Gloucester Green Market to get new lease of life after firms reveal £150k investment (From The Oxford Times)
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Gloucester Green Market to get new lease of life after firms reveal £150k investment
TRADERS and customers are being promised a ‘bright new future’ for Oxford’s run-down Gloucester Green market as part of a £150,000 investment boost.
Under the deal struck by Oxford City Council, private firms Geraud UK and LSD Promotions Ltd will take over the running of the market.
The companies have set out plans to transform the market, with £150,000 spent in the first year on new stalls, branding, a new layout and more promotion.
The deal, announced yesterday, has been welcomed by traders who said the market has been neglected.
It comes after the council admitted it was subsidising the market with about £80,000 a year and that pitches were under-subscribed.
Tony Peddle, 50, said he was only still trading at the market because he had heard about the possible changes.
He said: “We work the Stratford Market, which the companies have been involved with since October, and it’s been fantastic.
“They just provide good management, and it’s about time that happened in Oxford.
“We heard they were one of the companies going for the tender, and that’s one of the things which kept us here.”
Liverpool-based Geraud UK and Stourbridge-based LSD Promotions Ltd took over the running of the Stratford-upon-Avon Market last year.
Markets held there on Fridays and Saturdays are now fully booked and it accommodates up to 63 stalls, compared to the previous 40.
Traders at Gloucester Green, which holds weekly markets on Wednesdays and Thursdays and a fortnightly farmers’ market every other Thursday, have had a guarantee that their rent – currently £28.67 per day – will remain the same for the first year of the new contract.
After that they will be allowed to rise so that they reflect inflation and market value, but the city council will be responsible for setting the rent, while Geraud and LSD will be responsible for collecting it.
Geraud and LSD Promotions will receive the income from the rents and pay the council a set amount each year, which has not been revealed.
Alan Harrington, 63, from Devizes, said: “I’d rather it was run by the council, but they haven’t done a very good job of it.
“I’ve been here for 38 years, and in the last three years the place has been run down to nothing.
“They were going to replace these stalls eight years ago and asked us what we wanted, but it never happened.”
Hashem Zomorod, 44, and Darush Sefri, 35, have run a stall selling olives, Turkish Delight and other snacks for seven years. Mr Sefri said: “When it rains, the water comes through the stall roof, so they definitely need to do something about that.
“If it doesn’t cost more money, then it doesn’t matter to us.”
The companies will be aiming to boost the number of stallholders, currently 30 on a Wednesday, 40 on Thursdays and between 12-15 at the farmers’ market.
Experience Oxfordshire director Giles Ingram said: “It’s great news that the markets will be given a boost .
“Oxford’s open-air markets at Gloucester Green are a significant part of the city’s tradition and heritage as well as an important aspect of the retail offer for local residents and visitors alike.”
City head of regeneration David Edwards said: “We have been concerned that in recent years although the market has been ticking along we are ambitious for something better.
“The city council is still very firmly involved. We are the landlord, we will still be providing waste services and we will remain in charge of setting the rents.”
Council leader Bob Price said the partnership would bring “experience and investment” to the market. He said: “I’m not aware of the market having ever made money, and I’ve been on the council for 30 years. If we had not made this deal, we would have had to make a capital investment because the stalls do need to be replaced.”
The area has the capacity to host 100 stalls, and although many traders have more than one, the new management hopes to at least double the number of traders.
LSD director Dermot McGillicuddy said: “We reckon in the first year we’re going to have to put in £150,000. That’s for new stalls, back-up equipment and promotion.
“We also have a lot of contacts and connections with traders, like those in the Midlands who probably don’t even know there’s a market here in Oxford.
“We can change that.”
- Markets have played a key role in Oxford’s trading history
- The iconic Covered Market was built in 1771 and still trades to this day
- A cattle market was operated in Gloucester Green for many years, but was moved to Oxpens in 1929
- The more modern market seen today in Gloucester Green moved from Oxpens in 1986
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