You may have noticed at the start of this week that a number of chalet-like stalls began being set up in Cathedral Square, writes Peterborough Telegraph columnist and city chef Lee Clarke.
This is in preparation for the Peterborough Christmas Market which is returning on a bigger scale this year from tomorrow until December 23.
If the stalls are anything to go by its going to be a lovely market to walk through; leaving you with that Christmas feeling and surely some unique gifts for family and friends.
All this got me thinking about how great it would be to have a food & drink market as a more permanent feature of the city centre. All you have to do is search for old pictures of Peterborough and you will see markets populating the square as back as the early 1900s!
What’s stopping us bringing this back?
A permanent Sunday farmers’ market with stalls similar to those being seen this week could be a really great addition to the city and capitalise on the bubbling food and independent bar scene with workshops or demos from local chefs; fresh produce from Green Backyard, local bakeries, cheesemakers, butchers, and farmers. Let’s make the market free for stallholders to start with in order to build popularity and then who knows we could have an event that attracts visitors from across the region if things go well!
We could work with other authorities who have had success with their own markets – getting tips and advice on how they publicised themselves, got people involved and got them enthused. Blackburn, for example, won at last year’s High Street awards for their work to revitalise their town centre – let’s find out how they did it.
It’s certainly not an inability to do it that’s stopping us! – Our Heritage and Arts festivals over the years have shown that the city centre is capable of putting on brilliant events that wouldn’t feel out of place in major city like London or Liverpool, and of course just a few years ago Metal put on the stunning Harvest Festival. I remember being a part of that day and being so proud of what the city had come together to do. When you see what can be done, when the drive and motivation is there – you can’t help but want to see more of it.
It’s an idea that’s been floating around for years but I’d love to see it come to fruition – I’d happily play a part in making it happen any way I can; whether it’s promotion or joining a committee. Peterborough has a bright future and wouldn’t it be great to have a wonderful market as part of that?
LEE CLARKE is head chef at Prevost, in Priestgate, Peterborough. www.prevostpeterborough.co.uk
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