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Tuesday 27 March 2012 7.59am
Morning troops

I wonder if there is an element of Ďhave you stopped beating your wifeí for me in some of this? In other words, there is a presumption of guilt/wrongdoing on the part of the Trust, which I realise I donít really buy into. Or maybe my brain is getting tied in knots. So I am now going Ďcold turkeyí from this forum. Come and seek me out on the Market if you wish and I will buy you all a metaphorical Ė or literal - pint.

My final thoughts are as follows:

I donít know if there has been a vision document produced for the Fine Food Market before. But the one that is proposed wonít by definition be a planning document, surely, but a statement of core purpose, about what the Market wants to be, rather than how it is going to get there. I think thatís what vision statements are. I take the point damc makes about the process - letís wait and see.

I genuinely donít know much about how the Trust does, or doesnít, communicate with local people, so it would be pointless for me to speculate how it should. On reflection Iím not convinced that I have to think that much about the Marketís relationship with the local community, either personally or professionally. Iím a micro business Ė I regularly work a long day with the general aim of generating sufficient income from sales to pay my bills, and leave a little bit left over to feed my children. I communicate with local people every day on the Market, and hopefully they appreciate the way that I do this. I sort of think thatís my contribution.

I really canít comment on the makeup of the Trust or its efficacy Ė clearly damcís view is that it is not delivering to his/her satisfaction. My view is different. So we will have to agree to differ.

Iím not entirely sure what point damc is making about my Primrose Hill analogy. This is simply me trying to illustrate my view that the fine food landscape in London has changed profoundly in the 15 or so years since the Borough Fine Food Market started; that there are challenges and issues associated with the current offer at the Borough which I talked about in my last post so am not going to repeat (hot food, zoning etc); that everything I see and hear about the Trust and the Management shows me they are 100% behind the future of the Market as the premier fine food market in the UK; and that the new infrastructure developments in TCS and on Borough High Street are absolutely a once-in-a-generation chance to set the new agenda for the place. Itís a challenge for them to deliver, donít get me wrong, but thereís no question over their intent, I can guarantee that. In other words, they might screw it up, but it wonít be for want of trying.

Damc suggests that i have Ďquestionsí Ė I donít think I do, actually? I ponder the way forward for the Market like everyone associated with it Ė itís a complex and complicated animal - but that's why I love it.

Tuesday 27 March 2012 10.55am
Hello Again

Perhaps I am not expressing myself well. Again, I apologise as there is nothing worse than reading diatribe!

Borough Market appears to be one big 'noshing' zone. I am sure there is a certain ampunt of zoning already. If it is correct to assume that most of the hot food is 'rubbish', would moving the problem from one area of the Market to another be the solution. Philip also says that there is too much hot food being sold at the Market. For me, beating the 'noshing' crowd to do a proper shop is quite off putting. I cannot physically see how the new space will cope with this if the current problem is not resolved. There is no information to hand so I cannot be excited by the physical changes to the market. The management of the current space is still not satisfactory. It will be the same big problem in a bigger space.

I agree that there is alot of raw ingredients (not diverse) sold at the Market. Philip states that the sales from raw ingredients is not as lucrative. There are so many choices outside of Borough Market now, where one can buy directly from the producer. I am not sure how many farmers and fishmongers sell their goods directly at Borough Market. I might as well go to Waitrose where the emphasis on provenance is much greater. I I have seen one or two new traders recently and when I spoke with them the told me they were available at Selfridges and Harrods (think). Is Borough Market poaching from these Fine Food Halls. Seems a quick fix. It feels as if there is a lack of imagination. It sounds as if there is alot of concentration on the physical changes to the space while turning a blind eye to the real issues. I visit alot of Farmers Markets and always discover really interesting Traders and i often wonder why they are not trading at Borough Market. Why are other Markets so succesful when it comes to attracting shoppers ( not noshers). It was the way Borough Market had started out. These other operators basically copied the concept and appear to be more successful at managing it. Bizarrely, Borough Market will now have to learn from these very Markets. Also whoever is managing it (assume David Machette), needs to somehow make clear to shoppers precisely how the siutation will improve so we can look forward to shopping at Borough Market once again. It apoears at the moment as if the street food culture (as mentioned by Philip)is the driving force. Just look at the new bit diagonally opposite Roast. Will post some photos later. One need only see the twitter from Borough Market inviting one to visit for lunch or nosh the latest hot dog.

PR is a disaster. This once in generation change is completely absent from the website. There is slightly more to be found on the Southwark Council website and of course on Network Rail. There are no pictures around the Market to show us what it will look like. Will it be ready for the Olympics? What is Borough Market doing for the Olympics. Again nothing available on the website. A greater degree of transparency is required please.

As for the Trustees. I am sure they are decent folk who can look in the mirror and say they have always behaved well and have the best interests of the Market at heart. However the slow decline of the Market had started under many of their tenureship. Surely they realise that they are not royalty and they can in fact stand down and allow other experienced folk an opportunity to take this Market forward. Messing up the future of the Market not for lack of trying, doesn't wash. Managers are paid not to fail and Trustees volunteer because they can add value and ensure success. It is the way of the world unfortunately. Borough Market isn't a hobby. It impacts on too many peoples livelihood and of course this community.

I agree that the entire area from Cafe Brood to Cathedral walk is a bit of a mess. Borough Market should work with these parties to fix that issue before the Olympics!

I think I can distinguish between rumour and real concerns and I hope that it is seen as such. Based on previous threads and discussions with Traders, I can see why it is easy to mistake it for rumour mongering. Beneath the surface, there are real issues.

Philip if misunderstood one or five of your points, don't buy me that pint!

