Town and Country Markets to run new Watford Market for the next ten years

Gary Hickman, Market grocer, Malcolm Ball, CEO of Town and Country Markets, Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, Jane Custance, Head of Regeneration and Development for Watford Borough Council, Grant Adams, Chairman of the market traders

Gary Hickman, Market grocer, Malcolm Ball, CEO of Town and Country Markets, Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, Jane Custance, Head of Regeneration and Development for Watford Borough Council, Grant Adams, Chairman of the market traders

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Watford Council has secured a deal with company to run the new Watford Market for the next 10 years.

Town and Country Markets, which operates markets at 35 locations throughout the UK including London’s Old Spitalfields, will take charge of Watford’s historic market later this year.

The market is set to move from Charter Place to the car park in the TJ Hughes building ahead of the demolition of the aging shopping centre.

The stalls in the new Watford Market will be housed in old shipping containers, in the same style as the BOXPARK market in Shoreditch, as part of a £2m revamp.

The first 14 shipping containers arrived at the site earlier this week and there will be 44 in total when it is finished.

The new market is set to open in the autumn.

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: "The market was dying and it was really important we did something to preserve this tradition in our town. 

"To people who genuinely thought the market was awful I am going to say please come and give it a whirl as it will not be the old market. It will have the best bits of the old as well as the new."

Town and Country Market has been tasked with creating an attractive mix of stalls to attract new customers.

Grocer Gary Hickman, who has been part of Watford Market for 14 years, said: "The new market will be in a much better location and I look forward to welcoming new customers as well as familiar faces. We’ll have stalls in the market and just outside under the flyover, and we’re using the move to go to self-service which should be better for customers."     

Malcolm Ball, CEO of Town and Country Markets added: "We are delighted to be involved in this innovative approach which brings the market industry and this well established market, albeit relocated, into a 21st century environ."

Comments (15)

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9:07am Thu 21 Aug 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: "The market was dying and it was really important we did something to preserve this tradition in our town.

You could have tried nurturing it instead of letting it wither on the vine, Mrs Thornhill. The market was "let go" in its current location by the LibDems.

I'm not sure it was so much dying, Mrs Thornhill, as was murdered by LibDem-led neglect.
Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: "The market was dying and it was really important we did something to preserve this tradition in our town. You could have tried nurturing it instead of letting it wither on the vine, Mrs Thornhill. The market was "let go" in its current location by the LibDems. I'm not sure it was so much dying, Mrs Thornhill, as was murdered by LibDem-led neglect. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 8

9:09am Thu 21 Aug 14

LocalBoy1 says...

"The stalls in the new Watford Market will be housed in old shipping containers" Lovely, Should be in keeping with the style of flats springing up in Watford. WBC, the Lib Dems and Dotty have lost the plot.
"The stalls in the new Watford Market will be housed in old shipping containers" Lovely, Should be in keeping with the style of flats springing up in Watford. WBC, the Lib Dems and Dotty have lost the plot. LocalBoy1
  • Score: 9

9:28am Thu 21 Aug 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Actualy, as usual, the LibDems have not so much lost the plot, as sold it to developers.

What will be the point of the LibDems once Watford resembles an inner London suburb and there is no more land to sell off to developers? We will have our Mayor to thank for that.

Speaking of the demise of the LibDems, I wonder if Dotty will be so keen to stand for Parliament now they have re-instated Lord Rennard? The LibDems seem to be on a course of self-destruction. Let's hope the people of Watford pick up on what is happening outside the Watford bubble and inside it and vote accordingly in May. At the last Mayoral election Dotty said ignore what is happening nationally and she got away with it. She can hardly say the same when it's a national election, can she now?
Actualy, as usual, the LibDems have not so much lost the plot, as sold it to developers. What will be the point of the LibDems once Watford resembles an inner London suburb and there is no more land to sell off to developers? We will have our Mayor to thank for that. Speaking of the demise of the LibDems, I wonder if Dotty will be so keen to stand for Parliament now they have re-instated Lord Rennard? The LibDems seem to be on a course of self-destruction. Let's hope the people of Watford pick up on what is happening outside the Watford bubble and inside it and vote accordingly in May. At the last Mayoral election Dotty said ignore what is happening nationally and she got away with it. She can hardly say the same when it's a national election, can she now? Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 2

