Shambles Market is between Parliament Street and the back of Shambles
Open daily from 9am-5pm
Shambles Market will host a free four-day family celebration Friday, Apr 3 to Mon Apr 6
Shambles Market opens on Monday (March 23). It is the biggest change to the city’s market for decades.
Traders will leave their temporary home on Parliament Street for the space formerly known as Newgate Market, revamped and reinvigorated.
So what can we expect? We spoke to Steve Shooter, interim city centre and markets manager, and City of York Council director Charlie Croft to find out.
1. It’s had quite the facelift
Well, with £1.6 million spent on it, you would expect some big changes.
Paving in the area formerly known as Newgate Market has been repaired or replaced, there’s new lighting both in the ground and around the market, the stalls are repaired and repainted with lighter canopies, and the drainage is better.
And of course, there’s that name change.
We wanted to reflect its history as well as using it as a marketing opportunity, because it means from now on we can advertise the Shambles and its accompanying market.
– Steve Shooter
2. And it’s bigger
It has 83 stalls – two more than before – as well as seven new permanent kiosks. There are still four retail units housing a butcher, fishmongers and a cheese stall, and these too have been renovated.
3. The layout has changed
Shambles Market layout is designed to make the approach to all areas of the market more accessible and attractive.
A wider central aisle leading to the food area has been nicknamed ‘the Golden Mile’. The hope is that shoppers in Shambles will be lured to the market via a well lit alleyway and signage near Shambles Kitchen – not to mention delicious cooking smells…
4. The market has a food court
One of the most innovative changes sees an area at the back of Shambles turned into a street food court.
Four of the seven new kiosks are given over to food vendors:
- Café M – serving jacket potatoes and toppings
- Mr Tantuni wraps
- Los Moros – North African and Levantine street food
- The Flax & Twine – an extension of its Shambles café
You can take these away or eat them in the new seating area, complete with tables, chairs, parasols and heaters for when it’s chilly.
– market manager Steve Shooter
5. There are three retail kiosks
Like the food kiosks these are rented on an annual, seven-day a week lease.
Interim market manager Steve Shooter believes they will all be open daily within a few weeks, once staffing has been sorted.
These are the new kiosk businesses:
Clox – selling and repairing clocks, watches, batteries, watch straps etc. Run by the Boulby family, transferred from their existing six-day stall
SticksArtStones – selling a range of fair-trade and handmade ornaments, wall plaques and statues for home and garden
Demize – selling body jewellery, street wear like T shirts and hoodies, and modern jewellery
– Jason Kelly, co-owner SticksArtStones
6. Look out for new stalls too
There will be up to ten new traders taking up stalls in Shambles Market in the first weeks.
They will be selling everything from kitchenware to recycled picnic blankets to tray bakes like flapjacks and brownies made by a young woman baker – plus a “lot of things that are hand made or artisan,” Steve said.
7. It will be a locals market at heart
Although new tourism and marketing body Make It York will look to promote Shambles Market to city visitors, that is not its main purpose.
“Our new project is to not just appeal to tourists, it’s to rebuild it as a shopping area for York residents,” Steve said.
“The core things that the market has always been – fruit and veg, daily items that people use on a regular basis – that’s what we need to get back to.
“It should become a vital part of the city. We have butchers in there, we have fishmongers, we have cheese. We’ve got attractive fruit and veg, and more of the basics.”
But more could be done to improve the mix, he said.
Once we’re back in and settled, part of our mission is to recruit new traders. We’re open to suggestions.
8. More market plans are afoot
The team behind the market are keen to innovate. One suggestion is a monthly antiques market.
But it’s not just about buying and selling. The space could be used for other activities both in and outside trading hours Steve said.
“I’ve been talking to some people who want to do a pirate show in the kids’ holidays, possibly in the market.
“Once the market’s done for the day we’ve got a really big cobbled area that we could do stuff in. If there’s a theatre production going on, have a chat with me – if we can work it, let’s work it.”
9. And there will be a new website
For the first time Shambles Market will have its own website, to be launched soon, as well as social media feeds.
This will not only include information on which stalls are available on which day, it will tell the traders’ stories on a regularly updated blog, said Steve.
10. There is spare capacity
The Saturday market is over-subscribed. But the market as a whole is not.
Steve estimates that, in the six months to Christmas, the market was running at 85-90% capacity. He is sure that figure will rise.
People will really want to be here because they’ve seen York market is doing really well.
11. It has to make more money
“We were given £1.6 million, but half of that we have to repay,” Charlie said.
“That works out at about £60,000 a year. A big chunk of that is going to come from the kiosks alone.”
About two-thirds will come from the rent from the seven new kiosks. “The rest will really come from getting that 85% capacity up to 100%.”
12. Rents will not change for a year
Stall rents have been held for the last two years, and the council is committed to keeping them the same for the next financial year.
13. Most Parliament Street markets are out
The farmers market and other additional markets will be taken off Parliament Street and incorporated into Shambles Market, Steve said.
It’s foolish to compete against ourselves by putting something nearby to draw attention away from our regular market.
14. They will go under new gazebos
Farmers and other additional markets will be housed on Shambles Market stalls specially marked for their use, and under 12 new heavy duty gazebos which have been bought for the purpose.
They will be located against the back wall of Marks and Spencer and along Silver Street.
15. The Food Fest stays on Parliament Street
Discussions about where the York Food And Drink Festival stalls will go are underway.
Council assistant director Charlie Croft said:
They would be laid out in a way that’s sympathetic to drawing people through.
16. Continental markets are out of favour
“Continental markets are fine but we’ve got a great local scene,” Steve said. “We should be promoting the local scene rather than letting somebody else come in and take the prime real estate away from our traders.”
17. But there’s no blanket ban
We’re just managing slightly more carefully what’s out there, what’s out on Parliament Street, what’s on St Sampson’s Square.
We’ve got some strong retailers in York and we should be supporting them rather than competing with them.
18. St Nicholas Fayre is being upgraded
Christmas market St Nicholas Fayre will stay on Parliament Street in upgraded accommodation.
There is a tender out now for new Christmas market infrastructure. “We’ve had those huts for four years. They’re now looking a bit tired,” Charlie Croft said.
19. And there are more Christmas plans
“Rather than it just being, ‘at Christmas there’s a market’ – at Christmas there’ll be other stuff,” said Steve.
“All sorts of things have been suggested. We’re looking into having a really good Santa.”
The city is in discussion with entertainment companies as part of the tender process, he said.
“I’ve spoken to people from four or five fairly big, well known companies who were interested and well known. We’ve asked them – York has got all these spaces, what would you do with it?”
20. Parliament Street will change
“We want to focus it more on interesting events rather than it just being where we plonk a market,” Steve said.
“Things like the Great Yorkshire Fringe are a big deal for us because that’s potentially a long-term commitment from an outside company who really want to be involved in York. That’s the kind of project that we’d like to maintain.”
Recently a new St Patrick’s Festival was held on Parliament Street.
We’ve had conversations with people about bringing in music festivals. Things like Buskival, that didn’t happen last year for various reasons – that’s an option.
21. They want to offer more for families
“It’s not just for adults with disposable income who want to come and spend – that’s fine, we’ll absolutely welcome those people – but we also want stuff in the city that’s safe for kids and families to do, we want to expand the early evening economy,” said Steve.
22. The fountain may soon be gone
The Parliament Street fountain – bone dry since the plumbing upheaval which accompanied the demolition of the ‘Splash Palace’ toilet block – could soon be removed.
Charlie said councillors had given the go-ahead for it to be taken out and he was now seeking costings for doing so.
We’re looking at a business case to take it out.
23. Market traders were sceptical…
When the idea to renovate the market was first mooted, it was met with scepticism from stallholders and other traders, Charlie said.
“There was a lot of suspicion of what were we up to. Quite a lot of people were saying, what do you want to spend all that money for?”
24. But many have come round
“When the traders saw we were serious about including them every inch of the way in the design then people started to take us more seriously,” Charlie said.
What really encouraged me was when one of the traders was saying at our last meeting, ‘the council’s nearly finished the scheme, now it’s down to us if it’s going to succeed’.
25. Not everyone is happy
“I’ve had two complaint letters from the farmers market traders saying it won’t be as good,” Charlie said.
“I said, ‘come and give it a try’.”
26. But the move is permanent
Spending £1.6 million on the market place, and taking most markets off Parliament Street, effectively ends years of speculation that York’s market might move to Parliament Street permanently.
“It’s time to come home now. And reestablish it as the home for all markets within York.”