Westminster street markets poised to flourish in the future

Thu, 29/11/2018

Westminster’s street markets poised to flourish in the future Plans to make sure Westminster’s street markets thrive in the future were discussed by the council’s Licensing Committee yesterday (Wednesday 28 November).

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.

There were almost 850 responses, with 73 received from traders, to the council’s 12-week consultation, which ended on 29 October 2018. It 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. Responses suggested this was very important to traders.

The Licensing Committee considered four options to refresh market fees and charges, and decided on changes - the first since 2006 - to ensure the future basic running costs of Westminster’s markets are recovered in full. The council is also planning external sources of funding to invest in markets to support development plans beyond those basics.

Of those traders who responded to the consultation, 55% favoured one of those options – and this was the option approved by the Licensing Committee.

It will see a staggered increase across all markets, with 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.

These charges, which remain in the lower range when compared with those of other local authority-run markets in London, will be implemented from 1 April 2019. The overall new strategy for Westminster’s markets will be set out in the New Year and is scheduled to be introduced at the same time, with strategies for each market reflecting their different characters and needs.

Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Education and Community, said:

“As we’ve made clear, we’re committed to a prosperous future for our independent traders and so it’s key for Westminster’s street markets to continue to hold their own with other markets, online retailers and other attractions. Making sure fees remain reasonable for traders is just part of our promise to them.

“Our markets must provide what local residents want, and we’re focused on developing a strategy which supports them to do that. They also provide great opportunities for our residents to start and grow innovative new businesses, and we have a big part to play in helping them to succeed.”

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.

• Responses to the consultation 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, and we intend to implement such concessions.

• 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. We intend to offer this hardship support. This would give businesses the time they need to become more sustainable in the long term.

• Papers for the Licensing Committee can be found at https://committees.westminster.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=129&MId=4578

Last updated: 29 November 2018