10:12am Thu 21 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

Back to the market, (i personally would have preferred a street market like St Albans), but we are where we are, so will give a go. Unfortunately despite spending several £million on it, i fear it is not in the right location. It will be further away from the main shopping area (intu). The current occupiers of the old Clements building are hardly a destination shop that will drag people away to that part of the town centre. So the market will need to work very hard to get people to visit. Even more than the old location you will have to actively move away from the other main shops to visit. Where as in St Albans, the fish, veg, bread and other food stalls are outside of Tesco, M&S, BHS, etc. in Watford the market will be tucked away, some distance from the main shops. So the traders will really need to offer something different to create a reason to visit. I suspect more should be done to create a gateway to the site from Clarendon road (opposite the Palace Theatre), probably a commercial redevelopment of the bank and estate agents and the area behind them. All the other development in the town is dragging people away from the new market. New shops, food outlets and leisure facilities in and around the Intu/Harlequin, so i fear this location maybe the markets last stand and without a lot of effort its death nail.
Back to the market, (i personally would have preferred a street market like St Albans), but we are where we are, so will give a go. Unfortunately despite spending several £million on it, i fear it is not in the right location. It will be further away from the main shopping area (intu). The current occupiers of the old Clements building are hardly a destination shop that will drag people away to that part of the town centre. So the market will need to work very hard to get people to visit. Even more than the old location you will have to actively move away from the other main shops to visit. Where as in St Albans, the fish, veg, bread and other food stalls are outside of Tesco, M&S, BHS, etc. in Watford the market will be tucked away, some distance from the main shops. So the traders will really need to offer something different to create a reason to visit. I suspect more should be done to create a gateway to the site from Clarendon road (opposite the Palace Theatre), probably a commercial redevelopment of the bank and estate agents and the area behind them. All the other development in the town is dragging people away from the new market. New shops, food outlets and leisure facilities in and around the Intu/Harlequin, so i fear this location maybe the markets last stand and without a lot of effort its death nail. Andrew1963
  • Score: 10

11:18am Thu 21 Aug 14

Graham27 says...

If they are using old shipping containers I wonder if they find any illegal immigrants in there when they open them up
If they are using old shipping containers I wonder if they find any illegal immigrants in there when they open them up Graham27
  • Score: -11

1:27pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Sec.andTreasurer says...

I have recently purchased the Watford Observer's DVD "Watford; The Way We Were". This tells me that in 1926 the town council paid the Earl of Essex £19,500 for the market rights (Approximately £1,000,000 at today's values, apparently!) Has the Council received approximately £1,000,000 from Town and Country Markets? Somehow, I doubt it!!
I have recently purchased the Watford Observer's DVD "Watford; The Way We Were". This tells me that in 1926 the town council paid the Earl of Essex £19,500 for the market rights (Approximately £1,000,000 at today's values, apparently!) Has the Council received approximately £1,000,000 from Town and Country Markets? Somehow, I doubt it!! Sec.andTreasurer
  • Score: 0

5:59pm Thu 21 Aug 14

enlightened one says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Actualy, as usual, the LibDems have not so much lost the plot, as sold it to developers.

What will be the point of the LibDems once Watford resembles an inner London suburb and there is no more land to sell off to developers? We will have our Mayor to thank for that.

Speaking of the demise of the LibDems, I wonder if Dotty will be so keen to stand for Parliament now they have re-instated Lord Rennard? The LibDems seem to be on a course of self-destruction. Let's hope the people of Watford pick up on what is happening outside the Watford bubble and inside it and vote accordingly in May. At the last Mayoral election Dotty said ignore what is happening nationally and she got away with it. She can hardly say the same when it's a national election, can she now?
Unfortunately Phil,I think you underestimate the stupidity of some voters.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Actualy, as usual, the LibDems have not so much lost the plot, as sold it to developers. What will be the point of the LibDems once Watford resembles an inner London suburb and there is no more land to sell off to developers? We will have our Mayor to thank for that. Speaking of the demise of the LibDems, I wonder if Dotty will be so keen to stand for Parliament now they have re-instated Lord Rennard? The LibDems seem to be on a course of self-destruction. Let's hope the people of Watford pick up on what is happening outside the Watford bubble and inside it and vote accordingly in May. At the last Mayoral election Dotty said ignore what is happening nationally and she got away with it. She can hardly say the same when it's a national election, can she now?[/p][/quote]Unfortunately Phil,I think you underestimate the stupidity of some voters. enlightened one
  • Score: 1

6:30pm Thu 21 Aug 14

The Rover says...

Sec.andTreasurer wrote:
I have recently purchased the Watford Observer's DVD "Watford; The Way We WereThe more it costs them the more they will charge stallholders, and the less viable the market becomes, so I hope the figure was nowhere near £1,000,000. Like other comments I feel the market will be in a worse position after the move than it is now, and a street market like St.Albans would have been far more attractive to shoppers.
[quote][p][bold]Sec.andTreasurer[/bold] wrote: I have recently purchased the Watford Observer's DVD "Watford; The Way We WereThe more it costs them the more they will charge stallholders, and the less viable the market becomes, so I hope the figure was nowhere near £1,000,000. Like other comments I feel the market will be in a worse position after the move than it is now, and a street market like St.Albans would have been far more attractive to shoppers. The Rover
  • Score: 2

6:53pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Sec.andTreasurer says...

