Farmers market to start on St Mary Street

May 18, 2011 7 Comments »
Farmers market to start on St Mary Street

farmers market

A community market featuring speciality Welsh produce is due to set up in the centre of Cardiff.

The Riverside Community Market Association (RCMA) aims to hold a market every second Thursday morning on the pedestrianised part of High Street, near Cardiff Castle, starting in a month.

The move was announced at the Sustainable Living in Cardiff event, held in Chapter Arts Centre, Canton at the start of a week of activities during Wales Sustainability Week.

Steve Garrett, chairman of RCMA, which runs Sunday’s Riverside market on the Taff embankment, told the Echo that owners of Castle and High Street Arcades, Curzon Real Estate Partners, had approached RCMA.

“They thought the market would be something that would bring vitality and flair to the area,” he said.

“We’ve agreed the time and location and I’m scoping out interest among the stall holders. I’ve had a really good response from them.

“Each farmers’ market that we run has its own characteristics and this one has to be distinctive to work.

“We’re going to focus on the best of Welsh artisan produce. It’s going to be speciality local food.”

Stallholders already expected to set up at the Thursday market will be selling Cothi Valley goats’ cheese, Penrhiw Farm meat, bread from Wigmore’s Bakery and Lebanese food from Falafel Wales as well as French crepes from La Creperie de Sophie.

Mr Garrett added: “We’re going to be adding to what’s on offer nearby, so that it benefits all the traders in the city centre. We see ourselves as promoting market shopping, which will benefit Central Market.”

But stallholders at Cardiff Central Market – which recently celebrated 120 years in the city – said the event on its doorstep would suck already dwindling trade.

Andrew Griffiths, owner of the Market Deli, said: “It’s going to chip away at the business.

“There are four Greggs within a five-minute walk from here. Tesco and Sainsbury’s sell milk for less than we can buy it. Our milk sales have halved since they opened. People go and grab a meal deal and stop coming here.

“There’s only so many bites of the cherry.”

Alan Griffiths, chairman of the Market Traders’ Association, said there had been a 25% reduction in footfall since pedestrianisation of St Mary Street and High Street.

“There are stalls in our market which have been empty for years,” he said. “It will take away the livelihoods of people who are here 52 weeks a year, not just every other week.”

But Curzon director Nick Griffith said: “The added vibrancy that the market will bring about will attract more people to the area. There are a lot of people in Cardiff mid-week, so this string to our bow is good news.”

A council spokesperson said they were discussing the idea of a market with key stakeholders.

In preparation for when the work on High Street and St Mary Street is completed, the council was working closely with arcade landlords and retailers to improve the area and attract more shoppers and visitors.

What do you think of the idea? Will you be using it? Let us know your views in the comments below

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  1. Jess May 18, 2011 at 9:38 am - Reply

    This sounds great. I live in Penarth and don't normally shop for food in Cardiff – this would make me more likely to do so on a trip into town. I like the covered market, but it can be awkward to get round with a pushchair sometimes.

    The drop in footfall is probably less to do with the pedestrianisation itself, and more to do with the fact that St Mary's street has looked like crap for several years now. I avoid it because of the broken pavements, holes, clutter etc.

  2. Lee Smith May 18, 2011 at 9:41 am - Reply

    At last a proper use for the pedestrianised area of High Street. Im not entirely sure that the pedestrianised area looks that nice, is welcomed by traders or actually serves any purpose apart from to push ALL traffic down Westgate Street now.
    It all seems of a very high quality but noone seems entirely sure of the end result for it’s implementation.

    I 100% welcome the idea of some foodie stalls each Thursday lining this area and ‘bringing it to life’ – making the wonderful Riverside Market (and others) accessible to the whole of Cardiff to enjoy.

    Cardiff Market (as much as I love it) hasnt really moved with the times and still seems stood in a time warp! All the arcades have really upped their game and are a pleasure to browse and shop at.

    Cardiff Market cant just complain about the super powers of Tesco and Greggs – they need to offer either what they do or go that bit further and tempt shoppers in with someonthing that they cant offer!

    I haven’t purchased anything from Cardiff Market for years and have no real need or desire to visit unless its raining and its a short cut to somewhere else!

    They should embrace this weekly market and be part of it and maybe even gets these stalls to bring that ‘something extra’ back INTO Cardiff Market on a more regualr basis! We dont just want to buy fruit, veg and coffee in small cups!

  3. Crystal Hinam May 18, 2011 at 11:02 am - Reply

    The food market in the centre of Cardiff sounds great, especially as it on a Thursday when lots of shops extend their opening hours. I'll certainly be using it. It's a great was to enjoy and support local produce.

  4. John May 18, 2011 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Funny old world, the central market was built to bring in the traders from outside in the cold and wet weather. Now we are encouraging them back outside to set up stalls outside again.
    Why doesn't the council hold it on a Sunday when the Central market is closed so there would not be any competition and it would be more available to people rather than on a working day?

  5. Jen May 19, 2011 at 9:11 am - Reply

    @Jess – completely! I'm convinced the drop in footfall is from the mess rather than anything else.

    @ John – It can't be held on a Sunday because that's when the market is held in Riverside.

  6. Dan@Flavour sandwich May 19, 2011 at 9:55 am - Reply

    This proposed market will have a negative impact on many businesses in the local area including the Market and catering outlets. So instead of introducing competition why no be a little more creative with this newly created public space? You could introduce buskers and mime in a Covent Garden style! Or set up a band stand and invite local groups to perform,be it music, poetry recital, theatre and drama. The street could become famous for cultural reasons and the knock on effect would be increased
    trade for all the businesses who have suffered
    so much over the past few years.

  7. Ken May 19, 2011 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Nice one Steve – I had discussions with the central market several years ago about working with them to link a Farmers Market outside with traders inside and they had an effective veto through the market charter. Hopfully things have moved on a little since then.

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