City’s farmers’ market to be held at Forum

Norwich farmers' market is to be resurrected after stallholders found a new venue following a dispute with the city council.

The fortnightly market on Gentleman's Walk folded in the summer after organiser Tracey Farrow gave up in frustration at her dealings with the council.

She said the council's insistence on charging a set fee of �317.25 to her as organiser, and refusal to bill traders individually for their pitches, had left her out of pocket.

Stallholder Sarah Petegree, of North Norfolk-based Bray's Cottage Pork Pies, took over as organiser on behalf of The Norfolk Diet, a collective of local food enthusiasts, revealing plans to revitalise the market with cooking demonstrations and other events.

She met council officials to discuss the market's future, but talks broke down over their refusal to allow hot food to be prepared and served by traders.

But now there are plans to hold the markets quarterly on Saturday mornings on Millennium Plain, outside The Forum, starting in the spring. The market was originally held there, before moving to the Royal Norfolk Showground and then to Gentleman's Walk.

'We have been talking to The Forum, who were very keen. We will start off by holding the markets seasonally and we're very keen to make them nice and high-quality,' said Ms Petegree.

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'We're hoping to have lots of really interesting local producers and we will invite well-known hotels and restaurants to give cookery demonstrations. We will try to make it diverse and have music there too.

'We want to make it somewhere people will want to come and visit – a destination, if you like.'

The market is likely to feature between 12 and 18 stalls, and, once established, it is hoped to hold it more frequently.

Ms Petegree said she had been disappointed by the council's response to her proposals.

'They were completely adamant that there would be no cooking, and we just felt it would be inappropriate to go ahead with something that would have been half of what we wanted to do.

'We felt not being allowed to do something pretty much every other farmers' market does was not the way to represent Norfolk food and attract the interest of people.'

Ms Petegree said a supper club event was being planned to help raise funds to establish the market.

What do you think? Would you welcome a farmers' market at The Forum? Write to Evening News Letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or mail