I enjoyed the recent articles by Yolanda Carslaw on Scarborough Market Hall’s traders. I’ve been a happy customer at Metcalfe greengrocer and Nockels butcher for 20 years. Value, taste and buying British are important in our household. I rarely go anywhere else for fresh produce.
Value isn’t always about buying the very cheapest: a nice plump chicken breast (four for £6 at Nockels) goes way further than a puny, low-quality one and tastes better. As does a big fat cauliflower from Yorkshire rather than the rubbery shrink-wrapped supermarket variety. In-season local stuff lasts longer – for instance in winter a market bag of curly kale (£1) is still fresh and crunchy after a week – so it’s unusual for us to throw anything out. Plus, you can choose the size and amount you need, most of it packaging-free.
Sometimes I also buy milk or bread, or weigh-and-pay goods like flour, raisins or rice. Sometimes I visit Boyes next door for household items. But unlike with supermarket shopping I don’t spend on things I don’t need, as I’m not bombarded with two-for-one deals or special offers.
Parking can be tricky for shoppers who don’t know the streets around the market.
I usually find a space in the Disc Zone between the hall and Castle Road, or on Eastborough, where you can stop for 40 minutes free of charge. The refit has left Scarborough with this beautiful space that should become a real destination for visitors as well as a place for regulars like me to shop. It’s occupied by hard-working traders who sell mostly Yorkshire-grown or Yorkshire-made things, in my opinion at great value.
For the hall and its traders really to thrive, both the council and residents need to get more decisively behind it. That means better signage, deals to attract new traders (especially, surely, in this seaside town, a fishmonger) to fill the handful of empty spaces, and short-term rate relief to keep current stallholders in place while they build up business.
Of course, it’s also up to residents to use it or lose it.