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NEWS ITEM

Save Gloucester Green Market

On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays there are often empty stalls

This valuable resource needs to reach its full potential for generating wealth locally

Posted - January 20, 2024

Do you shop at Gloucester Green Market, or would you if it had more to offer? This market used to sell a wide range of goods, both useful and ornamental, but now the main focus appears to be on street food, and the rest of the market is much depleted, with a noticeably more spacious layout and several empty stalls, especially on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The Saturday market is less of a concern, but Wednesday is the day when fresh food is on sale and local residents might go there to do their shopping. It is sad to see this market declining.

The street food is a nice innovation, but a good market is about more than just street food. Over the last ten years, we’ve lost a multitude of stalls, including a stall selling cheese, cold meat, pies and eggs, a stall selling fresh meat, and stalls selling a wide range of other useful products, from pet food to luggage. If it is to be worth people’s while to shop at the market, there needs to be a better range of stalls, with the market days properly themed so that shoppers know what to expect.

Since 2013, the market has been run by LSD Promotions, a private company, and the council agreed to renew their contract last year. The fees paid by market traders have gone up considerably since LSD took over, and many traders have left the market for this reason. A basic stall at the market in Witney, which is managed by the district council, costs £22, whereas a stall at the Wednesday market at Gloucester Green costs £38, excluding waste disposal and electricity. Do we really want traders priced out of our market in this way? One trader pays £55 for his space at Gloucester Green, but £10 at a market in Wiltshire. Rumour has it that LSD is planning to put the fees up again soon.

A stall at Gloucester Green market is one of the more affordable trading spaces in a city with high commercial rents. Keeping these stalls reasonably priced is a way of helping local businesses (not just street food and jewellery businesses) to trade. A lot of shops have closed at our end of the city centre, and Gloucester Green could play an important role in enabling people to buy items they would have bought in Boswells or Debenhams, for example, and might otherwise buy online. Excessive online shopping drains a city of its wealth, life and variety, but a good local market can help revive it. We should enable Gloucester Green to fulfil its potential for generating wealth locally and preventing it from ‘trickling up’. Oxford is fast becoming a ‘clone town’, and Gloucester Green market could help us buck this trend.

Negotiations about the exact terms and conditions of LSD’s new contract are in progress. A freedom of information request has revealed that the council’s original intentions for the market centred around community consultation, properly themed market days and fair treatment of traders. Let’s hope they stick to their guns and enforce these terms. Ultimately, of course, it would be better if this market was run directly by our local public servants. We’ve seen what’s happened to the nation’s water and fuel – let’s hope a similar fate doesn’t befall our market.

What would you like your local market to be like? To contribute your views or help campaign for more community involvement in our outdoor market, write to Friends of Gloucester Green Market (foggm@runbox.com).

Article author: Isabel Tucker

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Comment by another Jericho resident, John Mair

I read Isabel Tucker's rather rose-tinted view of the Gloucester Green market with more than a little interest. I shop there every wednesday.

The economics are very simple. The street food alley is very popular on non-rainy days and attracts the crowds, especially students in term time, to the market. They may then go on to buy from the other stallholders. Without the street food, the market is nothing.

Empty stalls are there as a convenience for eaters and also, simply, because the market operators cannot attract non-food stallholders. Ask LSD. Never forget that this  a commercially run profit-making family company now with a ten-year contract for that market. They are not a charity. But,that having been said, LSD is very generous to our community. They provide subsidised stalls for Lazy Saturday and for the Jericho Street Fair.

The North Parade market diligently run by Councilor James Fry-charges at least £35 a stall,* and is more than one-third food stalls.

Can I advise Isabel and others to use their market. Tis as good as it gets.

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Editor's note:

* Coucillor Fry advises:

The payment details remain as they have been ever since 2012 at a full stall fee of £25 with an additional charge for the hire of gazebos, tables and cables of £5 for each, i.e., an additional £15 if you want all three.

Diary

Come and sing Stainer’s Crucifixion Sat 02 Mar - 2.00 pm
St Barnabas Church
Haydn: The Seven Last Words Sat 02 Mar - 7.30 pm
Worcester College Chapel
St Sepulchre’s Garden Group Caring for Jericho's most peaceful space
Tuesday 12 March - 10:00 AM
St. Sepulchre's cemetary

MY JERICHO
Next meeting
Being a vicar in a strange world
Fr Christopher Woods Thu 7 Mar - 6:30pm
At: St Barnabas Church