Representatives of Haverfordwest Civic Society, Transition Haverfordwest and interested stakeholders joined Haverfordwest Town Councillors on a fact-finding mission to Uplands Market, Uplands, Swansea on last Saturday,  26 January..   The day dawned cold and grey but despite the wet weather, the visit proved a great success providing our research group with the opportunity to see and experience the monthly market at Gwydr Square in Uplands, following Gordon Gibson’s ‘walk and talk’ presentation on Friday 18 January in the Picton Centre, Haverfordwest.

Dr Ben Reynolds (director of  Urban Foundry) took a break from directing street-operations to tell us about how Uplands Market, an award winning street market now in its fifth year operates and we shared our own thoughts and hopes for monthly street market in the centre of Haverfordwest.

Our group were delighted to  discover a number of traders were from Pembrokeshire- some also attend the Friday Farmer’s market in Haverfordwest. Many  were very positive about the proposed pilot of monthly market in Haverfordwest, and were interested in coming so long as dates didn’t clash with other markets.  We noticed that despite the onset of heavy rain, a number of the stalls were sold out by 12.45.

Here are some quotes from the group’s feedback about Uplands on Saturday:

‘Back-to -back stall positioning practical, allowing for easy pedestrian circulation.’

‘There was always a group of people watching the entertainment:  I watched a poetry reading’.

 ‘I found the traders friendly and the Pembrokeshire ones particularly interested in the prospect of  having a monthly market in Haverfordwest. 

 I was surprised at the number of Pembrokeshire traders there’

‘There seemed to be a good mix of items for sale and that would appear to be a key factor’

Caws Teifi Cheese always attends the Haverfordwest Farmers Market on a Friday. He said his turnover was about 5 x higher at Uplands compared to Haverfordwest at this time of the year. 

We saw how shops and food outlets in the immediate vicinity benefit from the market footfall trade.   ‘Crumbs’, the cosy vegan cafe where we ate lunch, was full to capacity- upstairs and down.

Talking to shop-keepers further along the main street revealed they benefit less from the Market . The owner of the dress shop said turnover was down on market days due to the lack of local parking made worse by market traders taking up the limited space available.   Consultation with businesses in Haverfordwest would need to address this to avoid similar negative effects and the task  group had thoughts about this too…

‘ If the Market went up the High Street, shops like Bonkers could be affected… they should be consulted about the pilot markets’.

‘ I like the idea of a square layout in Castle Square with a few stalls outside the Shire Hall, there is plenty of parking close by.’   

‘I think that a market bus service for outlying villages could possibly increase footfall on market days’

‘I also wonder if there’s scope to offer a free stall to student entrepreneurs at Pembs College..or for say 3 months at a time to a nascent business  that meets some predetermined criteria?’

‘The Castle Square looks ideal (20 pitches would be a good start) …one could imagine stalls up the centre of the High Street with cars going down Quay Street. 

Access to the market would be even easier with the the new passageway from Castle Lake.’

 The next ‘Go and See visit’ will be to Abergavenny on Friday 22 February where Haverfordwest Town Councillors and stakeholder representatives will meet Abergavenny Town Councillors and Monmouthshire County Councillors. A presentation is planned that will tell us about their current plans to convert and regenerate the iconic Market Building, combining the already popular and varied market offer with Abergavenny’s cultural and civic events in future.

Please contact the Town Clerk or Cllr Chris Evans for more information.

 

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