The community option for the Chichester Butter Market

Posted by Stephen Baker on 23rd October 2007

As local residents, Derek Bond and I are keen to see the Chichester Butter Market regain its place at the heart of the city. What we mean by this is that we want to see the Butter Market thriving as a vibrant place which supports the needs and desires of the local community, as well as respecting the heritage of the building in a practical and sympathetic way.

Our plan for the Chichester Butter Market involves re-introducing a tolling scheme for local producers of food. What does this mean for the local community? For a start, it helps protect the local rural environment, local consumers, and local producers from the ravages of food chain destruction. On top of that, we’ll create a flexible space suitable for existing and new retailers to present great value but high quality goods. And our smaller festival sites will let start-up retailers and those with seasonal offerings gain a foothold on the ‘high street’ on affordable terms.

Both Derek and I are passionate about the Butter Market’s past and we remain extremely optimistic about its vital role in the community for many years to come. We hope that, as Chichester prepares to celebrate 200 years of a great market, its citizens are as passionate as we are about providing a sustainable future for the historic building. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. We are keen to hear what fellow citizens think should be done with the Butter Market and what they would like to see in the market.

A select committee of the council is due to make a final decision on the future of the Butter Market by the end of November. It has four bids to choose from. We believe ours is the only real “community option” and we would love to have your support.


  1. J Raymond says:
    24th October 2007 at 9:46 am

    I wish you every success. Developments such as yours are urgently needed to preserve the traditions of our Cathedral City whilst embracing the vibrancy of the 21st century we live in. Your plans are original, well thought out and will create an atmosphere of a modern day meeting place and trading centre that will benefit all the communities in the area.

  2. Derek Bond says:
    24th October 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Exactly 40 years ago my wife baught 2 dresses from a young lady who had been allowed to set up a stall in Selfridges. Her name? Mary Quant.
    25 years ago Anita Roddick of Body Shop fame opened her second shop in Crane St Chichester. However in recent years Chichester has become one of the most expensive places in the country to rent shop space,local businesses have been squeezed out, and increasingly replaced by national chains selling low cost wares from around the world. We wish to stem this trend so that local entrepreneurs can once agin find a space in the City centre to try out their retail ideas.
    Of course there will be food and produce, because that is traditional market fare, but we shall try to make room for local dressmakers, jewellers, or artists if there is a demand.
    We shall reflect the seasons, so you could rent a barrow over the Christmas period for gifts, or sell soft fruit or flowers during the summer.
    We shall set standards, so the new buttermarket will not become a street market with dodgy goods, but a low cost entry point for those with good ideas and enthusiasm.
    It is difficult to describe our aims for the first floor, other than to say that the best fish I have ever eaten out was above the fish market in Rungis France. the finest Tapas in Mallorca is to be found at the end of the market in Palma. the best Burgers in New York are at the meat market. Our vegetables taste best when eaten straight from the garden.
    Fresh is always best, so our produce will come straight from the farm into the market.
    People are right to say there are too many resteraunts in Chichester, the problem is that there is not enough good freshly prepared food. We shall sort that.

  3. David Wilson, Secretary, Chichester Society says:
    11th November 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Dear Mr Baker

    Thank you for contacting this Society about your proposals for the Buttermarket.

    Our Executive Committee considered the proposals you put forward, both the concepts and their working out. Some of our committee members also visited the exhibition which was mounted in the Council House.

    We thought that of all the schemes put forward, yours most closely matches the ideals of the Society, and are therefore happy to recommend it to our members and to the City Council.

    We were particularly impressed by the emphasis on its market function, with the opportunity for small retail businesses to thrive, especially those linked to local produce. There are more than enough ‘cloned shops’ in Chichester already, sponsored by national chains. We also liked the clean lines, the preservation of the important parts of the heritage building, and the opportunity to open up (and clean up) an attractive route through from North St to St Martin’s. Not least, your exhibitor impressed us with his enthusiasm for the whole project.

    Yours sincerely

    David Wilson
    Hon Secretary
    Chichester Society

  4. Roma Carter says:
    16th November 2007 at 10:23 pm

    I have just looked through your proposals for the re-development of the Butter Market.
    I feel that Chichester has recently lost much of its character that should be associated with a bustling market town. It is difficult to see how the Council claim to be an environmentally aware organisation when it has made it virtually impossible to purchase local food or groceries from anything other than a large out of town super market.
    I whole heartedly support your proposal.
    It would be wonderful to enable local food buisnesses to develop in a setting that was always intended to be a place for local food produce.
    Good luck.

  5. Jane Grisdale says:
    29th November 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Dear Mr Bond and Mr Baker
    I am just writing to say how bitterly disappointed I was that your fantastic proposal did not win over the council. Yours was by far and way the most attractive option and I made my feelings known plainly on the comments form supplied by the council. I have written a letter to the Observer which has been published today and I have also written to Barry Fletcher, the chairman of the council committee, to which I have yet to receive a reply. Everyone that I speak to on the subject has the same views and we cannot believe the council are so short-sighted and out of touch with the townspeople. I hope that you get an opportunity to develop your ideas in another location.
    With best wishes
    Jane Grisdale
    Orchard Avenue

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