Market Failure?: Can the traditional market survive? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Memorandum by the London Borough of Bromley (MARKETS 34)


    — The London Borough of Bromley presently manages; a 800 year old Charter Market, that takes place every Thursday in a council car park. A combined Arts and Craft and Farmers' market, that takes place every Friday and Saturday in the pedestrian area of Bromley town centre. A small market that takes place every Monday in Orpington High Street.— Plans are in place to regenerate a producers' street market in Penge, from June 2009.— Occasional continental markets take place in the smaller town centres around the borough throughout the year.

    — Proposals are in place to relocate the Charter Market to Bromley town centre to provide an alternative shopping experience and increase vibrancy to the town.

    — The local authority considers a well presented and managed market to be an important ingredient to a successful town centre.

1.  Traditional retail markets today

  1.1  During the last 10 years markets have changed from traditional fruit, vegetable and clothing to more specialist, such as, Arts and Crafts, Farmers' and continental.

1.2  The number of markets has actually increased.

  1.3  The main obstacles to more markets would be lack of suitable sites, the expense of installing appropriate infrastructure, such as, power supplies, ground fixing points and stall structures. There is also a limited number of appropriate operators and traders.

  1.4  Parking facilities for traders' vehicles and the lack of appropriate infrastructure.

  1.5  Continental and farmers' markets have proved successful and popular, but only if they take place on an occasional basis as their novelty factor soon wears off. Existing street and market traders welcome these markets, but only on an occasional basis.

2.  Their social and economic effects

  2.1  They provide low cost start-up business opportunities. Provide an alternative shopping experience. Offer goods not easily available locally. Increase local footfall that contributes towards the vibrancy and vitality of the area. Creates face to face interaction between traders and customers.

2.2  Enable markets to provide the goods and services that customers need and want.

3.  Realising the potential of traditional retail markets

  3.1  Our markets are self-funding for operational purposes only. Bids are made for additional funding for such things as power supplies, new stalls and other infrastructure needs.

3.2  The local authority has a better understanding of the bigger picture in terms of the local environment, especially with regard to any future developments. Would need to meet the requirements of local businesses, residents, shoppers and not just the traders. Some local authorities may not possess the business experience to successfully manage a market.

  3.3  Not aware of any support from central government for markets. Markets should be supported and managed locally.

  3.4  Central government could make use of local markets for the promotion of healthier eating, less packaging, less transport costs etc. Also, contribute towards funding for regeneration areas to improve local economy and employment.

4.  Planning and licensing issues

  4.1  Planning regulations can assist where local conditions need to be implemented, for example, where residential properties are close-by.

4.2  Licensing regulations are essential for managing and controlling conditions. They ensure a "level playing field".

  4.3  Enable the regulations to be made more flexible to suit local conditions and requirements.

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Prepared 23 July 2009