High Streets Task Force Highlights Flower Market

Government body cites it as an example of revitalising local retail

Chiswick Flower Market. Picture: Gwen Shabka


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The government’s High Street Task force has chosen the Chiswick Flower Market as an example of a community project which is revitalising its local high road.

The body was commissioned by Government in 2019 as part of its Plan for the High Street, to redefine High roads in the era of online shopping.

It selected the market as a case study as it is a community led project set up by a group of local residents on an entirely voluntary basis, with no public funding.

The High Streets Task Force team said, “Strong citizen participation created a distinct place with a unique offer for locals and brought new visitors to Chiswick from outside the immediate catchment area’.

The Task Force provides information, advice and training and offers expert knowledge with the goal of delivering innovative and positive change to town centres and they said others could learn from the experiences of the Chiswick market.

The organisers held their first public meeting in the back of a pub in February 2020 to gauge local support and have developed the idea from there.

They said, “We’re delighted because revitalising the High Road economy is exactly what we set out to do.

“We are really pleased to be able to share with others what we have learned.”

It has been supported from the outset by Hounslow Council. Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Steve Curran said, “This is a fantastic achievement by Chiswick Flower Market to be recognised by the National High Streets Task Force as an example of best practice. It’s a credit to everyone involved and a great example of what can be achieved by working together for the benefit of our communities”.

They have now held three markets, in September, November and December. Together, despite the ever-evolving Covid restrictions, the organisers say the markets attracted 18,500 visitors, many from outside the area.

Many established businesses on the High Road and adjacent streets have reported a corresponding increase in trade. The 7,500 visitors to the September market boosted trade to the shops and restaurants by between 50% and 100% their normal levels according to the organisers. A survey of the closest shops surveyed after the December market suggested that 15 out of 22 were either ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’; six were neutral, either because they were closed on Sundays or they saw no increase in trade.

Anette Megyaszai, owner of nearby Chateau cafe said, “It’s great to see the High Rd so vibrant and buzzy.”

Cecile Brinkmann, manager of the women’s fashion boutique Wild Swans in Devonshire Road said after the first market, “We are very happy. We had the best Sunday we’ve had this year; we doubled our sales from last Sunday”.

After the September market, the next one was extended around the corner from the Old Market Place on the High Rd, down Devonshire Road, at the request of local traders, to draw people through to their shops and cafés.

Even businesses further away noticed a clear increase in trade on market days and local commercial agents have begun advertising property as ‘near the new Flower Market’.

The Chiswick Flower Market is planning to open again on the first Sunday of April, Covid permitting. Among the traders on the Easter weekend will be Hardy’s Cottage Garden plants, who have won no fewer than 24 gold medals at Chelsea Flower Show.

Arit Anderson, presenter of BBC TV’s Gardeners World, who lives in west London, came to the autumn markets and said, “It’s really exciting. And what’s really lovely is that the local community can come down here once a month … there’s cut flowers, there’s bedding, there’s indoor plants, there’s outdoor plants, bulbs, you name it, and it’s a really really lovely thing”.

See the Chiswick Flower Market case study on the High Streets Task Force website here.

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February 20, 2021


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