City traders frustrated by surprise street market
By Rob Freeman | 7th August 2020
Food from around the world has taken over the Gate Streets in Gloucester - much to the surprise of some of its usual inhabitants who say they are losing out to the visiting competition.
Gloucester Continental Street Market is running with more than 20 stalls until Sunday, but some of the permanent businesses say they knew nothing about it until they started setting up on Thursday morning.
And they say a lack of advertising means there has been no extra visitors.
Jenny Clingan, director of Farmhouse Deli which has a shop in Southgate Street alongside the market, said: "Things are hard enough and now they've got food tents out there taking our business.
"They haven't advertised it so it's not bringing any new people in to town. It's just taking the ones who are already here.
"First we knew about it was when they turned up yesterday morning."
She continued: "I'm not happy. Things are tough and we could do with the support of the council, not letting them bring other people in to take away our business."
Another Westgate food trader said trade was slow with visitors concentrated on the nearby market.
Councillor Dawn Melvin, cabinet Member for economic recovery and growth at Gloucester City Council, said: "We're coming out the other side of an extremely difficult period for all businesses, and we're fully committed to supporting people back in to the city centre which will have a positive effect on individual business economy and the city's economy as a whole.
"We agreed a licence for the Continental Street Market to come to Gloucester because we feel the traders offer something that complements the existing retail offer in the city, rather than competes with it.
"The national guidance and regulation is constantly changing, sometimes quite quickly, but the council is ready to act and help get the city back on its feet."
She continued: "Sometimes this means we have less time to tell people about the decisions we make, but do so as soon as we can and they are always made with the city's best interests at heart.
"The market has had a positive impact on the centre's overall footfall which is good for everyone."
The street market is run by RR Events, who confirmed the dates on social media on July 28 while Gloucester City Council tweeted about the event from Wednesday.
A statement on the RR Events Facebook page said: "Traders from around the world will be on hand to display the best products that their respective countries have to offer.
"The market will have a wide array of products on offer, from unusual craft items to food traders offering the best hot and cold produce from their native countries."
The Continental Street Market visited the city centre in 2018 and is one of RR Events' first markets of a summer hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Punchline-gloucester.com editor Mark Owen was among those who visited the street market this lunchtime.
He said: "Having wandered into the city centre I was pleasantly surprised to find such a feast of international food suddenly on our doorstep.
"This could be a great event but not to the expense of the current retailers, cafe and restaurant owners already under reeling under the strain from the COVID-19 lockdown.
"Come on - let's have some joined-up thinking please."
The street market runs from 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.
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