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Cambridge traders losing faith in market upgrades

Photo: Cambridge market square

A number of traders said they need to see progress to regain trust.

Cambridge City Council recently announced that it wanted to set aside £20-million to help fund a "major regeneration" of the Market Square, the Guildhall, and the Corn Exchange.

Called the "Civic Quarter" project, the authority hopes it will make the city centre a more attractive destination for people to visit.

However, at a council meeting in January 2024, it was confirmed that most of the £20m is proposed to be spent on the Guildhall, and that there is still no specific funding for the Market Square work.

Tom Wells runs a jewellery stall in Market Square:

"I would not trust the council with anything, if we have a problem down on the market, between us we sort it out.

"The thing is they are putting massive projects together, when in reality they should be separate.

"It does make sense putting the market with the Corn Exchange, the market is shopping and the Corn Exchange is entertainment, both are for tourists.

"The Guildhall is more of a council asset than something for people."

Akrur Karki runs a perfume stall in the market:

"If they want to upgrade it they can do things like paint the metal poles, which is not too costly.

"Lighting would help as well, this is a cold country, the summer is only three or four months and after that it is dark, if they put up some lighting that would help it be more attractive."

Grant Stevens helps run a flower stall:

"It would be nice to have a bit more help with publicity. 

"I do not know a lot about it, but you can never go wrong with people trying to help. 

"It seems like a good thing if they are trying to help."

Councillor Rosy Moore (Labour), executive councillor for climate action and environment, said she shared the frustration about the time it was taking to deliver the Market Square improvements.

She suggested the work had been delayed for a variety of reasons, but insisted the city council remained committed to creating a sustainable and modern market.

She said combining the market project into the wider Civic Quarter programme reaffirmed this commitment.

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