The sun is back....heavenly.
Wednesday 28 March 2012 12.05am
I used to go every week to buy staples and treats a couple of years ago and it wasn't cheap but it was great! But all the traders I bought from got forced out one by one. The herb plant lady, the exotic sweets lady, West Country Venison and lots of others. Plus the nasty fight through the scary crush of all the burger eating photo taking tourists that made it so hard to get near the stalls to actually buy anything. I have to do that every day on the trains to get to and from work, why in the world would I want to do it on one of my very few precious days off?
Borough Market is a sad shadow of it's former self.

Oh and how do you get to be trustee exactly? Because a good friend of mine was interested a few years ago after a couple of stallholders suggested it to him but he was excluded because he lived too far away (less than 1/2 a mile) how does this work when the current trustees don't even seem to live in England to any great extent?
Wednesday 28 March 2012 8.22am
Good morning everybody and above all Damc and Philip.

So, to summarize it looks clear that some of us are happy with Borough market choice, some others think it could be improved and others miss the times when they could buy the exotic jumping carrots and the talking squids.. I guess this will always been like that. And it is good to talk about it.

BUT: what we all agree with is that the management is not clear, the PR is terrible and the links with the community are poor.

SO: as I said one year ago, should we set up a group and demand audience? To go there with our questions and concerns and to ask an open debate?

I did it on my own and spoke to Glenis Reagon. At that time I did not find anything sinister in her but I was only partially right on her. Still I think she wasn't the mastermind behind the whole bad management.

Again: since it has been shown to me that it is possible to meet the management, why don't we form a group and try to have a meeting again but this time will be a delegation of people, organized and not me on my own...

Otherwise, it is fine to write on this forum, but since we all agree on management lack of transparency, what next?

Thank you! Enjoy the sun
Wednesday 28 March 2012 3.12pm
A fine day to everyone

Apologies for my tardiness. Orione thank you for you summation. Fully agree. I haven't met Glenis Reagon. It is pretty clear that she was problematic but not sure to what extent either. Borough Market are obviously watching this debate, as they have promised this vision statement now.

It seems to me that this forum is the correct platform as long as we keep it professional,clean and to the point(even if we do show some frustration at times). Borough Market doesn't have a community links pages as far as I can tell. Would be interesting to see if they start making changes to their website, so that there is more transparency around staff and Trustee recruitment, as pointed out by Davies. Philip mentioned that there are more people working in the office. This was not advertised on their website or to the local community. Terrible.

This sun makes one want to drink more than 1 pint!
Wednesday 28 March 2012 3.23pm
Ok Damc.Lets wait then.I have a question.
This morning I had a walk at Borough Market which is very rare for me during the week. I have seen that a new space in front of Paul Smith is being created.. I had a look inside and unfortunately it looks like anoter eatery... Do you know what that is? I was really hoping for something different...
Thank you. I will go for wine as soon and the sun turns down a bit..
Wednesday 28 March 2012 4.37pm
orione wrote:
I have seen that a new space in front of Paul Smith is being created.. I had a look inside and unfortunately it looks like anoter eatery... Do you know what that is? I was really hoping for something different...

You've only just noticed the new addition?

It will form one end of the route next to the existing viaduct, which is being opened up by Vinopolis to connect Brew Wharf to Park Street. It is another fringe area that is not Borough Market territory. Part of it will be a new food market, restaurant / wine bar overlooking Park Street, plus a bakery, and (in their PR blurb) a 'shopping boulevard' (cringe, it isn't that wide - it's an alley!).

For what it's worth, imo the style and construction of this building as seen from the street is awful. It was designed by Greig & Stephenson Architects, who were extensively involved in the rebuilding of BM - indeed they make the grandiose claim to have been instrumental in 'transforming' BM, and 'kick starting the regeneration of the whole area'.

At least the building elevation isn't a repro / pastiche of any of the neighbouring properties, (it was formerly the blank brick wall of a former potato warehouse) but the design is a muddled mess. The brickwork, looks quite different (surprise!) to the computer rendered image on their website, and is out of keeping with adjacent properties. My heart sinks when I read (according to the G&S website) Southwark's head of design & conservation regards the design as 'a modern reinterpretation of the character of the area'. Whaaaat? No it isn't - it's a badly designed and executed piece of rubbish.
Wednesday 28 March 2012 5.39pm
spartacus wrote:
orione wrote:
I have seen that a new space in front of Paul Smith is being created.. I had a look inside and unfortunately it looks like anoter eatery... Do you know what that is? I was really hoping for something different...

You've only just noticed the new addition?

Southwark's head of design & conservation regards the design as 'a modern reinterpretation of the character of the area'. Whaaaat? No it isn't - it's a badly designed and executed piece of rubbish.

At first I thought they were offices.. poorly designed offices.. Paul Smith (in front) should have a chat with those guys.
Thursday 29 March 2012 5.40pm
Yes, well noticed that a wee while ago. Words cannot describe. United St Saviour, will no doubt be following closely behind.

I do think the wholesale area (adjacent to the Jubilee Market) and Roast Restaurant architecture at Borough Market is quite impressive. Greig and Stephenson did well with that.

Is there any organisation who acts as co-ordinator between all these land owners in the area. They do not appear to be communicating with each on their different estate strategies.
Saturday 31 March 2012 6.27pm
Today I saw a man carrying a Waitrose bag, which was filled with veg, taking a photo of some veg at one of the overpriced spots in Borough Market, clearly without any intention of buying anything.

You would have thought that it would have been better to take the photo at Waitrose - the lighting's better for a start and the veg are always very nicely displayed?
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