Fans of Marylebone’s Sunday farmers’ market, one of the biggest in London, who include Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch, and chefs Jamie Oliver, Skye Gyngell and Loyd Grossman, fear it could be closed or “reduced to postage stamp size” if a plan to build luxury flats goes ahead.
For more than a decade a trip to the 40-stall market has been a ritual for local residents, who claim it is the heart of their local community and has helped Marylebone restore its reputation as an attractive city village.
But now Westminster council has done a deal with Ridgeford Properties and Canadian developer Concord Pacific to redevelop the valuable one-acre site in Moxon Street, Marylebone where the market is held. The £250 million mixed scheme will include an unspecified number of “high-quality residential units”, plus a proportion of affordable housing. There will also be a restaurant, shops and space for a new farmers’ market. A full planning application is expected later this year.
Though Westminster has promised that the proposals will include space for a market in some form, Paul Dimoldenberg, who leads the council’s Labour group and lives locally, says residents fear “it will be just a postage stamp-size market — very much a token gesture rather than something which has got a real range of stalls”.
Another local resident, Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie speciality food shop and café, says the market has played a crucial role in the regeneration of Marylebone over the last decade. “And it really is the hub of the local community,” she adds. Ms Michelson fears the new scheme will have retail units that only the major chain stores can afford. “What we really want in this area is small artisan shops, ” she says.
House prices in Marylebone have risen by almost 30 per cent in the last five years to an average of just over £1.25 million, according to Zoopla.com property website.