Petition to save farmers’ market unites community
A petition to retain the Marylebone Farmers’ Market has gained more than 100 signatures
A TIDE of community support is swelling against proposals that could see the Marylebone Farmers’ Market closed for good.
This week, within days of its launch, more than 100 people had already signed a petition against any future move by Westminster Council to sell off the Moxon Street car park where the market is held every Sunday.
The Wood&Vale reported earlier this month that restrictions on when the council can sell the site without being penalised run out next year and the council is considering building a library there as part of any redevelopment.
Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Bonar, who launched the petition to save the market, said: “The responses have been really good – some of the comments are quite strong. I think the farmers’ market is absolutely vital.
“Lots of people are saying how important it is to the vitality of the area – and building that village-y feel that it has.
“It only happens once a week but it brings so many people into the area. Sadly, Westminster Council is yet again considering the future of the market’s home, including the possibility that it will be sold off for development. Well, they are asking for the views of local people, so let’s let them have it loud and clear.”
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It is not the first time people-power has been called on to save that market. In 2008 when the car park came under threat, a petition signed by 631 people helped persuade council bosses to think again.
Back then the council had planned to build an adult education centre on the site of the market, although those plans were eventually dropped.
Each Sunday the market brings up to 40 stalls of fruit, vegetables and all kinds of other fresh produce from rural parts of Britain for London residents to peruse, inspect and buy. It is also a social hub, giving people a bustling place to meet and chat.
People living as far afield as southern Australia, South Africa and even Hawaii are among those who have so far signed the latest petition.
Signatory Dr Margherita Rendel said: “This market is a wonderful source for many varieties of produce and products that are not obtainable anywhere else. I come from St John’s Wood, a bus ride, to visit it every Sunday if possible and I should be at a complete loss if it were to disappear. The market is always busy, so I am clearly not alone in my views.”
Another, Michael Tomczak, said: “It is such a vital and thriving part of the community and brings all residents together every Sunday in such a unique way. It would devalue the essence of what ‘Marylebone Village’ currently holds that makes this neighbourhood such an individual and wonderful place to live.
“I urge Westminster Council to listen to its residents and keep the fabric of this community together forever.”
Wiltshire pig farmer Debbie Wilkinson, who has had a stall at the market since it opened, said: “It’s a very good market – it’s very, very friendly and we all help each other out. Everyone knows each other. If the market closes then we will lose part of our income.”
Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Westminster Council’s finance and resources chief, stressed that no decision had yet been made on the future of the Moxon Street car park.
He said: “We will be seeking interest and proposals for the site in the new year, and will of course take into account the feedback we have received from local residents, businesses and community groups to balance local needs and the best use of taxpayers’ money.”
From next autumn, the council will be free to sell Moxon Street car park, which is tucked away behind Marylebone High Street. The car park, which the council has owned since 1991, has been home to the weekly farmers’ market since 2003.
To sign the petition visit http://www.gopetition.com/petition/40579/signatures.html