|Picture by Paul Roberts|
Well it was all very exciting... I turned up around 10:10am on the Friday the day the new market started operating (official launch 31st October). This must be considered a bit of a soft launch as there are still traders not operating there as yet... some parts of the market are unfinished too resembling a building site in places. The electrics are not complete either, the lift wasn't working on Friday (was functional on Saturday) and there were seemingly a million and one teething problems. Nevertheless, the market seemed bustling and there was plenty of action. I bumped into a huge number of people I knew who were there checking out this quite significant development in Watford.
So what did I make of this move for the Market? If the truth be known I never actually liked the concept of the Market being inside like it was at Charter Place but after 38 years you just get used to it. This new market though has a challenge too. Firstly it is quite a distance from the buses. Yes you can walk down to it from the bus stops in the high street or Beecham Grove but where the old market was the older generation could just fall into it... now it's a fair walk. Many of those that congregated at Ell's kitchen used supports for walking or shopping trolleys and quite a few others; buggies to get around. I just can't see how these folk are going to be able to use the new market. The testimony to this was that I saw only one buggy there over the two days I was there... and very few of the older generation that would have frequented the old market.
|Picture by Jo Hayden|
The card stall holder had around half of his stock on display... he had twice the space for the same price down the road... Aylesbury fisheries were operating in a far more cramped environment even with some of their produce in the open definitely not going to be possible when raining.
|Picture by Alex Murray|
|Photo by Paul Roberts|
I can't help feeling though that those in authority in Watford have decided to tuck this new market out of the way, in a quiet backwater so that it doesn't affect the main business of the town... Intu shopping mall experience, Imax cinemas and restaurants. The market has been scaled down... the space each trader has reduced... accessibility more challenging... I hope that the market beds down to be a thriving new segment of the High Street and that over time the stall holders acclimatise to their different operating conditions... only time will tell... we will keep you posted as the story unfolds... won't we +Alex Murray
To see my walkabout round the new market through #Google #Glass please click this link...