Cambridge City Council working towards reopening market following public pressure
Cambridge City Council has stated that it is ‘continuing to work towards the safe reopening of the market’, following criticisms of its closure on 1st January.
Councillor Rosy Moore, the Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment, and City Centre, explained that ‘with fewer people using the space, we hope to be able to reopen for essential trade soon.’
This comes as an online petition calling on the Council ‘to reverse its decision to close the market such that essential foods stalls can continue to trade’ has gained more than 6,000 signatures at the time of writing.
The petition stated that ‘Cambridge market stalls being outside in the fresh air and accessible without doorways, corridors or aisles to navigate mean that this location is a very safe way to shop in the current climate.’ It outlined that while ‘people can approach the stalls on the periphery of the market square’ from ‘a wide range of angles’, ‘this is not the case when using an indoor supermarket’.
Moore said the ‘new national lockdown must mean that fewer people will venture into the city centre, as nobody should be using the historic square and surrounding streets to socialise, whatever the time of day.’
‘It is likely that in order to reopen safely we will need to restrict the number of traders and so we will need to find a way to allocate pitches in the fairest way and to try to ensure that all traders who want to are able to trade at some point.’
‘We will update traders about the process for reopening and we will review and update our package of support for traders in the light of the closure and of the new lockdown.’
‘We know how important it is to people who live close to the city centre to be able to shop locally and that many people welcomed shopping outside during the first lockdown in spring,’ Moore continued.
Moore reminded ‘shoppers that infection rates have risen more than fivefold in a month’ and stated that ‘anyone visiting the market and those who want to collect shopping, parcels or takeaways from surrounding stores, need to remember the advice to stay at home unless it is essential to go out.’
The closure of the market, from the beginning of January, was announced on the 30th December. It was outlined that the Council took this decision ‘to avoid attracting people to the city centre.’
In spite of the tier 4 regulations which were then in place, ‘large crowds of people were seen gathering in and around the market square and also congregating in nearby areas such as King’s Parade’, the Council stated.
On 30th December, when justifying the decision to close the market, Moore said that ‘it is clear that we have a rapidly rising rate of coronavirus cases in Cambridge, especially in working-age adults and children, and we need people to act now to keep themselves and keep their loved ones safe.’
The announcement that the Council is hoping to reopen the market for essential trade soon comes, however, amid rising cases of coronavirus in Cambridge. In the last seven days there have been 677 cases confirmed in the city, an increase of 215 on the previous week.