Council sets out ambition to revitalise Kingston’s Ancient Market Place

Corporate and Resource Committee agenda and full report here
(Starts section B1 – page 23)

Kingston Council has announced proposals to revitalise the town’s Ancient Market Place to create a cultural and commercial destination that celebrates the area’s unique heritage and character.

Headline Principles: A Revitalised Market

  • Strengthen the towns significant retail, cultural and heritage offer as a
  • celebrated amenity offer for local residents and benefit overall trade
  • Deliver a prime visitor destination for London and South East by 2028, attracting increased and repeat visitors;
  • A new, year-round, curated approach to programming activity on the Market, increases the number of events and activity, driving footfall and boosting trade;
  • Introducing evening trading hours on specific days (for eg, Thurs – Sat) to complement existing trading day-time offer, diverging and supporting town
    centre evening economy;
  • A refurbished Market House, complements the outdoor market offer with new uses, providing new indoor space by increasing dwell time/ boosting trade;
  • Diversifying the street market offer: retain hot and cold F&B & introduce ‘pop up’ stalls, eg. fashion/ vintage/ design at regular slots across the year.
  • A highly visible champion for environmental sustainability, public health, andsocial value promoting best practice to local community, resident and business
  • Market to encourage new business – start-ups, skills and employment

The Ancient Market Place is the historic heart of Kingston town centre, and is highly valued by local communities. It hosts one of London’s oldest street markets, with the first recorded in 1242. The importance of the Market Place has been highlighted by local communities in engagement to support the development of the Kingston Town Centre Vision, adopted in 2023.

The Council’s Corporate and Resources Committee (19 March) will be asked to approve a Ancient Market Place strategy that will bring together Kingston’s historic street market, the Grade II listed Ancient Market House and the surrounding public realm under one management arrangement. If approved, the council will begin to engage with interested parties in the months after the committee.

Kingston Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Leisure Alison Holt said:

“The council is committed to ensuring Kingston’s Ancient Market Place continues to be successful and sustainable for years to come and for everyone to enjoy. “It is much loved and hugely popular, and conversations with a range of people and communities who use the Market Place have highlighted there is appetite for making even more of this treasured space. “Bringing together the street market, Market House and surrounding public realm under one strategy to be delivered by one operator will bring huge benefits for residents, local businesses and visitors.”

A revitalised Ancient Market Place will create an enhanced and distinctive visitor destination, making the most of the area’s unique heritage and character. A programme of cultural, creative and community activities taking place throughout the year will bring communities together and help increase visitors and trade. As well as trading throughout the day, an enhanced market could also see some twilight and evening opening, boosting both market and town centre trade and creating a welcoming evening environment.

Finding an exciting, longer term use for the Market House that compliments and enhances the rest of the Ancient Market Place is also a key part of the strategy. Apart from a variety of short term and pop up uses, the building has been vacant for the past few years. A new provider could realise the potential of this historic community asset.

The new strategy will also create opportunities for local start ups, support new, local business development and possibilities for training and apprenticeships. It will better address the challenges of climate change through improved energy use, waste reduction, re-use and recycling.

The committee paper detailing the proposals is published on the Kingston Council website.. If the approach is approved on 19 March, at the Corporate and Resources Committee the next stage will be outlining the outcome of the selection process prior to appointing a provider.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Kingston Society