Westminster sets out stall for 21stCentury street markets

Fri, 15/03/2019

Westminster’s street markets have been playing a valuable role in the city’s day-to-day life for well over a century.

But as markets everywhere come under increasing pressure, council chiefs have been talking with traders and residents about how they can continue to thrive in the decades ahead.

Today, after a three-month consultation, a new strategy to protect the future of our street markets has been published by Westminster City Council ahead of a Licensing Committee meeting to be held next week (March 20).

More than 900 people gave their feedback on what they wanted to see happen over the coming months and years to reverse the long-term decline.

The top priorities for all parties were:

The introduction of cashless payments

Improved promotion of the markets, their traders and special events

Diversity of stallholders and stalls

Councillor David Harvey said: “Markets have always played an important part of our city.

“They provide an incredible valuable service. Selling everything from traditional fruit and veg, household essentials and exotic street food, they serve residents, workers and tourists alike.

“But we can’t afford to stand still, people’s shopping habits have changed and the markets need to adapt to fit their needs.

“And as a council, we will do all we can to help.”

Among the challenges facing markets are:

The decline of traditional markets for everyday shopping

Competition from privately operated markets

Continuing rise in street food over traditional stalls

Recruitment of the next generation of traders

The increase in online shopping

Decline in high street footfall

Following on from the consultation and working with traders, other local businesses and the community, Westminster City Council now plans to begin introducing improvements at five of its street markets: Berwick Street, Church Street, Maida Hill, Strutton Ground and Tachbrook Street. The council will continue to keep everyone in the discussion about the improvements.

Last updated: 15 March 2019