Westminster City Council is looking for a new partner to secure the long term future of Berwick Street market in Soho, so that it can be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come.
Despite its enviable location in the heart of Soho and its history as one of London’s oldest street markets, Berwick Street market is not reaching its full potential and needs fresh direction and investment.
The council believes this will be best delivered through new management, with the market managed by an operator, and a partnership arrangement in place that gives traders a greater say on how the market is run.
The decision to pilot a new model in Berwick Street follows consultation with local residents, businesses, and traders. Feedback showed that people wanted a greater variety of products from their local market, something an expert operator would be able to deliver.
Over the coming months the council will evaluate prospective operators against strict criteria, including how they will maintain the character of the market, support start-up businesses and existing traders, and help unemployed residents into work.
The new operator, expected to be in place from spring 2017 to coincide with the peak trading period, will be overseen by a partnership made up of traders, local residents, local businesses, and the council. The partnership will meet once a month to hold the operator to account, giving traders more influence over the direction of the market.
Cllr Daniel Astaire, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration, Business and Economic Development, said:
“We want to build on the heritage and history of this iconic market by inviting experienced operators to come in and use their skills and expertise to work with local people, businesses and traders to make it even better, whilst retaining the character that makes it so special. This is how we’ll secure the future of this much-loved market.
“We understand people have concerns about the future of Berwick Street Market and we are listening. We all want the best for the market and Soho, and believe an operator would be best placed to put Berwick Street Market firmly on the map.”
David Evans, Soho Society Chair, said:
“We believe in Berwick Street market and support the direction that the council is taking. As well as working towards a successful longer term model for the market, the council and other stakeholders must find ways to mitigate the impact of building works and support Berwick Street – market traders, businesses and residents – through any disruption.”