Basingstoke market traders left fuming by farmers' market plan

Market stallholders are petitioning against losing their stands on the final Saturday of each month.

Market stallholders are petitioning against losing their stands on the final Saturday of each month. Buy this photo

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

TRADERS at Basingstoke’s market are fuming after being pushed aside to make way for a farmers’ market once a month.

Stallholders, some of whom have been trading in the town for over 30 years, have now started a petition, calling for a rethink, which they will submit to the borough council. It has already attracted 200 signatures.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been in negotiations with Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, a not-for-profit organisation, to bring a regular market back to the Top of The Town once a month.

But stallholders at the weekly Saturday market have now received a letter from the council informing them that when the farmers’ market is in town on the last Saturday of the month, they will not be able to trade alongside them.

The letter stated: “We regret that this will result in the Saturday traders losing a day’s trading in Basingstoke.”

Emily Broun, who has been selling eggs for four years from her farm, said: “We don’t mind working alongside the farmers’ market. But to lose a day’s trading – that’s our livelihood.”

She pointed out that traders have put up with disruption caused by work to revamp the Top of The Town, and have been temporarily relocated outside Debenhams.

The 31-year-old added: “They hit us at Christmas time, and then moved us back, confusing customers. The footfall isn’t very good here at the temporary location. The market has depleted but we are the ones who have stuck with it.”

Emily said there has been no consultation, and added the traders plan to set up their stalls in protest when the farmers’ market arrives, possibly on March 29.

Keith Eaton, who has sold fruit and vegetables in Basingstoke for over 30 years, said: “It’s terrible. They moved us down here to this dead spot and we aren’t making any money. But I’m here just to keep my customers for when we go back.

“Then they tell us that we can’t be here on one Saturday every month. The farmers’ market has been gone six years. It used to be on a Sunday, so it didn’t affect us. All of a sudden they want to chuck us off. It’s ludicrous.”

The farmers’ market, which promotes and sells a wide range of produce from locally-based producers, stopped running in Basingstoke in 2008.

Philip Howe, who has run the butchers stall in Basingstoke for five years, said: “Why can’t we trade alongside the farmers’ market? Or why can’t the farmers’ market be on a different day? The last Saturday of the month, a lot of people get their monthly pay, and it’s the best Saturday.”

Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, deputy leader of the borough council, said changes had to be made to ensure the Top of The Town’s “vitality.”

He added: “Taking action means that you cannot stand still or leave things just as they are when they aren’t working. The market has been declining and we need to do something to breathe new life into it for the good of all the traders.”

He said Hampshire Farmers’ Market, with its existing following, could benefit current stallholders by attracting more people to Top of The Town.

Do you have a view on this story? Have your say by writing to The Letters Editor, The Gazette, Pelton Road, Basingstoke, RG21 6YD, by emailing editor@basingstokegazette.co.uk, or by using the comment box below.

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:13pm Fri 28 Feb 14

AHSTONE says...

The official consultation period for this is five days. It has started and the portfolio holder, Cllr Ranil Jayawardena will make his decision Wednesday. I do not suppose public opinion will help one iota, the Local Council do not actually care much for the individual.
Please write to him or sign the petitions available at Squirrels Antiques, Stones ,on the Market itself and other shops at the top of town will also have the petitons.
I hope the Farmers market and Basingstoke's Market can work together. We do need an improved market and i think a combined market will work well.
The official consultation period for this is five days. It has started and the portfolio holder, Cllr Ranil Jayawardena will make his decision Wednesday. I do not suppose public opinion will help one iota, the Local Council do not actually care much for the individual. Please write to him or sign the petitions available at Squirrels Antiques, Stones ,on the Market itself and other shops at the top of town will also have the petitons. I hope the Farmers market and Basingstoke's Market can work together. We do need an improved market and i think a combined market will work well. AHSTONE
  • Score: 8

12:46pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Peter_E says...

Ludicrous. If the market traders lose a day's trading every month, they will probably leave altogether.

Letting the two markets run alongside each other is one solution, or maybe the farmers' stalls could be placed outside Debenhams or in Festival Place.

Someone needs to reconsider before what little remains of the market is lost.
Ludicrous. If the market traders lose a day's trading every month, they will probably leave altogether. Letting the two markets run alongside each other is one solution, or maybe the farmers' stalls could be placed outside Debenhams or in Festival Place. Someone needs to reconsider before what little remains of the market is lost. Peter_E
  • Score: 19

2:32pm Fri 28 Feb 14

poi000 says...

Let the two run side by side, there is plenty of space. But that is only a short term solution.
Unless traders and the council can find a way to improve the retail offer at the top of town, the market is doomed. It is now so small that it is barely worth visiting.
Let the two run side by side, there is plenty of space. But that is only a short term solution. Unless traders and the council can find a way to improve the retail offer at the top of town, the market is doomed. It is now so small that it is barely worth visiting. poi000
  • Score: 11

1:58pm Sat 1 Mar 14

deborah.long14@btinternet.com says...

