A NEW twice-weekly open-air food market could soon be established in Stockbridge, despite fears raised by residents over rodent infestations, noise and the impact on local businesses.
The Stockbridge Market will feature a range of food products, with confirmed producers including Ridley’s Fish and Game, Cheesee Peasee and Au Gourmand Artisanal Bread.
It is also set to sell non-food items, including crafts, vintage clothes, jewellery and CDs.
Proposals for the market, to be held in Jubilee Gardens, have been recommended for approval by city planners, but still have to be approved by councillors next week.
If granted permission, it will be held every Thursday from 2pm to 8pm, and on Sundays from 10am to 6pm, and will feature a total of 26 stalls.
However, the plans – submitted by the French Food Company – have been met with resistance from some local residents who believe the Jubilee Gardens site, which is bordered by Saunders Street and Kerr Street, is unsuitable for such a market.
Anne Harrison, a resident of Saunders Street, wrote in a letter to the council: “Last year there was a major infestation [of rodents] resulting in the seated area at Jubilee Park being stripped out to eradicate rodents.
“The proximity of the park to the Water of Leith also contributes to this problem.
“I fear that a food market will only exacerbate the rodent problem.
“There are serious health and safety implications here.”
She added: “Stockbridge already has many local businesses providing the types of food the market will offer.
“In the current climate their business might suffer drastically from a regular market event.”
Concerns have also been raised about the loss of the gardens as a public space during the market’s operating hours.
Saunders Street resident Helen Walker added in an objection to the proposal: “The site of the proposed market is one of only a few open landscaped gardens available to the public in this area and the accessibility of this area would be greatly reduced by the operation of the market.
“Jubilee Gardens is closely overlooked by the bedrooms of the first block of residential dwellings in Saunders Street.
“The market is to be opened on a Thursday evening and Sunday morning and will increase the local noise levels and disturb the sleep patterns of local residents, especially those of young children and shift workers.”
A statement on the website for the Stockbridge Market says it plans to start operating “really soon”.
Heritage group The Cockburn Association backed the plans.
Director Marion Williams said: “We support the proposal of an open-air food market in this location and believe it could contribute to the vitality of the Stockbridge neighbourhood shopping streets.”