Has the market become more crowded?
The number of shoppers in the market has steadily increased, starting from a low base ten years ago and now at 4.5 million a year.
The popularity of the market is dependent upon the quality and diversity of the traders within it, and the sensitive management of the amenity as a public space. A busy market attracts both traders and shoppers, which it must do in order to be both financially viable and provide the necessary support to sustain the livelihoods of the businesses trading within it.
Is the increasing number of tourists visiting the market on Saturdays having a negative impact?
The successful regeneration of the South Bank and the worldwide reputation of the market have undoubtedly had an impact on the number of tourists in our area.
The fact that a fine food market is amongst the most popular destinations in London shows how far the nation has come in its appreciation of food, and supports our mission to inform and educate the public on the benefits of fresh seasonal ingredients.
We must bear in mind that today’s food tourist may become tomorrow’s food shopper, and that interaction with our exceptional traders is one of the ways to move in that direction. But Borough Market remains first and foremost a food destination.
How will the redevelopment of London Bridge station affect the market?
The market has been working with Network Rail since 2001 to minimise the impact of the Thameslink project and the associated works taking place on the viaduct over and around the market. Historic buildings have been protected.
Throughout the development the market has continued to trade as normal. In 2009 the new Jubilee Market opened to provide an area dedicated to ingredients produced by primary producers and artisans; 2012 will see the re-opening of the new Three Crown Square Market, designed to bring a modern dimension to wholesale and retail trading.
The development of London Bridge Station is changing the geographic, social and financial landscape of Southwark, bringing increased footfall and competition. All competition is good, and Borough Market welcomes it. Competition forces any business to focus on strong service delivery, meeting its customers’ needs, creating sustainable loyalties, and preserving and enhancing reputations.
The management are undertaking substantial change here in order to develop and promote the market as an urban space that enriches the quality of life throughout the local community. As the market of choice for discerning food shoppers we must also ensure we provide something for everyone.
Working with the traders and management team we are taking steps to protect the historic nature of the market, and will ensure the market’s continuity and place in the community for generations to come.
Peter Wilkinson is the chairman of the Borough Market Trustees
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