Page 6 - MarketTimesJune2016
P. 6

Farnborough Market is thriving in its new location in the retail heart of this affluent Hampshire town. Nicola Gould visits a market that could so easily have fallen by the wayside
John Trusler is principal engineer with Rushmoor Borough Council which runs Farnborough market. He masterminded the market move
    Passions were high when the council approached Farnborough market traders about moving from their car park site behind Asda to Queensmead, the main shopping street in the Hampshire town.
Many long-standing traders, including Tony Clowes, were against the idea. Tony, who has been selling eggs, cheese, deli and bakery items on the market for 36 years, explained his thinking at the time.
“I have been trading on this market longer than anyone,” said Tony, who recalls a golden era after a market operator called Taffy Evans, with a lot of nous, started it from scratch in about the early 1980s.
Taffy eventually sold out to Town and
Country Markets, which ran the operation until Rushmoor Borough Council decided to take it into council hands two years ago.
“The market had a number of different sites but ended up on the car park near Asda,” Tony said. In the early days it was unbelievably busy, according to Tony. But it started declining steadily and was in serious decline for about the last 10 years, he said.
Nevertheless Tony was afraid the market would fare worse in Queensmead.
“There was a big car park where we were and a lot of footfall because of Asda,” he said.
In the end it was Hobson’s choice. Their car park site was earmarked for development and the council was even considering closing
down the market.
Fortunately for everyone the man charged
with leading on the market’s future was the council’s principal engineer John Trusler, who became a man with a mission once he spotted the potential to reinvigorate the market.
John initially went under cover. “I visited the market without telling people who I was and chatted to the traders and shoppers to see how things were and what people wanted from the market.”
The feedback wasn’t good. “It was obvious the market wasn’t looking good and the market shopping experience wasn’t what it should be, although there were some good traders,” he said.
Karen Puddle who, with her husband Mark, runs one of the two fruit and veg stalls that act as ‘bookends’ either end of the market is positive about the market in its new location

   4   5   6   7   8