THE MAYOR of Cambridge, Cllr Russ McPherson, was among the dignitaries welcoming His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, to Cambridge today (Tuesday 23 November).
His Royal Highness visited Cambridge City Council’s central market where he was introduced to market traders by Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre.
The bells of Great St Mary’s Church, which adjoins the market square, rang Cambridge Surprise Royal to announce His Royal Highness’s arrival.
Cllr McPherson said: “It was an honour to welcome His Royal Highness to Cambridge. Our city has strong connections with the Royal Family – something that means a great deal to many of our residents.
“Our hugely popular daily market provides valued goods and services to residents and visitors alike; and local traders have worked extremely hard in adverse conditions throughout the pandemic.
“It was therefore fitting that they had the opportunity to meet His Royal Highness and share some of their experiences with him; and for him to be able to thank them for their important service to the community during the pandemic.”
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness, who has been an advocate for acting on climate change for years, to the market so that he could meet some of the traders who have worked so hard in difficult circumstances over the past two years.
“We have exciting plans to secure significant investment to continue to improve the offer of our market and market square to both residents and visitors; and will continue to work closely with traders, shoppers and the wider community over the coming months and years to take these plans forward.”
The Prince of Wales’ visit was arranged through the Cambridgeshire Lieutenancy Office. HM Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence OBE QPM, was present for the visit and was joined by Caroline Bewes DL, High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire.
About Cambridge market: John I, King of England granted a charter to the citizens of Cambridge in 1201, which provided the freedom to hold fairs and a market. Market Hill (now known as the market square) is the location of the main market in central Cambridge. This area has operated as a marketplace since Saxon times.
Today, the market square supports an outdoor market of 99 fixed stalls and around 140 licensed traders. It is open seven days a week, 362 days a year and is managed by Cambridge City Council. The council’s historic base, the Guildhall, overlooks the square.
Council support for the market during the pandemic: The council has supported market traders throughout the pandemic, providing rental holidays, discounted pitch rates and business support grants – a total financial package of c£1.2million. The market has been able to remain open throughout the pandemic and only had to close for around a two-week period on public safety grounds in January 2021.
To support Covid-19 safety on the market, the council has worked with the county council’s public health team to provide management measures including relocating high queue generating stalls to perimeter stalls, erecting temporary barriers to support safe queue management and employing safety marshals to support businesses and customers to comply with the measures.
Market square project: The council has embarked on a multi-million-pound project to transform the market square into a fully pedestrianised multi-functional civic space, which is accessible to all, celebrates its rich heritage interest and continues to support a vibrant, successful and diverse seven day a week outdoor market.
Proposals include an improved stall layout and demountable design, allowing the space to be used for other events and activities, both during the day (in and around the market) and into the evening. The council is working closely with market traders and other key stakeholders to develop the project and has just completed a major public consultation on a proposed vision and concept design for the square.