London, UK: Gherkin Street Food Market in A Pickle After it’s Told to Close

“Save our street food”: One of the stalls outside the Gherkin

By Miranda Bryant and Victoria Stewart   |

“Save our street food”: One of the stalls outside the Gherkin
“Save our street food”: One of the stalls outside the Gherkin

A street food market outside the Gherkin serving up everything from burritos to fresh doughnuts to City workers has shut down after it was accused by officials of being “unsightly”.

The weekly Thursday and Friday market, run by street food group KERB, attracted 50 traders on the plaza outside the landmark building and had become a popular fixture since it started last November.

But last week the market was forced to come to a sudden end after the City of London Corporation told 30 St Mary Axe — official address of the Gherkin, which owns the land — that it did not have planning permission for it.

The Corporation is understood to have said the market was “inappropriate”, “of cluttered appearance” and “unsightly”, and  there was a “lack of quality of design”.

More than 1,500 people have signed a petition to save the market, calling on the Corporation to “make the City of London taste better”, and organisers say they have been inundated with messages of support.

Petra Barran, founder of KERB which also runs a popular market at King’s Cross every Tuesday to Friday, said: “There’s an email that states the market was unsightly, cluttered and not in keeping with the clean lines of the Gherkin and not suitable to be in front of such an iconic building.

“There was no warning, no chance for anyone to make alternative plans. A lot of the traders really rely on that market for their income.

“It’s popular with office workers, breathing new life into the Gherkin.

“It’s just incredible how much support we have had and we are hoping the Corporation change their minds.”

Maria Gillivan, for the Gherkin, said: “We didn’t realise we needed planning permission to have food stalls out the front, but they’re temporary structures there for two hours a week. The market’s temporarily suspended, which all our tenants are gutted about.”

A Corporation spokesman said: “If an application for planning permission was submitted, we would consider it in accordance with our policy.”