On Tuesday July 29th Westminster City Council considered the application for the Farmer's Market in Ayebrook Street submitted due to the redevelopment of Moxon Street Car Park site. The council's response is below followed The Marylebone Association's response.
Application: Use of Ayebrook Street by a weekly farmers' market.
1. That the Committee agrees that the loss of the on-street resident's car parking bays and the two Blue Badge bays is acceptable from 08.00 - 16.00 for 52 consecutive Sundays.
2. That conditional permission be granted subject to a legal agreement to secure the funding of all costs required to make changes to the existing parking regulations and traffic arrangements.
3. That if the S106 legal agreement has not been completed within six weeks of the date of this resolution then:
(a) The Strategic Director shall consider whether it would be possible and appropriate to issue the permission with additional conditions attached to secure the benefits listed above. If so, the Strategic Director is authorised to determine and issue such a decision under Delegated Powers; however, if not;
(b) The Strategic Director shall consider whether permission should be refused on the grounds that the proposals are unacceptable in the absence of the benefits which would have been secured; if so, the Strategic Director is authorised to determine the application and agree appropriate reasons for refusal under Delegated Powers.
Marylebone Association's Response
Now that the Moxon Street development is going forward the Farmers Market has understandably been concerned to find alternative accommodation. Following an application from the Farmers Market Westminster Planning Committee has given permission to allow the use of Aybrook Street for the use of a market for 52 consecutive weeks on Sundays between 8.00am and 4.00pm. This is conditional on the Farmers Market signing an agreement to fund all the costs required to meet the changes to the current parking regulations necessary to facilitate this. If this has not been done within 6 weeks the conditions relating to the consent can be reviewed or withdrawn.
Whereas we welcome the continuing presence of a market in the area we have a number of reservations. We had understood that the application was to be made only for the period when the Farmers Market was to be actually displaced from its present site and that it was to be a temporary solution during the course of the works. The Association supported it on this basis. It now appears that the Farmers Market is looking to relocate as soon as possible, more than a year before the works are scheduled to begin, no doubt with a view to obtaining a yearly renewal of the permit thereafter. It also appears that they view Aybrook Street as a more satisfactory long term solution than relocation on site in a market hall with a spill over onto St Vincents Street and Cramer Street.
The Association does not support the loss of residents spaces for any longer than is strictly necessary during the term of building works. We would therefore object to the disruption caused by road closures and the loss of 27 residents spaces every Sunday whilst the Farmers market is still able to trade within the Moxon Street site prior to the need for this. When a clear schedule for building works is available there will be plenty of time to reconsider the situation.
Further the Association feels that the best interests of the area would be served by the entire market being relocated within the Moxon Street site at the end of the works. The original planning brief for the site expected any proposal to allow full on site provision for the market or to facilitate its relocation to a suitable site within the area. We do not regard relocation to any of the surrounding streets, with the problems that the would bring, as fulfilling this requirement. We also feel that providing a permanent home for the market is the only way to ensure its long term continuation, for a street market would always be subject to the vagaries of a street licence renewal. However if there was to be any spill over from the site we would see Moxon Street as the obvious place for this as it already has a significant retail presence. This would however necessitate a market hall to be located at the north end of the site rather than the south end as presently proposed.
Michael Bolt, Chairman of the Marylebone Association.
If you live in the area of the farmers market and would like to contact your local councillor about this decision please contact them directly.