Gardens & wildlife

Open Market Regeneration

UPDATE: The new Open Market was opened on 19th July 2014.

Open Market Francis Street
The Open Market is still open for business. However, nearly all the stalls (pictured below) have now moved from Francis Street to a corridor connecting Ditchling Road (to the east) to Marshalls Row and London Road (to the west). The corridor runs behind the rear facade of the properties in Baker Street.

The stalls - back in Marshall's Row
Corridor connecting Ditchling Rd to London Rd
to the N of the current development site and
to the S of rear facade of properties in Baker Street

The Market Cafe
You can take a rest from shopping and order anything from a cup of tea or coffee to a sandwich or full grilled meal. You can sit outside and soak up the market atmosphere or take cover in the interior of the cafe. Open Market Francis Street
Dave Ovett's Bacon & Eggs stall is also very well established. Dave's son, Steve Ovett, broke many world records on the athletics track, so the bacon and eggs cannot be bad. You will see good turnover here. The focus on bacon and eggs, including free range eggs, makes it one of the best places in Brighton for value and quality for anybody seeking these products. You are encouraged to return empty egg boxes so that they can be re-used to keep prices low.
Open Market Francis Street
Pet's Pantry is a good outlet for wild bird food as well as provisions for domesticated animals.
Open Market Francis Street
The Haberdashery specialises in good quality wool at very low prices, so if you enjoy knitting and want value for money, this is the first place to come in Brighton & Hove. They also sell 'Ra Ra', 'Can Can' and 'To To' skirts, which are ideal for children's and adults' parties. Popular buys are:
1.aran, yarn, normal, single or double knit wool
2.ribbon, cotton, thread, needles, pins
3.zips, knitting needles
5.cord for curtains or dressing gowns
6.buttons of all shapes, sizes and materials
7.polyester fibre
8.drape curtains
Open Market Francis Street
C.H. Mears & Sons' main outlets are at:
•Marshalls Row Brighton Tel: 01273 670711 Brighton 24HR Tel: 01273 673966
•Catering Unit, Municipal Market, Circus Street, Brighton Tel: 01273 602781 Fax 01273 675784
Pat and Mary Mears are often present. Pat's grandfather was among the earliest traders in Brighton's Open Market in the early 1920s - one of those returning from World War 1. In the early years, 90 % of Brighton's residents bought their produce at the Open Market, which boasted 16 greengrocers originally.

Pat and Mary are among the 6 or 7 traders who are preparing plans for a £11 million make-over of Brighton's Open Market. Open Market Francis Street
The Egg Shop specialises in cheeses as well as eggs. It also sells bacon and ingredients which are useful if you like baking: e.g. peanuts, dates, figs, apricots, prunes, raisins & sultanas Open Market Francis Street
The Egg Shop specialises in cheeses as well as eggs. It also sells bacon and ingredients which are useful if you like baking: e.g. peanuts, dates, figs, apricots, prunes, raisins & sultanas Open Market Francis Street

The florist offers bargain value flowers (with bulk and seasonal discounts). There are also bedding plants, perennials, shrubs and house plants. Prices vary daily for flowers. Tel: 01273 690726
•Weddings / Birthdays / Funerals
•Local Deliveries
•Credit Cards Welcome
•Continental Aqua Bouquets
[made to order by Nicola: see opposite]

Marshalls Row - west end Open Market Marshalls Row
Three stalls in Marshalls Row just to the east of London Road (though to the west of the development site of the new covered market) are still open for business: C.H. Mears & Sons' main shop, Andrew's Fish Shop and a Café. The Ladies & Gentlemen's Toilets, out of the picture (below) to the right, are also still open. Open Market Francis Street
C.H. Mears & Sons take a lot of interest in the Open Market and work hard to make their stalls attractive to customers. Mary Mears represents the stallholders. The family business provides employment for several hard-working market assistants who take an interest in their customers and maintain a good standard of service. Open Market Francis Street
Andrew's Fish Shop provides a good outlet for fresh fish, which is something of a tradition in Brighton's Open Market. Sid's Fish (run for many years by Sid's son Dave) has now gone.
Open Market Francis Street
Open Market Francis Street

Open Market re-development
For the latest on this, go to The Council's Open Market re-development web page. There have been certain changes to what is described in the following paragraphs, which represent earlier proposals.

artists impression

The above picture is an artist’s impression of the main area of Brighton’s proposed Open Market. The roof will be made of metal and glass. There have been slight modifications. The triangular struts will not begin at floor level. There will be pillars first and then struts, beginning higher up, so that people do not knock their heads.

