The redevelopment of the historic Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market in Smithfield is broadly welcome. So too is the Council’s desire to “conserve heritage assets” and have it “become a natural hub for quality food and local produce.”
What is more foreboding is their stated wish to create a “tourist attraction” and contract a “single-source operator who will be responsible for restoring the market building, fitting it out and operating the space.”
In other words, relinquish control of the space to someone who will be justifiably driven by margins given their upfront investment. Are we, yet again, turning another space into one for tourists first and locals as an after-thought?
We recently strolled through Borough Market, on a trip to London, noting in their Market Life magazine how, over the last two decades, “they have provided a platform upon which small, inexperienced businesses bursting with enthusiasm and bright ideas can grow to become leaders in their fields,” and how they are “actively seeking to incubate the next generation of traders, particularly those who offer fresh ideas about sustainability, health, waste minimisation and local production.”
Can a single-source operator deliver such rich diversity and opportunity?
Who owns Borough Market? Borough Market is an independent institution owned by a charitable trust and run by a board of volunteer trustees.