by Ted Power from The Round Hill Reporter June 2008 Is the vision guiding plans for Brighton’s open market still alive? Has there been a retreat?
At the Round Hill Society's AGM in November 2006, Pat Mears of the Open Market Trader's Association unveiled plans for an £11m European-style market and arts & crafts centre. The vision embodied a large rectangular structure, stretching from London Road to Ditchling Road, in which French markets, Farmers' markets, Craft Fairs and educational activities such as cookery lessons could be held. Survey on the market's use
Also in November 2006, Brighton and Hove City Council undertook a survey on the use of the market, which was found to be used more for the purchase of food items, as opposed to non-food items: 77% of the shoppers interviewed purchased food and vegetables, 43% purchased dairy produce, 36% bought fish, 28% bought meat and 16% bought flowers. The average-spend per hopping trip worked out at £8.61 per visit. There were more shoppers from "BN2 3" (which includes Round Hill) than any other postcode area. 47% of shoppers arrived on foot, 29% by bus and 18% by car. What makes a successful market?
In summer 2007, information was gathered from successful market redevelopments around England, including Old Spitalfields Market and Borough Market in Southwark near the banks of The Thames. This research, together with the experience of Brighton's market traders, has fed into a complete plan, drawn up by Lomax Cassidy Edwards, the architects behind Brighton's £14 million, award-winning Jubilee Library. Web Links
1. www.visitspitalfields.com - an independent guide to Old Spitalfields market
2. www.boroughmarket.org.uk which traces The London market's history back to Roman Britain Has there been a retreat?
Little has been posted about the progress of the plan in The Local Press or on The Council's web site, so when I visited the Open Market on 10th May 2008, I asked Pat Mears for a brief update.
I was pleased to learn that, far from retreating from the scheme described to Round Hill residents, The Market Traders Steering Group was now earmarking £18 million for their vision, and was keen to push ahead with the regeneration plan. The extra £7 million partly reflected the addition of a fifth storey to the flats proposed for Francis Street, which make up a large part of the enabling development.