Thu 9 Aug 12

WaltE17 says...

while a sorry situation you have to ask yourself how much promotion the traders themselves did and whether they just took at face value all the wild promises made by the council and north london business, neither of who appear to have any business sense. if you hand over thousands of pounds without investigating matters some of the blame sadly lies with you as well.
while a sorry situation you have to ask yourself how much promotion the traders themselves did and whether they just took at face value all the wild promises made by the council and north london business, neither of who appear to have any business sense. if you hand over thousands of pounds without investigating matters some of the blame sadly lies with you as well. WaltE17
  • Score: 0

9:25pm Thu 9 Aug 12

leytonstoner says...

.... not to mention the millions of pounds spent on upgrading the not used pedestrian bridges adjacent to the market. A complete misjudgement almost on the level of scandalous and incompetant.
.... not to mention the millions of pounds spent on upgrading the not used pedestrian bridges adjacent to the market. A complete misjudgement almost on the level of scandalous and incompetant. leytonstoner
  • Score: 0

9:36am Fri 10 Aug 12

bakers arms says...

I’m not sure this leaflet has much to do with things. The percentage of Olympic visitors who saw it must be absolutely miniscule. Far more damaging to the market is the fact that Leyton station isn’t even marked on the map of the Olympic Park which is on the 2012 website and sent out with all tickets.

The fact is that if you’re coming to the Olympic Park, why would you stay on the train past Stratford, get off at Leyton and walk down a load of obscure back roads to enter through a back entrance which you probably don't even know about? You're going to want to get off straight away and go through the main gate where all the excitement is.
I’m not sure this leaflet has much to do with things. The percentage of Olympic visitors who saw it must be absolutely miniscule. Far more damaging to the market is the fact that Leyton station isn’t even marked on the map of the Olympic Park which is on the 2012 website and sent out with all tickets. The fact is that if you’re coming to the Olympic Park, why would you stay on the train past Stratford, get off at Leyton and walk down a load of obscure back roads to enter through a back entrance which you probably don't even know about? You're going to want to get off straight away and go through the main gate where all the excitement is. bakers arms
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Fri 10 Aug 12

Walthamster says...

Visitors to the Olympic park are directed to West Ham station when Stratford station is overcrowded. There's no mention of Leyton.

Waltham Forest is supposedly an Olympic borough, but gets none of the benefits.

Waltham Forest councillors are elected to serve the people of Waltham Forest.

How many Waltham Forest councillors are employees of other Olympic borough councils, such as Newham, or have close links with them?
Visitors to the Olympic park are directed to West Ham station when Stratford station is overcrowded. There's no mention of Leyton. Waltham Forest is supposedly an Olympic borough, but gets none of the benefits. Waltham Forest councillors are elected to serve the people of Waltham Forest. How many Waltham Forest councillors are employees of other Olympic borough councils, such as Newham, or have close links with them? Walthamster
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Fri 10 Aug 12

everoptimistic says...

Cllr Shabab Qadir and Newham spring to mind. I seem to remember reading something about this in Private Eye a while back.
Cllr Shabab Qadir and Newham spring to mind. I seem to remember reading something about this in Private Eye a while back. everoptimistic
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Fri 10 Aug 12

NT says...

And then there is Terry Wheeler's on/off with Newham's answer to Afzal Akram, Steve Jacobs, here posing with the man himself and luminaries of yesteryear -
http://www.guardian-
series.co.uk/resourc
es/images/1179776/?t
ype=articleLandscape
And then there is Terry Wheeler's on/off with Newham's answer to Afzal Akram, Steve Jacobs, here posing with the man himself and luminaries of yesteryear - http://www.guardian- series.co.uk/resourc es/images/1179776/?t ype=articleLandscape NT
  • Score: 0

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