Hampstead traders rally against new food market plan with petition

The farmers market

The farmers market - Credit: Archant

A new outdoor food market due to open in Hampstead faces opposition from several local traders, who have started a petition against it.

West Hampstead farmers' market

West Hampstead farmers' market - Credit: Archant

The market, which advertises itself as featuring “award-winning farmers, small batch producers and street food traders,” is due to begin trading on Saturday September 10, and continue on a weekly basis at Hampstead Parochial School, in Holly Bush Vale.

But several traders from the area have taken exception to the idea.

A petition, signed by a group including the local butcher, fishmonger and cafe, claims the market “will have an impact on the existing retailers on the high street. If the food market goes ahead it will add traffic and congestion to an already overstretched area of Heath Street”

Signee Farza Emami, owner of local shop Meat Naturally, doesn’t see the need for another market.

“We [the local traders] all feel like we’re here 365 days a year and this market is just offering something that’s already there,” she said.

“It’s very hard for independent traders to stay in business, and Saturday is our busiest trading day. There are already markets in West Hampstead, Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill, and I really don’t see the need for another.”

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The market is being organised by Mike Norledge, the man behind the Primrose Hill market. He feels the market could have a good impact on local businesses.

“The reason why we opened Hampstead Market is because we had so many people from Hampstead come to our market in Primrose Hill, who said they were crying out for this kind of thing closer to them,” he said.

“Good food markets are proven to have a high knock-on effect on other shops on market day. This is what we are expecting to see in Hampstead.

“There are numerous shops who sell food who have said that they are looking forward to our opening and see it as an opportunity to promote their own business.”

However solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who runs the Hampstead Shops Campaign, feels differently.

Acting on behalf of the traders, Ms Learmond-Criqui plans to fight the opening of the market.

“The fact is we pride ourselves on helping independent traders, and it’s important to look at things from their point of view and heed their concerns,” she said.