Page 40 - MarketTimesAugust2019
P. 40

 To be or not to be on Bridge Street?
TRADERS on Stratford-upon- Avon’s iconic Sunday upmarket market are facing a dilemma wor- thy of Shakespeare’s Danish prince —tobeornottobeonBridge Street?
The arty, crafty, foody market became a runaway success at its previous location on Waterside, where a smart line of gazebos lined the picturesque strolling area every Sunday, against the world-famous backdrop of Bancroft Gardens, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the canal and the River Avon.
It was simply the best market in the UK, according to Mike Riley, who has sold his Bluebell Cottage fudge on the market for the past six years.
And he should know after a long spell as an NMTF Field Support Officer in which time he visited markets up and down the country, seeing at first-hand the best and the worst they have to offer.
“It was a real event on Waterside,” said Mike, now an NMTF Executive Board member. “The market went from strength to strength. The quality and the diverse range of stalls were exceptional and people made a special effort to visit the market. They liked what they saw and our takings reflected that.”
But last year the council informed
Mike Riley says a return to Waterside would be a great move
went out of their way to visit in Waterside.”
And as the months went by and the plans to block traffic from Waterside never materialised, a return to Waterside became an option.
Ted said that the relocated market was bigger than its predecessor, with more than 70 traders.
“We had a long waiting list of traders wanting to get on it when it was by the river,” he said. “There was less room for gazebos, which meant that when the crowds arrived there was less room to browse. That
Stratford-upon-Avon’s colourful Sunday market recently moved from its riverside location — but could be on the way back there
made it difficult for wheelchair users and people with pushchairs.” But Mike feels being smaller added to the unique, iconic nature of the market. With more stalls and gazebos, that unique quality has
been dissipated, he believes.
Not all the traders agree. Justin Welch, who sells leather goods, and his wife Della Marie with her original artwork including prints
   Husband and wife Justin Welch and Della Marie Barker are divided on the best location for the market
Market Manager Ted Perry
LSD, the Stourbridge-based private market operator that runs a string of successful markets across the Midlands including Stratford, that they were planning to block traffic from Waterside.
It was Hobson’s Choice for both traders and the operator, but the venue the council was offering certainly softened the blow.
Market manager Ted Perry said the traders reluctantly relocated to nearby Bridge Street last October, with the busy road closed to traffic to allow the market to take place.
At first sight, Bridge Street is the perfect location for a market, and it
is certainly thronged with people every Sunday.
The traditional general market, also run by LSD, is held in Rother Street, which is slightly out of centre, every Friday, with a farmers’ market on the first and third Saturday of each month.
But Bridge Street is the wide, main retail street in Stratford, with household names including Marks & Spencer.
Mike said that he felt the market was not the same in the new location. “It is more like a street market in Bridge Street, whereas it was a special event that people

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