Update 3rd January 2021

Dear all,

Happy New Year!

Yet again it starts with a bang.

Cambridge Market Closure and Petition

There has been considerable protest against the City Council’s decision to close Cambridge Market.

The closure applies to fresh-food stalls such as greengrocers and fishmongers, which remained open in the first lockdown. Buyers for food must now go inside shops despite greater risks of infection inside buildings than in the open air. This snap decision has made the nationals. Rowan Pelling’s Saturday column for the Daily Telegraph covered it and the concerns of Dame Mary Beard. See link below.



Others who have commented on social media include:

Peter Studdert, former Director of Cambridge City Council Planning

Very poor decision. The fresh food stalls in the market kept us supplied all through the year, including the first lockdown. Supermarkets are much more dangerous. Close the takeaways if they are the problem, but please leave the fresh food stalls.

Phil Rodgers, blogger

The Government’s Tier 4 rules specifically say that food retailers operating from a market stall are permitted to remain open. @camcitco should not be cutting off stallholders livelihoods and forcing shoppers indoors with no basis in the Tier 4 rules. https://gov.uk/government/pub


Ben Turner Cambridge Live reporter

After the controversial shutdown of Cambridge’s popular market, traders in other parts of the county are open for business this morning cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-new…


Emerald Foods market trader

Can’t bear to think about the fact that as of today we have zero money coming in, bitterly disappointed customers, a new van to pay for and knowing that people will be in town eating fast food and drinking coffee when we should be selling essential food!!!!!!

This petition is circulating


Market Square Redevelopment

There is a lot of concern that the Market closure which may put established traders out of business is also to facilitate development plans for the city centre and central conservation areas on which the council have been working on for over two years with the Greater Cambridge Partnership, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service and transport groups such as GCP’s Non Motorised Users Group (CamCycle are a member), GCP’s Landscape, Heritage and Ecology group and Cambridge Bid. LHE and NMU working groups have devised GCP’s Working Group Design principles to adopt on all GCP transport schemes. Link below for the Market Square redevelopment plans.


A re-evaluation of Market Square can lead to it meeting its full potential as a key civic space and the heart of the city centre.

Cambridge Architecture Autumn/Winter 2020 Issue reports that the Market Square is seen as a corporate priority for Cambridge’s economic recovery post Covid. See p 5. L


See previous FeCRA responses posted concerning the Market



Cambridge City Council Transport and Planning Scrutiny Committee

Tues 12th Jan, 2021 at 5.30 https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=475&MID=3791#AI2543

Committee members https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/mgMeetingAttendance.aspx?ID=3791

On 12 January the Planning and Transport Committee meets to approve a high level strategic document which Stephen Kelly, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service Director says will not be a Supplementary Planning Document as originally planned but which will determine spaces and movement plans for the city centre and transport and planning decisions about the market square and central conservation areas. These urban spaces include green spaces such as The Backs, Queen’s Green and Lammas Land [i]. This ‘higher level document’ will bypass the planning process and there are concerns that it won’t be subject to the same constraints. [ii]


Glenys Self who represents the Cambridge Market Traders Association and Friends of Cambridge Market support group has expressed concerns to councillors and city leaders about the direction of plans for the market, and the impact on the rights of the traders who have traded on the square since the time of King Edgar (956).



Others have documented the privatisation of public space as cash-strapped councils look for ways to monetise their assets. See the website of journalist Anna Minton and her book Ground Control.


The project for the market square has morphed from its original scope. The original brief was for a Spaces and Movement SPD and for this to include a new Streetscape Manual which would be applied to the market square. The contract for that with BDP was with Cambridgeshire County Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership with Cambridge City Council ( Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service) as the delivery agent.

Combined Authority Growth Project funding for a Cambridge Visitor Scheme

On 27 Nov the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Board attended by City Council Leader Lewis Herbert approved funding for a Cambridge Visitor Growth Scheme Project based on ‘scoring criteria and external evaluator’ see link below.



See p 130 of extracts from Natural Cambridgeshire’s Scoping Nature for investment plan[iii] https://www.fecra.org.uk/docs/Extracts%20from%20Natural%20Cambs%20Scoping%20Nature%20for%20Investment.pdf

Many residents across the political spectrum are saying they want to be able to shop locally and safely outside at the market and buy healthy, fresh food and support local producers and suppliers. They would like Cambridge Market and its established traders to be a key element of sustainable growth and visitor schemes for this area.

Responding to concerns about the market closure the Executive Councillor for the City Centre and the Environment Councillor Rosy Moore has said the closure is under review. Many residents ask how growth planned for the market and city centre can be decided until after the pandemic is under control. They also point to the impact that increased visitor footfall during Covid is already having on Cambridge’s fragile urban green spaces.

What can you do?

If you share any of the concerns above and want to support the market and its established traders in the first instance we suggest you sign the petition (link below) requesting the council to reopen the market for essential food supplies and that you write to your local councillors copied to Exec Cllrs Rosy Moore, Katie Thornburrow and Cambridge MPs Daniel Zeichner and Anthony Browne.







Best wishes,



[i] https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/documents/s54436/MSFP%20Report.pdf

‘4.2 Since these original aims were defined, the COVID pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need to achieve a shared ‘buy in’ to a vision for the city centre. The process in preparing a supplementary planning document is not agile enough to respond to changing demands and priorities, so an overall higher-level document is needed to guide and inform decision makers. The role of Making Space for People has therefore changed in response to this need’

[ii] The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 require a local planning authority to consult the public and stakeholders before adopting a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). Regulation 12(a) requires a statement to be prepared setting out who has been consulted while preparing the SPD; a summary of the main issues raised; and how these issues have been addressed in the SPD.


[iii] From https://www.fecra.org.uk/docs/Extracts%20from%20Natural%20Cambs%20Scoping%20Nature%20for%20Investment.pdf

‘the CFPA team are working with Vivid Economics (a strategic economics consultancy) to develop a natural capital assessment to value the public open spaces in Cambridgeshire. They are also working with Jon Sheaff & Associates (a multi-disciplinary practice specialising in the design and management of public spaces) to develop a set of typologies for public open spaces and map them. Collectively this work will allow the CFPA team to identify, classify and value the publicly owned, or managed, parks and green spaces within the county’…‘By including publicly owned green and open spaces, the DNIP would be able to offer multiple benefits to potential investors, for example access to nature, health and wellbeing. These additional benefits could prove attractive to potential public or private sector investors’.


Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA




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