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Lower Marsh Market: Waterloo Quarter to lead new management company

London SE1 website team

Lower Marsh Market is to see another change of management when Westminster Artisans leave the street at the end of this week.

A year ago Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed cut a ribbon to mark the start of a new era for the troubled market. Since then, the proliferation of hot food stalls has brought new activity to the street at lunchtime but with mixed results for the established local shops and cafes.

Some business-owners have complained that the street food market traders – with lower overheads – represent unfair competition to their shops.

Westminster Artisans, who had revived Tachbrook Street Market in Pimlico, were put in charge of Lower Marsh a year ago but the council has now confirmed the social enterprise will leave Waterloo this week.

"The one-year contract with Westminster Artisans to manage Lower Marsh Market expired this month and we are happy with the contribution they made," said a spokeswoman for Lambeth Council.

"Their hard work has shown us that the potential is there to revive a street market at Lower Marsh.

"We are now moving forward and considering other options for managing the market.

"A partnership has been set up with the Waterloo Quarter BID which will be run by the local community as a not-for-profit organisation, with responsibility for licensing and managing the market stalls and raising a levy from new traders."

The spokeswoman added: "We can confirm that there will be no gap between the departure of Westminster Artisans and the start of the new arrangements as the council and the Waterloo Quarter BID team are aware of the need to ensure ongoing continuity with regard to the management of the market."

A notice on the Waterloo Quarter BID website explains that the intention is to form a new subsidiary company of the business improvement district.

"Waterloo Quarter proposes focusing on three main trading days in the first instance, which would include trialling an evening market and introducing a Saturday market in the spring," says the BID's website.

"A small number of traders would continue to trade on other days of the week to ensure continuity for customers. However, the main priority would be to build up the main market days as a high quality offering with a better variety of stalls.

"The main focus of the market will be to drive footfall to the street and attract new audiences to Lower Marsh.

"The BID will also offer favourable rates to encourage local businesses to take a stall on the market and provide opportunities for local community groups to get involved.

"Any existing businesses in the area, in particular food businesses on Lower Marsh, that would like to take a stall on the market should submit an expression of interest in writing to Waterloo Quarter BID.

"We are also keen to hear from any local people that would be interested in taking a stall on the market to sell items other than takeaway food. We are especially interested to hear from people wanting to sell produce and crafts. Expressions of interest should be submitted by email to [email protected] "

A market steering group – which includes representatives from local businesses, residents, market traders and the council – will help to plan activities linked to the 'Portas pilot' status recently granted to Waterloo.

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