A group of West London residents are setting up a flower market in Chiswick, which will be the first new open-air market selling just plants and horticultural accessories to be created in London for 150 years. “We want it to be the Columbia Rd of West London” said Ollie Saunders, whose idea the market is. They hope it will become a focal point which will attract people to Chiswick High Rd and revitalise the local economy.
Ollie, a commercial surveyor, is one of three directors of the new market, along with author Karen Liebreich and journalist Bridget Osborne. Ollie loves flowers and would regularly make the trek to Columbia Rd before the coronavirus outbreak. Karen has a diploma in horticulture and has set up many community projects involving plants as a director of the not for profit organisation Abundance London. Bridget worked for the BBC for many years and is the editor of local website The Chiswick Calendar. All three are passionate about making the place where they live as good as it can be.
“Markets are brilliant places for people to meet friends and shop in a leisurely way which isn’t really possible in enclosed spaces any more. We’re fortunate that the Old Market Place is spacious, with plenty of room for social distancing and set back from the road, but slap bang in the middle of Chiswick” said Bridget.
The market was planned before the pandemic. The group help a public meeting in George IV pub in February, where the idea was enthusiastically endorsed by more than 200 local people. It received immediate backing from Leader of LB Hounslow Steve Curran and further support from members of the public who took part in a survey. lnitially the market was planned for May, but when the lockdown made that impossible, a dedicated group of volunteers continued planning the market, working with the council on issues such as licencing and traffic management.
The Chiswick Flower Market group of residents includes an accountant, a surveyor, an event organiser, designers, artists and others who have been giving their time for free to make the market a reality.
The planned launch date is Sunday 6th September, 09.30 am – 3.00 pm with subsequent markets on the first Sunday of every month: 4th October, 1st November and 6th December in the Old Market Place outside the police station, opposite Waterstones in Chiswick High Rd. W4 2DW.
The market will be held in the spot where Chiswick’s first open air market was set up in 1919 by soldiers returning from the First World War, also looking to create employment during an economic crisis.
“We’re talking to traders now” said Karen “They’re very keen to be part of it and we will have a mix of interesting plants so there’s something for everyone”.
The stalls are being carefully selected to provide a range of plants, from bulbs and bedding plants to exotic house plants. The traders range from experienced market traders who have operated at Columbia Rd for years and are excited to be expanding westward, to established Chiswick plant sellers and local start-ups, trying out their business model in a local market before investing in a shop.
There will be a Plant Creche where you can leave your purchases while you enjoy a meal or a pint and wander around Chiswick’s many interesting, independent shops. Muscle bound volunteer cyclists will deliver your plants to your door free, if you live in Chiswick (£5 if you live a bit further afield or if you want other shopping carried home for you as well).
This story was published on: 10/07/2020
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