I think it is appalling, that the market traders are being treated like this. They have been trading at the top of the town for donkeys years.. Why does Basingstoke B C not care about the needs for local people and local traders?
They should remember who voted them in?????
I think it is appalling, that the market traders are being treated like this. They have been trading at the top of the town for donkeys years.. Why does Basingstoke B C not care about the needs for local people and local traders? They should remember who voted them in????? deborah.long14@btinternet.com
  • Score: -2

4:56pm Sun 2 Mar 14

The BestTrip2011 says...

The two markets could easily co-exist on the same day.
I like the farmer's market and visit it often in a Winchester or Alton so I'm glad it's now back on the list for Basingstoke, but as it's been 'scheduled' to be on a Saturday it doesn't seem right for the usual traders to be made to pack up.
There is easily enough room in London Street and Market Place to accommodate everybody.
The two markets could easily co-exist on the same day. I like the farmer's market and visit it often in a Winchester or Alton so I'm glad it's now back on the list for Basingstoke, but as it's been 'scheduled' to be on a Saturday it doesn't seem right for the usual traders to be made to pack up. There is easily enough room in London Street and Market Place to accommodate everybody. The BestTrip2011
  • Score: 14

6:23pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Best_Name_Ever says...

deborah.long14@btint
ernet.com
wrote:
I think it is appalling, that the market traders are being treated like this. They have been trading at the top of the town for donkeys years.. Why does Basingstoke B C not care about the needs for local people and local traders?
They should remember who voted them in?????
Don't lump us all in your outcry. BDBC has cared about my need during this flooding thank you very much. You are not even standing in you local area.
[quote][p][bold]deborah.long14@btint ernet.com[/bold] wrote: I think it is appalling, that the market traders are being treated like this. They have been trading at the top of the town for donkeys years.. Why does Basingstoke B C not care about the needs for local people and local traders? They should remember who voted them in?????[/p][/quote]Don't lump us all in your outcry. BDBC has cared about my need during this flooding thank you very much. You are not even standing in you local area. Best_Name_Ever
  • Score: 7

8:37am Mon 3 Mar 14

Folkestone Saint says...

Maybe Ranil Jayawardena would like to try and live on 2/3 of his income as that is what he is asking these traders to do. The obvious choice is to have them both trading together as it would bost trade for each other plus the council gets two rents for the day, but since when did common sense ever come into decision making at a council office. Remember you work for the people of the town NOT the other way around.
Maybe Ranil Jayawardena would like to try and live on 2/3 of his income as that is what he is asking these traders to do. The obvious choice is to have them both trading together as it would bost trade for each other plus the council gets two rents for the day, but since when did common sense ever come into decision making at a council office. Remember you work for the people of the town NOT the other way around. Folkestone Saint
  • Score: 0

10:16am Mon 3 Mar 14

JJ38JJ says...

Can someone explain what qualifies a trader to claim they are a farmer? Whenever I've been to a farmers' market there hasn't been a farmer in sight. Most traders are just people who make cheese in their garage or jam in their kitchen and then charge a lot of money for it because they claim it is a 'special' product. What's stopping a normal trader from claiming they are a 'farmer'?
Can someone explain what qualifies a trader to claim they are a farmer? Whenever I've been to a farmers' market there hasn't been a farmer in sight. Most traders are just people who make cheese in their garage or jam in their kitchen and then charge a lot of money for it because they claim it is a 'special' product. What's stopping a normal trader from claiming they are a 'farmer'? JJ38JJ
  • Score: 8

2:05pm Mon 3 Mar 14

jonone says...

If the existing market is so great, why is Top of Town struggling so badly - or is that the inconvenient truth??
If the existing market is so great, why is Top of Town struggling so badly - or is that the inconvenient truth?? jonone
  • Score: 3

6:48pm Tue 4 Mar 14

AHSTONE says...

jonone wrote:
If the existing market is so great, why is Top of Town struggling so badly - or is that the inconvenient truth??
The existing market has been struggling for its share of customers for a number of years. Chas Brownfield and the top of town traders forum have been working on this and other issues for a while now. The problems associated with expanding the market up London and Winchester Roads, also up Church and Wote Streets have been overcome. We as a town can now have larger markets on Saturdays. Hence, the Farmers Market LTD were approached to take over one day a month. A german and French market may be comming later this year. The intention is to have a full and active top of town.
To exclude casual pitches is unfair. The stalls at our present market have never been given any assistance or any investment.
We should have an inclusive market not just a bought in one.
However, I do wish the Farmers Market all the best. It will be an asset to the Top of Town and Basingstoke as a whole.
[quote][p][bold]jonone[/bold] wrote: If the existing market is so great, why is Top of Town struggling so badly - or is that the inconvenient truth??[/p][/quote]The existing market has been struggling for its share of customers for a number of years. Chas Brownfield and the top of town traders forum have been working on this and other issues for a while now. The problems associated with expanding the market up London and Winchester Roads, also up Church and Wote Streets have been overcome. We as a town can now have larger markets on Saturdays. Hence, the Farmers Market LTD were approached to take over one day a month. A german and French market may be comming later this year. The intention is to have a full and active top of town. To exclude casual pitches is unfair. The stalls at our present market have never been given any assistance or any investment. We should have an inclusive market not just a bought in one. However, I do wish the Farmers Market all the best. It will be an asset to the Top of Town and Basingstoke as a whole. AHSTONE
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree