Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Farmers Market in the High Street?...

Interesting how many people are commenting about how well the market in the High Street worked on last Sunday's Taste of Tonbridge day. Tonbridge Blog has always said that the railway carpark location for the Saturday market is not a good one and was only ever meant to temporarily house it. So why don't we grab the initiative, seize the moment and strongly request that at least the monthly Farmers Market be held along the High Street as a trial. That way shoppers would be drawn onto the street instead of a car park at the back of Waitrose and shops would have a reason to open up on Sundays. If it was a regular event car drivers would know where they stood and could plan around it. In any case the effect on traffic on Sundays would be minimal. This should be the moment to push for this. Are you reading this Steve the Farmers Market organiser and Tonbridge and Malling Council officer responsible and Highways department official at Kent County Council and Tonbridge Lions marshals. Actual this last sentence kind of highlights why it probably won't happen. Too many cooks spoiling the broth?!

20 comments:

Outraged said...

Great idea, after all West Malling High Street is closed once a month for the Farmers Market. Lucky for them TMBC is in charge there. Too bad here in Tonbridge, Sainsbury's Borough Council trumps TMBC and I doubt will agree to anything decent in Tonbridge High Street. Sainsbury's won't stop expanding until they have successfully shut down everything in the High Street. Does anyone else remember Tesco in Tonbridge? Yup, we did have one!

Colin Hill said...

We did, did we? Where was that? I remember Macfisheries (now Peacocks)and also the old Sainsbury's when it was on the High Street.

Paul Bailey said...

Brilliant idea, and you, TB are just the person to head up a campaign to achieve it! As you say "this should be the moment to push for this", so let's go for it and see for once whether "people power" really works.

It's certainly about time the stick-in-the-mud, jobsworths at TMBC listened to the people who actually pay their wages, rather than just playing lip service to the whole idea of local democracy. If this was France, local farmers would be blockading the High Street with their tractors, lighting bonfires and burning effigies of council leaders until they got what they want. I'm not saying we should resort to such extreme measures, but it's certainly something a lot more concrete for Tonbridge Town Team, or whatever they call themselves, to get their teeth into, and for the rest of us to really get behind!

"Power to the people!" and all that Citizen Smith/John Lennon stuff.

tontweet said...

Would be great to see the Farmer's Market in the High Street. It would benefit from being more central i think.

manofkent said...

For a start they could try putting the Market in Angel Lane without too much effort and road closures. The turning circle would accommodate quite a lot of stalls.

As to the old Tescos it was at a time when there was a Maypole and International Stores. Is it right that a Tescos Extra is opening within the development on the old BT site?

Brenda Willis said...

Seriously Ouraged you sir are the most cynical (and nasty) piece of work.

Credit where credits due, look at how wonderful the Town event was on Sunday. I asked 2 stewards on the day how they had become stewards and also where I could pen an email of thanks for such a great day for the town. The answer was a TMBC email and a steward I spoke with told me he was a Council worker (or according to you Ouraged - a bribe taking numpty!!). So come on now give the Council a break. You want something yet you then stab yourself in the foot for being so hateful and bemeaoning the very people who can. And no I don't work there or know anyone who does, (I to have had my moans about local gov gone mad)but I do recognise Sunday was a great day for the town - onwards and upwards eh!
And great to hear the Blog owner is going to organise a market in the High Street. when will this be commencing and will it be regular stall holders or open to "us" crafty folk who can only pitch up (no punn intended) on a more informal basis? Would love to hear more details - how can I sign up? Yours B Willis - Welland Road

manofkent said...

So how many of the stalls at the farmers market are local traders from a 5 mile radius around the town? I bet you cant name even 10.

stephen wood said...

I do hear what you are saying and I will try and answer some of these comments.
A quick count in my head without a map gets me to 22 producers within 5 miles of Tonbridge (as the crow flies) and a few more on top of that in the TMBC area.
I am always willing to look at moving the market, but -
Angel lane is to small.
Moving into and closing the High Street is way out of our price range & would put the price of the stall rental out of the reach of most producers.
It would also mean changing all our advertising. We are listed on hundreds of web sites so this could take weeks. This is all done to encourage people into the area, which it seems to be doing. The average footfall for the market is now 2100 per market.
As far as I'm concerned the taster day was a great success, but it did have plenty of money behind it.
There is no external funding to help the market as it is a private enterprise and to run each market it costs a large amount of time and money. It is a money making concern, but any increased costs would make it not viable.
Your suggestions are always welcome and thank you for your continued support. With out you, especially the vocal ones, the market would not be the success it is today.
I hope to see you all Sunday 14th July.
Steve

Outraged said...

Hi Colin, yes there was briefly a small Tesco, mainly non food, it was in the High Street pre Angel walk and Pavillion. Located about where the Pavilion is now, Tesco took over a double shop that I believe was previously a hardware shop name Mence Smith. . It was in the early Tesco days, maybe 60's, of "pile it high sell it cheap"' which was their motto at the time. Yes Mac-Fisherieswas pre Peacocks. Pre Mac-Fisheries, it was the Bull Hotel which sat much further forward than the current building.

Colin Hill said...

Thank you Outraged. I am still struggling to remember it. Must be an age thing. I do remember Frank East's (became the coop) which also was demolished to make way for The Pavillion. Though I must have been alive I don't remenber seeing The Bull. From what everone tells me it was a better hotel than The Rose and Crown.

manofkent said...

Here's a few for you Colin, Gunners, Standens TV, Visionhire/Granada/Rumblows/Boyds, Frank Easts, Ginns wool, Redways, Marley DIY, Parks electrical, Malpass

Outraged said...

Excellent memory Man of Kent, makes me thirsty thinking of them! So may I add, The Ralway Tavern, The Angel, The Gallopers, The Dorset, The Bull, The White Horse, The Red Lion, The White Heart. Interestingly of these eight High Street pubs five are still standing. The Angel vaguely where Poundstretcher is. The Gallopers now Mac Donnald's, and as said, The Bull took the whole of Pecocks and more, it was a Coaching Inn, complete with its central carriage archway leading the a range of stables at the rear.

Paul Bailey said...

Outraged, none of the five High Street pubs you mentioned are still standing, or at least the original buildings aren't. What you mean is the sites where these pubs once stood are now occupied by the likes of Poundstretchers, McDonalds, Peacocks etc.

The only one I remember, and I have lived in the town for the past 30 years, was the Gallopers - a grot-hole if ever there was one, but replaced by another grot-hole in the guise of Mc Donalds.

I beleive the Angel was pulled down following damage sustained during the 1968 floods, but that always sounded like a poor excuse to me, as flood damage can normally be repaired without too much hassle. The real reason was probably some spiv property developer thought an ugly 1970's shop would enhance the look of the High Street much better than a Victorian building, full of character.

I suspect the same applied to the Bull, which you mentioned above, and Sainsbury's obviously thought their petrol station was more pleasing on the eye, and a greater ammenity, than the Prince Albert pub which was demolished to make way for it!

manofkent said...

With high taxes on drink, traditional pubs are no longer viable unlike the fast food chains so Tonbridge will never see the likes of them again. The Red Lion (original building still there)and pubs around the old market was open for extended hours on market days.

Colin Hill said...

"The only one I remember, and I have lived in the town for the past 30 years, was the Gallopers - a grot-hole if ever there was one"
....Gallopers had a certain charm but very smelly toilets. Thirty odd years ago we used to organise a pub crawl always starting at the Pinnacles and then work our way south. Without having to stray too far off the High Steet it was easy to do at least sixteen pubs in an evening. Lucky if you could do seven today.

To the list of lost shops you can add Featherstones, Allworks, the original John Adams book shop, Rex Bentalls, Timothy Whites, Cobbleys, Cramphorns, Fortes for a cup of milky coffee or if mother in law was in town proper afternoon tea the Carlton Cafe.

Most of the shops north of the Big Bridge used to sport those "by Appointment to Tonbridge School" crests above their doors and decorate the outside of their shops with birch branches on Skinners days.

on topic again...would love to see the council be brave enough to close the high Street once a week for an experimental period to see if it can be made to work.

Tonbridge blogger said...

Probably when those shops were on the High St. there were old folks all over Tonbridge saying: "I remember before that Featherstones when we had a decent bookshop!" You see people always think that their memories are the best. The reality of many of the places to which you refer is that they closed down because, in the thinking of the time, they were past it or someone retired and the lease ran out, or a building was crumbling or whatever. I dare say that when the children of today look back on their lives in 40 years time they'll say: "Oh I remember when there was a great burger place there; can't recall the name though...McDonallands or something like that!"

Colin Hill said...

You are quite right but the changes occuring to the High Street in recent years are un precidented (and it is every High Street not just Tonbridge's). The appearance of the High Street of my mothers childhood was very similar to my own i.e. A bit over a mile of mainly independent shops selling everything you were ever going to need whether it be food, clothes, shoes,furniture, books etc. There was never any need to go to Tunbridge Wells. We did of course go to TW but not that often.

Yes we are all being very nostalgic but that is no bad thing. It just shows we all care.

In the end it is only by people caring about the town that the present situation can be reversed.
Otherwise the High Street might end up looking like a scene from the short film "The last bookshop" and we don't want that do we.

Outraged said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Outraged said...

Of the eight pubs I mentioned, five of the buildings they occupied are still standing, yes, occupied by other retailers now. The Railway Tavern now a cafe next to the Library. The Dorset, was a large double fronted pub, look for the remains of two dragons on the rooftop next to Dyas. The White Horse front door was in the High Street with the back door where Mr Books was in Bank Street, it was the only pub with an all day licence on a Tuesday, for the benefit of farmers at the market. The Red Lion now Baldwins, and the White Heart now called Blair House.

Paul Bailey said...

TB, unfortunately I don't see the Golden Arches fading into obscurity any time soon, and as for "great burgers", who are you trying to kid?