I agree with the sentiments expressed on this thread in that (a) BM seems to have unilaterally and unfairly expelled some stallholders and (b) they seem to be becoming more of a tourist oriented market than a local one.
A quick look at trip advisor, however, will reveal that BM is the number one market and number one shopping attraction in the whole of London, and high up the list of overall London tourist attractions:
Following our recent correspondence I am writing to address a separate but related matter. The circumstances last week and the resulting outpouring of feedback from just about all the traders, shops, restaurants and some customers has focused me on not just my own dispute but the broader picture at Borough Market.
Firstly I want to inform you and the Trustees that I no longer accept your authority to manage the Market. I will no longer respond to anything from you or the management administration until a couple of matters described below are resolved. You have lost not only my confidence, but the confidence of the entire market for the following reasons:
I never believed that you were the right person to be Chief Executive of such an important body, your primary qualification would appear to be that you were an assistant to the previous sacked encumbant. You had no apparant qualification or experience in running a charity or similar organisation. No evident interest in food, food production or retailing. No experience or passion for Markets. No qualification or expertise in managing what was already a major London attraction. Borough Market had already been acknowledged as a mecca for foodies from all over the country along with its associated tourist element. This needed and still needs to be managed in a complex way to provide a meaningful experience for all involved. You have only ever been disparaging of the 'touristy' aspect of Borough Market. Tourists are to some lesser or greater degree always going to be a part of the market experience and this needs to be managed intelligently and constructively.
The above qualifications, interests and personal attributes would all appear to be major requirements for the job but none quite so important as the fact that you lack the interpersonal skills required to successfully communicate with traders, customers and other organisations which has lead to confrontation with all you encounter. Had you had disputes/issues with a handful of tenants would indicate perhaps that they were difficult people to deal with - to have fallen out with 120 suggest perhaps that you are the problem. It would appear that you have been given free rein to run the market as you see fit. The combination of all of this, along with a 1960's authoritarian management style has resulted in the following:
---- There is an atmosphere of fear, confusion, uncertainty and resentment among all the traders in the market as a result of your erratic and hostile behavour. People have been told to stop trading summarily, told they must trade when they don't want to, can't trade when they do want to. You have threatened people with the inappropriate use of legal action. You've stopped people from developing their businesses by trying to micro manage individual products and ingredients of those products and stopped people from trading in other locations outside Borough Market. You have blocked the expansion of ranges by insisting on every individual product being put through the food selection committee, a process which is neither clear, frequent or transparent. You are also blocking the natural development of those businesss and therefore the market. I don't intend to give a long detailed explanation of how the atmosphere came to exist but it does exist and is a corrosive influence on the individuals and the market.
--- There was a vibrant wholesale market, now there is empty space.
--- There are now empty spaces in the once thriving and full retail markets. Customer numbers and sales for all are down and continue to fall.
--- The reputation of Borough Market has been tarnished. What was once a beacon of market and local regeneration which other local authorities around the country were keen to follow, foodies from all over the country wanted to come to, is no longer seen as shining so bright. This is partly as a result of negative newspaper articles often sadly supported by comments from ex-traders so frustrated and angered at your lack of management skills and your treatment of them that their only avenue to seek justice and fairness was by going to the media.
--- Crucial parking issues for traders and customers remain unresolved.
--- Storage issues for traders remain unresolved.
--- Apart from the most general expression of the desire to return the market to its origins, no clear business plan or strategy has been developed or communicated as to how this will happen.
--- A number of buildings around the market remain derilict and empty. Empty property still abounds.
--- Due to the empty space, rental incomes have obviously not been maximised while expenditure on more layers of office management increases.
--- Nothing has been done to develop Borough Markets potential as an educational facility.
This diminution of the market in almost every aspect is totally against the interest of every stakeholder of the market. It is the result of either a deliberate policy to run the market into the ground or more likely mismanagement and incompetence of simply staggering magnitude.
This may well be your fault but it is the responsibility of the Trustees jointly and collectively and I now expect them to act.
If the Trustees were not aware of this situation they now are. I expect them to act with immediate effect and sack you.
