Plans to make sure Westminster’s street markets thrive are set to be considered next week.
This follows a consultation by the council with traders, residents, businesses and shoppers to make sure street markets remain at the heart of our local communities.
The 12-week consultation, which ended on 29 October 2018, sought views on how we can:
• bring more diversity to Westminster’s markets such as encouraging non-street food traders to open market stalls;
• attract more visitors, creating vibrant market places at the heart of our communities;
• use innovation and technology such as WIFI to recruit the next generation of traders, with increased training in areas such as card payments and customer service;
• provide a wider selection of goods, regular new products and events; and
• become more sustainable by increasing recycling, reducing plastic, increasing biodegradable packaging and reusable energy, and offering in-season food.
As part of the consultation, plans to invest more into the city’s markets were set out, including changes to the way daily street trading licence charges are levied. Currently, traders pay £10.61 Monday to Thursday, £18.16 Friday and £24.40 Saturday. Four options were set out to encourage a debate around how charges could be structured from 1 April 2019:
• Option 1 – a standard charge of £22 per day across all markets.
• Option 2 – a charge of £20 per day for non-food and fresh produce traders, and a charge of £25 per day for hot food traders.
• Option 3 – an area-based charge: £21 per day for Church Street and Maida Hill, £22 per day for Strutton Ground and Tachbrook Street, £24 per day for Berwick Street and Rupert Street.
• Option 4 – a staggered increase across all markets: a fee of £16 per day Monday to Thursday and £22 Friday to Saturday in year one, then a charge of £22 per day in year two across all days.
Of those traders who responded to the consultation, 55% favoured option 4. If these changes to market traders’ charges were implemented, they would compare favourably with those of other local authority-run markets in London, remaining in the lower range.
Responses also showed strong support for the adoption of concessions on the application fee for charitable or community organisations, start-up businesses and applications from Westminster residents.
Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Education and Community, said:
“Our markets are at the heart of our communities so we want to make sure that’s where they stay. It’s vital for the markets in Westminster to continue to hold their own with other markets, online retailers and other attractions, providing what local residents want. They also provide great opportunities for our residents to start and grow innovative new businesses, and we will provide the necessary support.
“We’ll be setting out our full strategy for the city’s markets in the New Year and we’re committed to a prosperous future for our independent traders.”
The Licensing Committee will consider the options on fees and charges and reach a final decision at the meeting on Wednesday 28 November. Any changes to fees and charges would be the first since 2006, and would ensure future basic running costs of Westminster’s markets are recovered in full.
During the consultation, the council also looked at the potential offer of hardship support to strengthen less profitable businesses, for example through Westminster's Pop-Up Business School. This would give businesses the time they need to become more sustainable in the long term.
The new strategy for Westminster’s markets will be set out in the New Year and is due to be implemented from April 2019.
Notes for editors:
• Within the city of Westminster, there are six daily street markets - Berwick Street, Church Street, Maida Hill, Rupert Street, Strutton Ground and Tachbrook Street. There are also two weekly farmers’ markets - Marylebone Farmers’ Market and Pimlico Road Farmers’ Market.
• There were almost 850 responses, with 73 received from traders, to the council’s consultation.
• Papers for the Licensing Committee can be found at https://committees.westminster.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=129&MId=4578
• The committee meeting takes place on Wednesday 28 November at 10am, and will be held in Room 3.1, 3rd Floor, 5 Strand, London, WC2 5HR. It is open to members of the public.