The owner of a cafe operating for the last 22 years at a Stratford indoor market has told how she has had customers crying outside when it was forced to close.

Angela (Angie) Akbas runs the Centre Cafe with her husband Ali at Market Village in The Stratford Centre.

She said she was given a letter on January 10 addressed to retailers telling her Market Village was closing from the same day and she would have to arrange an appointment to collect stock, equipment and belongings.

The letter explains that Stratford Market Properties Limited, which runs the market, has appointed administrators and is "unable to continue to trade".

Angie, from Dagenham, has been running the cafe for the last eight years and said the letter came "out of the blue".

Newham Recorder: Angie AkbasAngie Akbas (Image: Olivia Carter)

Angie said: "It's heart-breaking. Nobody is helping. It's so wrong what they've done to everybody.

"It's going to affect all the local people - they were queuing up to get in. It's so bad.

"Some people were crying."

READ MORE: Stratford Centre confirms Market Village set to close

The Centre Cafe is just one of the 61 businesses in Market Village affected by the closure. 

Despite the uncertainty about the future of her business, Angie has expressed most concern for her regular customers. 

She said: "Some people don't have anybody, they have mental health, they just pop into the cafe and for a chat.

Newham Recorder: Market Village has been home to the Centre Cafe for the last 22 yearsMarket Village has been home to the Centre Cafe for the last 22 years (Image: Olivia Carter)

"Everyone is really going to miss us. It's like one big family - everyone that comes into the shop are treated like family, they're so regular."

Market Village has closed its shutters to the public, placing copies of the letter at both entrances.

Angie said: "I’m in such a state at the moment worrying – this is our livelihoods you know?

"We’ve never been behind with our rent. We spent our life savings during the Covid-19 times to get back on our feet again.

"Ali's 58, I'm 58 - it's a bit old to be starting over again."

The news of the closure has come as a shock to customers and locals alike, who were heard asking why it is closing. 

On Friday (January 12), a spokesperson for the Stratford Centre confirmed that Market Village will close "imminently".

In a statement, they said: "Due to the administration of Stratford Market Properties LTD, we can sadly confirm the imminent closure of Market Village.

"Although part of Stratford Centre, Market Village is not owned by Stratford Centre and is operated as a separate entity.

"The stores and restaurants throughout Stratford Centre remain unaffected by the closure of Market Village and continue to trade as usual."

Newham Council told the Recorder it would be working with Stratford Business Improvement District to support the affected businesses.

A spokesperson said: ”We are really sorry to hear about Market Village going into administration and the subsequent impact this will have on the business community trading within Stratford Centre.

“We are trying to engage with their landlord to understand the plans for the village and ways in which we can assist with the transition plans and minimise the impact on the local community.

“If you are a business affected and would like advice from Newham Council, please contact the Business & Enterprise team on 020 3373 7373 or”

The letter to retailers was signed off by Ambroise Auguste who, according to Companies House, is a director of Stratford Market Properties Limited.

Mr Auguste is also listed as being a director of Groupe Geraud's UK arm, which includes Market Village in Stratford on its website as being within its portfolio of markets.

The Recorder contacted Groupe Geraud for comment but has not received a response.