Didsbury Food Market is no more. It's official. The market won't be returning after a review took place, prompted by complaints by local businesses, resulted in a decision to discontinue it taken by our local councillors.
Didsbury Food Market was launched in mid-2010 as part of the Manchester Markets initiative. Already successful is several areas of Manchester, the idea was simple; allow local, and not so local business to run a stall on a Saturday for much of the day selling various types of food and drink.
Didsbury Food Market was located outside (the currently being renovated, but that's another story) Didsbury Library and was run once a month. The first outing for the market was extended to be a Saturday and Sunday event to help raise awareness. The market proved to be incredibly popular with both residents and stall holders.
Local businesses raised concerns about the effect that the market was having on their trade, and after the first two months the market was suspended. The market was selling much of the produce that you could find at independent businesses elsewhere in the village, and with minimal rent for a stall, the complaint that the playing field was far from level was raised.
On the other hand the points that local business were just as eligible for a stall (and many took stalls up) which would have allowed them to raise awareness of their businesses to local residents who potentially were not already aware they existed, and that the market would raise the general footfall in the village, which is good for all businesses were also raised.
On our Didsbury Manchester Facebook Page there was an excellent, and generally well mannered discussion (ensure you click 'View previous comments near the top) about the pros and cons of Didsbury Food Market.
Then after a period of what was described as 'review' we got official word from Manchester Markets that Didsbury Food Market will not be returning in the foreseeable future. That is, as far as we are aware, ever.
Our personal view, and we would love yours via a comment below, is that we think several mistakes were made. The market not truly being food only; there were stalls selling cellotape and clothes. Manchester Markets apparently not promoting the available benefits to the local businesses or giving them first refusal on the stalls, with businesses seeing it as direct competition and not a promotional opportunity. The running of the event for a whole weekend on it's first outing, giving it an inflated effect on local businesses trading and immediately raising eyebrows.
If you would still like to visit a local (food) market, their are several available in the local area, including in Chorlton, Withington and Northenden, just don't expect a market style alternative to the current Didsbury fresh food retailers any time soon.