Page 37 - MarketTimesDecember2019
P. 37

ndon market bargains, banter
Church Street Market may be just down the road from Oxford Street, Park Lane and Mayfair, but it is light years away from the glitz and glamour of the West End. Nicola Gould visits a good, old-fashioned London market that reflects the community it serves
      Trendy artisan markets, street food and quirky makers markets may be popping up all over the capital, but you can’t beat an authentic London market — and Church Street is just that.
There are fruit and veg stalls aplenty, fresh fish stalls, value-for-money fashion, tables piled high with socks and shoes for shoppers to sift through — bargains galore.
But it’s not the place to shop for an expensive sourdough artisan loaf or a gateau fit for Fortnum & Mason.
And the good news for the locals is that Church Street is going to retain its identity and role as a community hub despite a multi-million pound regeneration
programme including opulent new homes as well as affordable housing that is taking shape close to the market.
Coun Tim Barnes, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for Economic Development, Education and Skills, whose remit includes markets, said: “Market traders in the borough seem to worry that we want to close their markets down. But nothing could be further from the truth.”
He said the irony was the council was desperate to keep them going as it recognised their inherent value as places where locals could get affordable food and fresh produce with a low carbon footprint, and as hubs where people who sometimes
face isolation and loneliness can meet up, chat and feel part of the community.
The council wanted to support its markets and the traders who make a living there, but it needed traders to adapt and move with the times. He cited the need to connect them with wi-fi in a world where fewer people carry cash as a good example of positive change.
But there were no plans to gentrify the market or introduce trendy new lines at the expense of traditional market businesses, he said. Street food markets have their place and are great places to nurture new hot food businesses, he says, but traditional markets are vital too.
And he cited Berwick Street Market
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