The Rover wrote:
Sec.andTreasurer wrote:
I have recently purchased the Watford Observer's DVD "Watford; The Way We WereThe more it costs them the more they will charge stallholders, and the less viable the market becomes, so I hope the figure was nowhere near £1,000,000. Like other comments I feel the market will be in a worse position after the move than it is now, and a street market like St.Albans would have been far more attractive to shoppers.Watford has had an indoor, covered market for a lot more than sixty years.
Admittedly, the old market behind Cawdells was cold and draughty, particularly in the winter, but at least you were out of the rain and snow. Why this sudden desire for a street market as St Albans has? This would take the town back to the 1920s, when the Earl held the market rights.
[quote][p][bold]The Rover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sec.andTreasurer[/bold] wrote: I have recently purchased the Watford Observer's DVD "Watford; The Way We WereThe more it costs them the more they will charge stallholders, and the less viable the market becomes, so I hope the figure was nowhere near £1,000,000. Like other comments I feel the market will be in a worse position after the move than it is now, and a street market like St.Albans would have been far more attractive to shoppers.[/p][/quote]Watford has had an indoor, covered market for a lot more than sixty years. Admittedly, the old market behind Cawdells was cold and draughty, particularly in the winter, but at least you were out of the rain and snow. Why this sudden desire for a street market as St Albans has? This would take the town back to the 1920s, when the Earl held the market rights. Sec.andTreasurer
  • Score: 3

10:32pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

The street market in St Albans is better than Watford market, better stalls better products. It creates a livelier atmosphere. As it works there I just think it would work better than the new location.
The street market in St Albans is better than Watford market, better stalls better products. It creates a livelier atmosphere. As it works there I just think it would work better than the new location. Andrew1963
  • Score: 3

8:00am Fri 22 Aug 14

ancientandageing says...

same old same old selling traders a pup by putting the fruit and veg in the high street, likely to have no fish or butcher, looks like Dotty has got her way and killed the Market
same old same old selling traders a pup by putting the fruit and veg in the high street, likely to have no fish or butcher, looks like Dotty has got her way and killed the Market ancientandageing
  • Score: 0

8:09am Fri 22 Aug 14

Del Boy Trotter says...

The new market is also having a street market along the high street so it's the best of both worlds ie covered when wet & more open.
With the unwillingness of intu to provide a decent indoor market in their new scheme and the lack of other suitable positions the wrapping around of b & m and spilling out onto the high street really isn't a poor location.
There is plenty of footfall and as long as the people of watford give the place a chance it can work. The duel entrance is key and as someone else mentioned the development of the Clarendon road side is important - there are plans to fill in the subway and reconfigure this area.
There will be a good mix of old and new traders wishing the new watford market with plans for speciality events at the weekends.
The market is a important part of Watfords history this latest incarnation is radical but if support can and will work
Please stop knocking the scheme, it is what it is and support the local traders
The new market is also having a street market along the high street so it's the best of both worlds ie covered when wet & more open. With the unwillingness of intu to provide a decent indoor market in their new scheme and the lack of other suitable positions the wrapping around of b & m and spilling out onto the high street really isn't a poor location. There is plenty of footfall and as long as the people of watford give the place a chance it can work. The duel entrance is key and as someone else mentioned the development of the Clarendon road side is important - there are plans to fill in the subway and reconfigure this area. There will be a good mix of old and new traders wishing the new watford market with plans for speciality events at the weekends. The market is a important part of Watfords history this latest incarnation is radical but if support can and will work Please stop knocking the scheme, it is what it is and support the local traders Del Boy Trotter
  • Score: 3

8:10am Fri 22 Aug 14

Del Boy Trotter says...

By the way 2 green grocers 2 fishmongers and probably a butcher too
By the way 2 green grocers 2 fishmongers and probably a butcher too Del Boy Trotter
  • Score: 1

11:42am Fri 22 Aug 14

ancientandageing says...

Del Boy Trotter wrote:
The new market is also having a street market along the high street so it's the best of both worlds ie covered when wet & more open.
With the unwillingness of intu to provide a decent indoor market in their new scheme and the lack of other suitable positions the wrapping around of b & m and spilling out onto the high street really isn't a poor location.
There is plenty of footfall and as long as the people of watford give the place a chance it can work. The duel entrance is key and as someone else mentioned the development of the Clarendon road side is important - there are plans to fill in the subway and reconfigure this area.
There will be a good mix of old and new traders wishing the new watford market with plans for speciality events at the weekends.
The market is a important part of Watfords history this latest incarnation is radical but if support can and will work
Please stop knocking the scheme, it is what it is and support the local traders
oh dear how unfortunate that the apparant voicepiece for the market has chosen the name Del Boy Trotter.

