Page 17 - MarketTimesApril2016
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 Staines Market has recovered well since it moved from Market Square at the dead end
of town on to the pedestrianised High Street. Now the challenge is to reinvigorate the Friday market. NICOLA GOULD reports
Staines in Surrey has been described as Britain’s most ridiculed town after Sacha Baron Cohen chose it as the home of his fictitious character Ali G, leader of Da West Staines Massiv gang.
But the commuter town just three miles from Heathrow Airport is actually very pleasant — and its High Street market is a star attraction.
Dating back to 1218, the market has had its ups and downs over the years. According to long-standing traders, it was hanging on by its fingernails in its previous location in Market Square until the town’s wide High Street was pedestrianised 14 or so years ago and the market relocated there.
Fruit and veg trader Andrew Tate, who is the fourth generation of the family to run the business, recalls hard times on the Market Square which had once been at the heart of the town but had turned into a dead end location.
“At the time the High Street was a four-lane road, but the decision to pedestrianise it saved the market,” he said. “We were down to four or five stalls — ourselves, the tea wagon, a butchers, a pet food stall and a cleaner repair man.”
The wide, pedestrianised High Street is the ideal location, with all the major shops and the Elmsleigh Shopping Centre attracting plenty of footfall.
And, says market manager Daniel Gibson, it’s an affluent, diverse town. Locals and shopkeepers enjoy the buzz the market brings to the town centre. They are happy to do some food shopping and pick up a bargain on the market that takes place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
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