Page 18 - MarketTimesDecember2015
P. 18

  Dermot McGillicuddy (left), director of LSD, the private market operator that runs Worcester market, is pictured with Tom Woolfenden, who is the LSD man on the ground
   Jamie Price helps out on his father’s stall selling the jewellery Mike makes from recycled bicycle spokes
Worcester’s ancient charter market is back in business in Angel Place with a new operator, smart new gazebos in the city’s traditional burgundy and white colours, and a new sense of optimism.
But it has been a rocky road for traders, with some falling by the wayside during the difficult months of transition when they were dispersed around the city.
The market has been in its current location in Angel Place since 1993 when it was moved from Corn Market to make way for a car park.
It’s not a bad location, with plenty of footfall from the natural flow of people through the city, and from two Crown Gate shopping centres owned by the Crown Estate, which has a significant property portfolio in Worcester.
Last year Worcester City Council decided the market offering needed a rethink and a revamp, and Stourbridge-based private market operator LSD Promotions was appointed to deliver a rejuvenated market offering.
The company already runs a number of successful markets in the Midlands including Tamworth, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford’s Gloucester Green, the latter two in partnership with Geraud (UK).
Previously the market had been run by
private market operator Bray Associates, and the traders used to set up stall under a glass- roofed structure.
Dermot McGillicuddy, a founder and director of LSD, said: “After 22 years the market structure was no longer fit for purpose.”
The height of the roof left the traders a little too exposed to the elements, so the council decided to demolish it and revamp Angel Place in time for a grand relaunch of the market last December.
A package of improvements was undertaken at a cost of £555,000, with the funding coming from the city council, Worcestershire County Council and the Crown Estate.
But the traders were devastated to discover that there was no provision for them to continue to trade while the work was being carried out.
Battle lines were drawn, and eventually the traders were allowed to trade at various locations elsewhere in the city.
It was a very difficult time for them, as Helen Hodgetts, who sells phone accessories, e-cigarettes and blankets, recalls.
“First of all we had a fight on our hands,” she said. “Eventually the council agreed to relocate us in different parts of the town, but the traders were dispersed and there was no
market identity. Takings were down and we all struggled.”
Several traders decided to give up on Worcester, but others, like Helen, struggled on, and a promotion by LSD in the Guildhall convinced them there was light at the end of the tunnel.
“We invited all the traders to the Guildhall where we had set up our gazebos to show them what they could expect, and we answered their concerns honestly and openly,” Dermot said.
The traders liked what they saw and heard, and the revamped market comprising 40 gazebos reopened on a much improved Angel Place last December.
Even better, Dermot arranged for them to trade the week before on the incredibly popular Victorian Christmas Fayre, which gave them the boost they so badly needed.
Traders like Helen were delighted to return to the market and new recruits made up the numbers.
They include traders like Kevin Cheeseman who sells vinyl records and pop memorabilia at Oxford’s Gloucester Green market.
Kevin worked in circulation and sales for a national newspaper company for 30 years, but
Kevin Cheeseman is a relatively new recruit to Worcester market selling the vinyl records he loves

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