£11 million re-vamp

Brighton’s Open Market is now undergoing a £11 million revamp, including provision for 56 permanent market stalls, 58 art and craft workshops, a café and 26 one, two and three-bedroom flats (40% of which will be affordable).

Researched by market traders and designed by an award-winning architect

Some of the surviving market traders studied successful markets in other parts of the UK. Their experience and research was incorporated into a complete plan, drawn up by Lomax Cassidy Edwards, the architects behind Brighton’s £14 million, award-winning Jubilee Library. Inspiration has also been taken from Study of old Spitalfields Market and Borough Market in Southwark near the banks of The Thames.

Description of the proposal for Brighton

Brighton's proposed Open Market consists of a square (large rectangle) stretching from London Road to Ditchling Road. The square will be an open thoroughfare – 24 hours per day. The only closing-time will be on 1 day per year by law to allow the space to be put to another community use. There will be roller shutters on every property to provide security. The closing time of each stall will largely up to individual traders.

French markets, Farmers’ markets, Craft Fairs & educational events

There will be room for regular events such as French markets, Farmers’ markets, Craft Fairs and Educational activities such as cookery lessons.

Local concept catering for local needs

The general concept is “North Laine with a roof on it”, so when it is raining people will still come. It is anticipated that some of the enterprises which can no longer afford North Laine rents will be attracted to the new Open Market, though food stores will still be especially well represented. It is hoped that the market will be able to supply shoppers planning an elaborate dinner party, while still serving customers on lower incomes looking for nutritious food. Priority will be given to local enterprise (not multi-national chains). A local delivery scheme could also be considered.

Much improved accommodation

All stalls will be 3M x 6M, one foot wider and 4 to 5 ft deeper than existing stalls.

The floor in the centre of the market hall will be strong enough to put the occasional vehicle e.g. there is a French market trader who bakes bread within his lorry. There will also be access at both London Rd and Ditcling Rd ends for fire engines and ambulances.

The market will have a 1st floor, but only on one side, so there will be a balcony overlooking the main hall.

Enabling development

There will be houses and flats in Francis street and 48 dwellings above the market to assist in enabling the development. There will be limited parking with provision for a disabled parking bay (6 spaces).

More space for traders & workshops than anticipated

The upper storey was to include workshops for the University of Brighton, though now that the university is wants to have these on the site of the wholesale market in Circus Street , there is space for extra traders. A lot of people have shown interest; barbers, organic butchers, bistros (open in the evening), arts & crafts workshops.

Flexible workshops, but no room for junk

There would be space for somebody who wanted a print and design workshop, a nail-polishing stall and even perhaps a local solicitor’s office. However, they would resist any trader who was selling anything too inferior in order not to invite people who merely want to offload junk.

When will this come about?

Traders have been given at least two extensions to allow more time to iron out omissions in their plans. The hope at one stage was to register a planning application in the Spring of 2008, though a further extension has proved necessary. Many issues have to be attended to before a major planning application stands a good chance of being accepted.

If something resembling the conception of the scheme (as described above) is approved by the Council's Planning Applications Sub-committee, then it is likely that the first part of the scheme to be built would be the flats and houses on the south side (i.e. Francis Street). This would take circa 9 months, and it would take a further 6 months to complete the new market.

What is the wider plan for the London Road area?

Plans for the Open Market fit into the Council’s effort to regenerate the London Road and Lewes Road corridors. The market hopes to lead the revival of the area. In January 2007, The Council published a Snapshot Report on the Open Market, folowing the Open Market project - November 2006 Consultation.

What are the priorities for the area and is the Open Market high up on the list?

Traffic management poses a key challenge in the London Road and Ditchling Road areas, though the need for attractive community space is also recognised.

The market traders have their own money (on top of the £11 million fund) to invest in the success of the proposed scheme. They have attended to details such as rubbish compactor units, recycling units, security and emergency access. However, before a major planning application is registered, there are many details to get right.

Links to The Argus on £9m proposal to transform the Open Market into a European-style arts and crafts centre with space for street art and entertainment and a venue for visiting markets, such as farmers’ markets and French markets.

This page was last updated by Ted on 25-Oct-2018
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