Cornhill marketplace in Stroud – usually open only on Saturdays, for the farmers’ market – is now open for three hours every Wednesday for the public to enjoy takeaway food and drink from local shops and to listen to live music or to take part in hobbies.
Stroud District Council agreed to open the marketplace from 11am until 2pm on Wednesdays after residents Ruth Schamroth and Adrian Oldman, who is town councillor for Farmhill & Paganhill, argued that there was a missed opportunity to use the space as a public amenity.
Ruth said: “Cornhill is an attractive and historic space, enclosed yet spacious and with pretty views over the valley.
“We thought it was sad that it was used only once a week. It’s the ideal location for shoppers and people who work in the town centre to relax, read, drink coffee or eat takeaway lunches.”
Since the marketplace first opened on September 8, Ruth has arranged for local acoustic musicians – including an Irish folk group, a ukulele band and well-known Stroud busker Clover – to play there to entertain the public. She hopes more musicians will come forward to book slots.
Ruth also hopes to make the marketplace available for artists, book groups, knitting circles, mums’ groups or anyone else who might need an outdoor space to meet, talk, work or carry out their hobbies.
“There are plenty of tables and chairs for people to sit and chat in a relaxed and quiet environment, and there are covered areas for when the weather isn’t so good,” she said.
“It’s an ideal meeting space, especially for anyone who’s uncomfortable about meeting indoors because of Covid.
“If this really takes off, as we hope it will, I’d love to see the marketplace open more days a week. This is a real community asset and could bring more life to the town centre on what would otherwise be a quiet day.”
Tony Davey, Stroud Chamber of Trade said: “It’s great to see this central and valuable space, in the centre of town, be put to good use for the community during the week.
“Places to meet that are outside and offers some cover are not abundant in town, so this flexible space ticks many boxes.
“The opportunity to get a take-out from one of our superb town establishments and then enjoy some social time here with music and friends is a very welcome one.”
For more information or to book slots to play or rehearse music, contact Ruth on email@example.com