The Farmers’ Market scheduled for Liverpool’s Hope Street today has been cancelled because of pressures on officialdom. This is not a new scenario when it comes to efforts to enhance the local community’s engagement and enterprise. What could those ‘in charge of granting permissions’ do to prove themselves, rather, as partners and enablers?
The Daily Post this morning reports that the intended monthly Farmers’ Markets in Hope Street (third Saturday of the month) willl now begin in November, not today. After two very successful test runs (last October and during this year’s Hope Street Festival – though why not as we suggested before then, I don’t know) there was a real head of steam for the event today. People just love markets, with all their variety and colour!
But it seems the authorities can’t cope… not enough time for the policing (in Hope Street? – probably Liverpool’s most sedate throughfare till now at least), not enough notice, and so forth…. and the Farmers’ Market organisers, Geraud Markets, are upset.
Not a new problem
Sadly, this ‘not enough notice’ and / or ‘can’t be done without big payments’ scenario is not new. It caused the delay of this year’s Hope Street Festival, originally planned for June, and it has been the undoing of several other events along Hope Street (as well, I suspect, as elsewhere).
It is fair to say that perhaps Geraud Markets, who have a joint venture arrangement with the City Council, might well have made appropriate contact with the authorities earlier – they are a big organisation – but that doesn’t really explain the history of City Council ‘can’t do’ which seems to overarch so many attempts to engage and involve people in our local community. The thwarted efforts are too many to list here.
Basic objectives put aside
Whether you look at the very worthy stated objectives of the Farmers’ Markets joint venture with Liverpool City Council, or at those of much smaller organisations such as HOPES: The Hope Street Association, you will find a serious intent to improve the health, environment, general quality of life and enterprise climate of our Quarter.
The City Council may well claim to endorse these fine words – and individually some of its officers certainly go the extra mile in doing that – but overall their actions speak don’t do much to demonstrate the commitment when it matters.
Supporting local communities – or not?
The question that perhaps those in charge at Council HQ have to ask is, ‘What are we actively doing to help? And is it actually enough?’ No private organisation or individual is obliged to support the enterprise and engagement of Liverpool communities, and some of us feel sorely tested. But it seems the message still isn’t getting through.