Ipswich traders wary about joining farmers’ markets on the Cornhill

Ipswich market in Princes Street. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich market in Princes Street. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Market traders in Ipswich have been offered the chance of joining the new Farmer’s Market that is due to start on the Cornhill once a month from April.

Suffolk Market Events runs the successful Farmers' Market at Lavenham Village Hall. Picture: PAUL GE

Suffolk Market Events runs the successful Farmers' Market at Lavenham Village Hall. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

But most say they are unlikely to use their pitches for free on one Sunday a month – and some have been left frustrated by the fact that the Farmers’ Market stallholders will be able to use the Cornhill itself while they have to stay at the top of Princes Street between the Town Hall and Old Post Office.

One trader said: “We’re told we have to stay here whatever happens, and the trade would be better on the Cornhill, but then once a month the Farmers’ Market people will be able to use the Cornhill for up to 30 stalls. That doesn’t really seem fair.”

He wasn’t worried about the competition element – saying that the Farmers’ Market would be different to the normal stalls – but said it was not practical for most existing traders to operate on those Sundays.

“We’ve been offered our normal pitches free of charge on those days by the council, but it’s only for four hours a day from 10am to 2pm and it simply isn’t practical for that.”

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However other traders are expected to watch how the Farmers’ Markets operate and how many visitors they attract to the town and could then decide to try to open on some summer Sundays if there is an opportunity to sell to new customers.

The Farmers’ Markets will be operated by Justine Paul, whose Suffolk Market Events company already runs successful markets in other places around the area – including Lavenham, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Colchester.

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The markets on the Cornhill are just one element of a series of events in the centre of the town that are currently being prepared by the Ipswich Vision Partnership in association with the borough council.

The Partnership is still working with the council, Ipswich Central and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to come up with a series of events on the Cornhill aimed at bringing people into the town.

The Farmers’ Market is see as crucial to this overall plan because it is hoped that it will bring people into the town on a Sunday who might not otherwise venture into Ipswich.

The first Farmer’s Market in Ipswich is due to be held on Sunday April 7 and from then on the first Sunday of every month.

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