If the Trustees are aware then they need to act immediately and collectively to make it clear they are happy with the situation. If that is the case I will then involve the Charities Commission.
I would like to make it clear that it is you Glenis who I hold responsible through your position as Chief Executive and my comments infer no criticism of any of the other employees of the Borough Market Trust who I believe to be decent professional people (with the exception of the snivelling wretch David Matchet).
--- Due to the erosion of all aspects of Borough Market, I no longer recognise you as a fit person to manage the market and will not respond until I or my representative hear from the Trustees.
--- I am encouraging all the other traders, shops and restaurants in and around the market to do the same.
--- I want an immediate response from all the Trustees collectively to this letter and their intended future action.
--- I will be communicating in the future through a legal representative from the National Market Traders Federation who have the interest of markets at their heart.
Finally, I did not want to be the person who forced this issue, but there is an expression that bad things happen when good people do nothing, and too many of us have done nothing for too long. It's time for me to stand up. This is not a personal issue but is an intolerable situation for many individuals, their businesses and livelihoods and is not something that can any longer be ignored. Because of the culture created, people are fearful of being seen to criticise in case they lose their livelihoods. If the Trustees want to guage the level of support for the position which I have described possibly an anonymous survey conducted by an independent representative maybe from the NMTF or other body would prove useful. Alternatively you could ask supporters of Glenis to stop forward - the queue I believe will be short.
So, according to the website of one of his own companies, Mr Wilkinson spends the weekends - when the market is at it's busiest - not in SE1 but in Vienna. VIENNA! WOW!! That is insane!
Does he fly in every week? Does that fit with the zillion of eco-credentials the market is trying to espouse? Does that fit with the importance of having someone who understands the local community?
Erm, why is he a trustee?
I would like to point out here I have NOTHING to do with any of the traders - i'm just a local SE1er who used to use the market to buy his food - but the more i dig into this the murkier and murkier it gets..
The only thing i still can't work out is - why are they so cack-handed? Mr Wilkinson has lots of links it appears with the private railway industry - are they planning a subtle land grab with the new bridge? I have no idea what they are doing.. Is there sinister motives afoot or are they just a bit useless in any industry where the number one priority is not that squeezing as much profit for their shareholders as possible?
I feel like i'm in a really low rent version of State Of Play...
I used to go to Borough Market but I stopped partly because of the wall to wall tourists munching takeaways and taking photos that blocked the stalls but also because all the stalls I used to buy things at got pushed out. Rents were doubled, pitches with leaky roofs given to meat vendors on sky high rates and short leases and who were then told to fix the leaks themselves if they had a problem. People basically pushed out one after another and invariably the ones with the best produce. I applaud the stallholders for setting up what we now call Miniborough under the railway line towards St James Church (some of whose families traded at Borough for generations) and wish them every success. I shop there now. You can have what's left of Borough, it's a crying shame what these idiots have done it.
We are no longer trading at Borough Market. We have been forced to find a new home for our market stall after being caught up in a dispute over loyalties. Please come and see us at the reopening of the stall in Bermondsey on Saturday 14th of May 2011 from 9am to 2pm, at what will also be our new cheese making premises:
1 Voyager Business Estate (at the junction of Frean Street and Ness Street)
London SE16 4RP
It seems to me where management have lost the good faith of both traders and customers alike they have to consider as a matter of some urgency putting their own house in order. Its all very well quoting business scripts at an audience but what appears laking here is any empathy with the industry itself. A management that sits behind computer monitors and spreadsheets; one which has lost sight of social capital, the investment in local people to affect change, is one that ultimately fails to understand a successful business model; people who are happy don't complain. I second the suggestion that traders be allowed a more direct input into deciding their own fate and future direction. Management isn't only a numbers game.
Tiamariajim, I hope that Borough Market will empty out fast with people who will join you elsewhere...no less is deserved. I simply cannot understand how a place as old and unique as BM can be spoiled in a short space of time by a whole bunch of random people controlling something they know nothing about and, presumably, with no vision at all. The last ten years have seen the erosion of BM from a friendly local gourmet shopping experience into some sort of Disney World nightmare. Like some others on this thread we have stopped going.