The Chiswick Flower Market, which initially hoped to open in May, now plans its grand launch for Sunday 6th September.
Throughout the month of April a survey was conducted about the proposed Market to be held on the old Market Place, outside the Police Station. Nearly 400 people responded to the survey; 82% were strongly in favour, with a further 12% somewhat in favour, giving an amazing overall approval rating of 94%.
Most respondents (90%) described themselves as local. Many hoped it would rejuvenate and revitalise the High Road, and help local traders. Many were worried about the current state of the High Road with many closed shops (this anxiety pre-dated the corona virus crisis!) and felt that this 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 flowers was almost universally applauded.
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.’
The overwhelming majority – 86% (324) – of respondents 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 2 miles via cargo bike for market purchases, and the delivery team may be able to carry other shopping for a small charge. 73% intended to visit the market every time, but only 38% currently visit the High Road every Sunday.
Nine people were strongly against the market of whom four feared something that won’t happen (stalls on the pavement, disabled parking spaces blocked, future cycle lane reducing the area or causing danger). The remaining five lived close by and feared congestion on Linden Gardens. It 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 (they have) and worried about the effect on their business. We would like to reassure everyone that they have all been consulted and will be fully involved in the new market, with prime spots reserved for them. We hope 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. 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 worried about sustainability and should be reassured that there will be a strong emphasis and priority given to plastic-free, peat free, grow your own and locally grown products.
Several respondents asked whether food could also be sold. This team has decided to focus on flowers, plants and all things horticultural, but others are welcome to explore similar ventures – street food, vintage and art, for instance, have all been suggested and are being considered by other teams.
There were some queries about clashes with other events or whether Saturday would be preferable, issues which have been considered.
We asked what times the market should be open, and as 86% wanted either 9 or 10am; the team’s current thinking is to start at 9:30am, remaining open until 2 or 3pm.
Overall the survey revealed an astonishingly high level of support for the Flower Market. The team was much encouraged and is currently enjoying the lockdown by honing the list of traders, poring over the licensing documents and building up the social media profile.
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