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Market Square Information Update

Meeting: 01/07/2021 - Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee (Item 29)

29 Market Square Information Update pdf icon PDF 315 KB

Councillor Payne requested an update on the process for trial, testing and consultation of the demountable stalls proposed for the market square redevelopment project be brought to the 1st July scrutiny committee so that:

·  A definitive process for the consultation of the trial stalls can be subjected to scrutiny, which has previously not taken place.  The success of these stalls is a critical component of the project's success and the experience of traders and shoppers so should be properly and publicly scrutinised.

·  There is clarity about the consultation process being used for the demountable stalls, which has currently changed from the initial report and Executive Cllr's information at full council, which indicated two stalls would be tested and that at the time no prototypes existed.  Substantive changes to the initial plans should be highlighted.

·  Members can understand the criteria by which the initial stall designs have been selected, including having sight of any technical specifications, information about prior evaluations and their certification for use in environments like the Cambridge market square, to be satisfied of their quality and suitability for the local context. and whether time taken to demount and reassemble is to be considered.

·  An indication of the cost of the different models of stalls can be shared with members for comparison.

·  The plans for storing the market stalls during city centre events can be shared, along with an indicator of how and by whom the stalls will be taken down and reassembled.


Report to follow.


Matter for Decision

The Committee received an information report in response to a formal update request from Councillor Payne, Liberal Democrat Spokes for Communities, Climate Change, Environment, Waste and City Centre, on the process for trial, testing and consultation of the demountable stalls proposed as part of the Market Square Project public consultation draft vision and concept design.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre

Noted the information update contained in the Officer’s report.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Environmental Services.


The Head of Environmental Services said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The council was committed to a demountable stall trial. Referred to the March 2021 Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee report.

  ii.  Officers were in discussion with traders to develop a two stage process.

  iii.  The proposed stalls were already being used in other British markets. They would be trialled in the city to see how they would be received by Cambridge traders and the wider community. If the stalls were a success, there would be a larger trial over the winter period.

  iv.  A report planned for October 2021 would set out how the council could proceed over the winter period so the committee could make an informed response to the officer recommendation. (Post meeting note: Report may no longer coming, but comment reflected intention in July committee.)

  v.  Demountable stalls were one part of the market square redevelopment project to renovate the area.

  vi.  Criteria to select the preferred stall design was being developed by officers in consultation with traders.

a.  Two types of stall would soon be placed in the market square for testing.

b.  Officers were looking to see if other types of stall were acceptable in addition to the City B Group.

c.  Officers would invite people to see the stalls in situ and give feedback.

d.  Feedback over the summer and evaluation criteria would shape officer recommendations (to councillors) on how to proceed (or not) with the winter trial.

 vii.  Other markets around the country did not appear to operate on a seven day principle, but did operate for more than one day. So they set up and took down stalls as Cambridge proposed to do.

viii.  Officers would seek technical specification information from stall suppliers, which could be displayed on the trial stalls so people could see and comment.

  ix.  Officers were meeting traders in 1-2-1 meetings to engage them in the process. Phone calls and emails were used where this was not possible. Traders recognised the need to engage with officers.

  x.  Traders could put items on trial stalls to test if these suited trader display needs. The stalls were display models to show types of stall on offer. They would be available for two weeks, so people may prefer to quickly try them out then have a longer trial over the winter (if this trial went ahead).

  xi.  There was flexibility in market square layout to accommodate different traders’ needs eg food versus clothing traders.

 xii.  Costs for stall set up and take down were a future consideration in later reports. It was expected that costs would be passed onto event organisers (who were using the market square instead of traders).

xiii.  Stalls had not been tested to see if they were windproof (eg would not be blown over). Any information in advertisements was indicative.

xiv.  Every market was different. Stalls would be tested in windy parts of Cambridge to see if they were suitable for the conditions. Public safety and the viability of the market were key concerns. The market was unlikely to be open in stormy weather.

xv.  There were no plans to replace the canopies on existing stalls in the near future. Officers were looking at infrastructure and did not wish to make significant capital investment in the market until the project started.

xvi.  Toilet provision would be looked at in the detailed design stage rather than now at concept design stage.

xvii.  Officers were looking at how to make the best use of the market square. The need to set up and take down stalls depended on how the area was used for different events, so stalls may not need to be taken down each day. There were peaks and troughs in sales on trading days so officers would manage when activity could occur to minimise negative impact on traders. Officers would monitor and manage activities in market square space to minimise the impact of one event on another to protect the market and make best use of the space.

xviii.  Officers were reviewing how to accommodate market stalls around the city due to public safety needs in lockdown. They were looking at alternative locations to host market stalls when the market square was being redeveloped.

xix.  A mix of qualitative and quantitative data was expected in response to the consultation. Officers would review and feedback key issues in a future report to committee.


The Committee unanimously to endorse the recommendation.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation. She commented:

  i.  Some traders supported the market square project, some did not.

  ii.  The project would look at renovating infrastructure such as toilets. This would disrupt the market so the intention was to do all work at once including reviewing the design of stalls, to improve the market for traders and shoppers.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.