Flower Market planned for 6 September

The Chiswick Flower Market, which initially hoped to open in May, now plans its grand launch for Sunday 6 September.

A survey shows Chiswick residents are looking forward to the market becoming part of Chiswick life. ‘Chiswick needs rejuvenation’ said one who answered the survey; ‘Chiswick and Chiswickians need cheering up’ said another.

The survey was carried out throughout the month of April, by the Community Interest Company behind the idea. Nearly 400 people gave their views on the proposed market, which is to be held on the old Market Place, now the car park outside the Police Station, on Sunday mornings once a month.

Of those who responded, 82% were ‘strongly in favour’, with a further 12% ‘somewhat in favour’, giving an overall approval rating of 94%.

Most respondents (90%) described themselves as local. Many said they hoped it would rejuvenate and revitalise the High Road, and help local traders. Many expressed concern about the current state of the High Road, with many closed shops (this anxiety pre-dated the coronavirus crisis) and felt that the market offered a cheery way to give the area a real shot in the arm.

The fact that it was a community-inspired project was much appreciated, and the idea of selling flowers was almost universally applauded.

‘Let’s change the vibe in Chiswick on a Sunday.’

Respondents were asked to comment on the concept of the market. Here are some representative comments:

‘A flower market on my doorstep is a dream!’

‘Love the idea of creating a community destination event to revitalise the High Road.’

‘Chiswick needs rejuvenation.’

‘Columbia Road has generated a raft of small businesses and shops in the local area. We really need something like this for Chiswick and will needed it even more as a result of the inevitable recession that will occur as a result of the current crisis.’

‘Chiswick and Chiswickians need cheering up.’

‘Much needed addition to the Chiswick scene and a definite community asset… Excellent use of available space.’

‘Great idea to bring more life, atmosphere and colour to the high road.’

‘This proposal has the potential to bring something beautiful and economically vibrant to our area.’

‘It will bring colour, a point of focus, joy and cheeriness to Chiswick.’

‘Let’s change the vibe in Chiswick on a Sunday.’

‘It will create these shared memories and conversations that bond the community. I can’t wait!’

‘Nothing but enthusiasm!’

‘It’s simply a really positive energy-filled idea.’

Photographs above by Mark Lawson

Free home delivery using cargo bikes

Asked how people used the High Rd and how they got there, the overwhelming majority  –  86% (324)  –  of respondents said they walked to the High Road, vastly outnumbering those who cycled (13%), drove (18%) or took public transport (19%).

In response to the surprisingly few comments about loss of parking, the Flower Market intends to offer free home delivery within two miles via cargo bike for market purchases, and the delivery team may be able to carry other shopping for a small charge.

Majority said the market would make them go to the High Rd more

Asked how often they would use the Flower Market, 73% intended to visit the market every time. Only 38% currently visit the High Road every Sunday, showing a clear indication that the market would attract more people to go to Chiswick High Rd on Sundays when the market was being held.

The intention behind the market is to revitalise the High Rd, bringing more people and generating more trade for the existing businesses.

Nine people were strongly against the market. Among the fears they expressed were that there would be stalls on the pavement, disabled parking spaces blocked and the future cycle lane reducing the area or causing danger.

The layout of the market is designed so that there will be no stalls on the pavement. They will all be contained within what is now the car park, and the disabled parking spaces will be relocated nearby.

Five people who live close by said they feared congestion on Linden Gardens.

This is an issue that requires attention and the Council should think about extending parking restrictions to Sundays, something which we understand they are already considering.

A few expressed their concern that existing flower stalls had not been consulted and worried about the effect on their business.

The Flower Market Community Interest Company would like to reassure everyone that all the existing flower traders in Chiswick have all been consulted and have said they will be fully involved in the new market. Prime spots will be reserved for them. The Flower Market CIC hopes to bring additional customers to enjoy the offerings of Chiswick’s regular flower traders, who are an integral and much-appreciated part of the High Road offering.

Photographs above by Mark Lawson

Locally grown flowers

Several respondents worried about sustainability.

The Flower Market CIC is placing a strong emphasis on sustainability. Priority will be given to plastic-free, peat free, grow your own and locally grown products.

Local organisations such as the Chiswick Horticultural and Allotment Society and Chiswick House & Gardens are fully involved in the project, and have been offered stalls. Customers will hopefully be able to buy flowers and seedlings grown within yards of the High Road, as well as exciting and interesting plants from further afield.

Several respondents asked whether food could also be sold.

The team organising the market has decided to focus on flowers, plants and all things horticultural, not least because we are aiming to complement what other traders are already offering on the High Rd, and bring business to them rather than competing with them.

The Flower Market public meeting earlier in the year sparked an array of ideas – street food, a vintage clothing market and art sales, for example, which are being considered by other groups.

Easy like a Sunday morning

There were some queries about clashes with other events or whether Saturday would be preferable. These are issues which the Flower Market CIC have considered.

The survey asked what times the market should be open. 86% wanted either 9.00 or 10.00am. The team’s current thinking is to start at 9:30am, remaining open until 2.00 or 3.00pm.

Overall the survey revealed an astonishingly high level of support for the Flower Market. The team was much encouraged and is currently making use of the lockdown period honing the list of traders who might take part, poring over the licensing documents and building up the Flower market’s social media profile.

Follow us on twitter @ChiswickFlowerMarket or Instagram @chiswickflowermkt, and sign up for our mailing list at chiswickflowermarket.com

The full results can be seen on the website at  chiswickflowermarket.com/survey

The Chiswick Calendar is one of the group developing the Flower Market. Editor Bridget Osborne is one of the Flower Market CIC directors.

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