New food stalls may hit market
A NEW market selling locally produced fruit and vegetables has been given the go-ahead despite fears from existing traders that their business will suffer. A plan for a sustainable food market to be held in Butcher Row, Saffron Walden, on Saturdays was ag
A NEW market selling locally produced fruit and vegetables has been given the go-ahead despite fears from existing traders that their business will suffer.
A plan for a sustainable food market to be held in Butcher Row, Saffron Walden, on Saturdays was agreed by Saffron Walden Town Council on Monday night.
One of the project's originators Paul Garland said: "We are very pleased the councillors have agreed in principle to the idea. A survey we carried out in the summer suggests there is a lot of public support for a sustainable market which sells locally produced, and in some cases organic, food."
The news came as a shock to stallholder Richard Lightly who has been selling fruit and vegetables on Saffron Walden's market for eight years. "It's going to affect us big time," he said.
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"The town is not big enough to take another stall selling the same produce.
"Since M&Co arrived in the town, it has nearly put the clothes market stall out of business. Competition from another fruit and veg market could do the same to me."
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However Mr Garland believes that the sustainable market would complement, rather than detract from the existing Saturday market in the Market Square. "It would be a niche product and attract more people to the town which would benefit all the market traders," he said.
The idea behind a sustainable market is to promote food grown in the area to benefit local farmers and help the environment by cutting down the number of food miles and packaging waste.
The Saffron Walden Sustainable Food Market is a community interest company so any profits would be ploughed back into community projects.
"We now have a lot of work to do to develop a business plan to present to the town council's property and services committee and work out details such as how much rent we will pay," said project director Paul Garland.
The sustainable market will not start trading until May, after the redevelopment of the Market Square has been completed.
Mr Lightly, who buys most of his produce from Covent Garden Market in London and trades at the Tuesday and Saturday markets in Saffron Walden, said he was disappointed that the town council had not consulted the traders already.