TRADERS have abandoned their stalls at a food market close to the Olympic Park as they face financial ruin due to a lack of customers.

The council created the temporary 'Olympia Market' in Marshall Road near the Leyton Asda car park in the hope of cashing in on visitors travelling to the Games from Leyton Tube station.

Stallholders were sold the pitches at prices of up to £16,200 on the basis that around 40,000 people would walk past on peak days.

But devastated traders say hardly anyone is using the route due to a lack of promotion.

A council leaflet welcoming visitors to Leyton even advises the public to walk a different route from Leyton station to the Olympic Park, bypassing Marshall Road altogether.

Nameem Akhtar, 32, told the Guardian he spent more than £23,000 on rent, stock and equipment for his Thai food stall.

He has not sold a single meal.

Mr Akhtar said: “It has been a complete disaster, a catastrophe. We were mis-sold on everything. We were told there would be 800 people a minute coming along here but you don't even see eight people in an hour.

“I had to get a loan out to pay for it and now I don't know what I'm going to do.”

When the Guardian returned to the market on Tuesday lunchtime (August 7) not a single stall was open.

While a handful of traders are still clinging on, opening for limited hours during the morning and evening, most appear to have given up hope for their stalls, which were due to be in place for 45 days until the end of the Paralympic Games in September.

It is understood that several traders are considering legal action against the council and contractors the North London Business group and Skateco UK Ltd.

Mr Akhtar, of East Ham, said: “I am packing up. I am losing too much money and I can't afford legal action.

"I have tried calling the council but no-one has come down to speak to us.”

The Guardian has contacted North London Business and Skateco UK Ltd but neither of them have yet commented on the latest developments.

A council spokeswoman claimed that marshals and volunteers were on-hand at Leyton Station to direct visitors via the market, although the Guardian has not seen them during any visits to the scene.

She added: "The capital has been quieter than predicted, and the downside to this has meant that businesses across London, including Leyton, have been affected and this is very disappointing.

"North London Business runs and manages the Food Market and as such selected the location alongside their partners Skateco.

"The council has paid no monies or received any monies from these organisations, North London Business and Skateco receive all of their income through their contracts with stall holders."

She added: "The 'Welcome to Leyton' leaflet highlights the Food Market and was produced to deal with the high level of visitors that were anticipated across London.

"As these numbers have not materialised the leaflets are no longer being used."

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