Although of course the admission that it is a "like it or lump it" market scheme is welcome. The idea that there is plenty of footfall in the old Clements car park is rubbish, THERE IS NONE, by shoving the fruit and veg and presumably any other high volume and use stalls under theflyover it will be the same old nonsense that killed of many market stalls in the past, high rent based on high footfall for the few and the proximty to bus stops.
My opinion is that the new market is in an even worse position, even further away from the main shopping area and I fail to see how it can be argued that being in the carpark of a site that has seen two department stores cease trading is a step up.
As for the claims to having attracted this and that trader well we will see but I can reckon they will cherry pick their pitches as part of the deal and won't push footfall past other traders
[quote][p][bold]Del Boy Trotter[/bold] wrote: The new market is also having a street market along the high street so it's the best of both worlds ie covered when wet & more open. With the unwillingness of intu to provide a decent indoor market in their new scheme and the lack of other suitable positions the wrapping around of b & m and spilling out onto the high street really isn't a poor location. There is plenty of footfall and as long as the people of watford give the place a chance it can work. The duel entrance is key and as someone else mentioned the development of the Clarendon road side is important - there are plans to fill in the subway and reconfigure this area. There will be a good mix of old and new traders wishing the new watford market with plans for speciality events at the weekends. The market is a important part of Watfords history this latest incarnation is radical but if support can and will work Please stop knocking the scheme, it is what it is and support the local traders[/p][/quote]oh dear how unfortunate that the apparant voicepiece for the market has chosen the name Del Boy Trotter. Although of course the admission that it is a "like it or lump it" market scheme is welcome. The idea that there is plenty of footfall in the old Clements car park is rubbish, THERE IS NONE, by shoving the fruit and veg and presumably any other high volume and use stalls under theflyover it will be the same old nonsense that killed of many market stalls in the past, high rent based on high footfall for the few and the proximty to bus stops. My opinion is that the new market is in an even worse position, even further away from the main shopping area and I fail to see how it can be argued that being in the carpark of a site that has seen two department stores cease trading is a step up. As for the claims to having attracted this and that trader well we will see but I can reckon they will cherry pick their pitches as part of the deal and won't push footfall past other traders ancientandageing
  • Score: -1

4:44pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

Del Boy Trotter wrote:
The new market is also having a street market along the high street so it's the best of both worlds ie covered when wet & more open.
With the unwillingness of intu to provide a decent indoor market in their new scheme and the lack of other suitable positions the wrapping around of b & m and spilling out onto the high street really isn't a poor location.
There is plenty of footfall and as long as the people of watford give the place a chance it can work. The duel entrance is key and as someone else mentioned the development of the Clarendon road side is important - there are plans to fill in the subway and reconfigure this area.
There will be a good mix of old and new traders wishing the new watford market with plans for speciality events at the weekends.
The market is a important part of Watfords history this latest incarnation is radical but if support can and will work
Please stop knocking the scheme, it is what it is and support the local traders
So there will be three markets? One in Clements car park ; another in the Parade and one in the rebuilt Charter Place/Intu. If the later is any good why would you travel up to the Clements car park? St Albans street market has 6 greengrocers and two fish mongers. I think there is just the one butcher, but has a bakery stall too. With all the other stalls it is one place and copes ok with the weather (although of course a covered market is better in heavy rain. Will all these three Watford markets be open the same days as now?
[quote][p][bold]Del Boy Trotter[/bold] wrote: The new market is also having a street market along the high street so it's the best of both worlds ie covered when wet & more open. With the unwillingness of intu to provide a decent indoor market in their new scheme and the lack of other suitable positions the wrapping around of b & m and spilling out onto the high street really isn't a poor location. There is plenty of footfall and as long as the people of watford give the place a chance it can work. The duel entrance is key and as someone else mentioned the development of the Clarendon road side is important - there are plans to fill in the subway and reconfigure this area. There will be a good mix of old and new traders wishing the new watford market with plans for speciality events at the weekends. The market is a important part of Watfords history this latest incarnation is radical but if support can and will work Please stop knocking the scheme, it is what it is and support the local traders[/p][/quote]So there will be three markets? One in Clements car park ; another in the Parade and one in the rebuilt Charter Place/Intu. If the later is any good why would you travel up to the Clements car park? St Albans street market has 6 greengrocers and two fish mongers. I think there is just the one butcher, but has a bakery stall too. With all the other stalls it is one place and copes ok with the weather (although of course a covered market is better in heavy rain. Will all these three Watford markets be open the same days as now? Andrew1963
  • Score: -3

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