Local Green Party members have expressed their serious concerns at reports that Waterford City Council intends to close down the Saturday Market on Georges Street with a view to relocating it to Blackfriars Church – a move which they say could spell the death-knell of the market.
“We feel that the Saturday Market on Georges Street is a very positive development for the city,” says Waterford Greens spokesperson Brendan McCann. “The market creates colour and vibrancy. It attracts people to the city centre who otherwise might not go shopping there. We are very concerned over the proposed new location at Blackfriars Church. This location would be unattractive for customers and would be almost invisible to passers-by. We don’t think the market would last a month there.
“We also think that Blackfriars Church would be an unsuitable location for a market on account of the poor quality pedestrian access from the Quay. There is no footpath from the Belfry Hotel to Blackfriars Church. The footpath on the far side is extremely narrow, with barely enough room for two people to pass. This means that the market would have virtually no passing trade whatsoever. Anyone with a business brain could see that Blackfriars Church is totally unsuitable for a market.”
The Viewmount resident added: “The Waterford Greens feel that the existing Saturday Market on Georges Street provides a valued service for the people of Waterford. It should be supported at its current location by Waterford City Council. We also consider that Waterford City Council should be doing its utmost to expand the market to provide interest and variety to the city centre.
“In particular we would like to see more local farmers and producers provided with the opportunity to put their goods on sale. This would stimulate local employment and would also mean more customers for the existing shops, restaurants and cafés in the city centre.
“Ultimately,” he envisaged, “we would like to see the market expanded to encompass 15-20 stalls. This is an achievable target and would bring the city market it into line with the market in Dungarvan.”
“If Georges Street proves too small for such a number then there are acres of space on Broad Street, Barronstrand Street and John Roberts Square to be used for such a civic purpose. The Greens want to see a commercially viable expansion of the market, not its relegation to an obscure, albeit historic, corner of the city,” Mr McCann concluded.