The QVM Draft Master Plan has created huge media interest and, as often happens in the media, there has been a focus on just one issue in a very complex project. On this occasion it is extended trading hours and that focus has concerned many traders.
Firstly, let's identify the issue. Will the Queen Victoria Market be open 7 days? - Yes. Will all traders be required to operate 7 days - No. And that has been confirmed in a number of discussions with management. Small businesses (many are family operated) will continue to have choices. Choices on trading days, trading hours, and types of stall setup.
Some traders, including some family businesses may choose to operate 7 days to maximise their turnover. Extended trading in cafes and restaurants is common. However, there are businesses, particularly artisan type or manufacturing businesses that can only physically retail on days when they are not manufacturing. A market that caters to such a huge variety of small business types needs flexible trading arrangements.
On the other hand this market needs to be available to its customers when they choose to shop. The problem then becomes how we create an offer at all times while allowing flexibility for traders. It is achievable, and really comes down to professional scheduling and management. The night markets already achieve part of that intent by offering more diverse shopping hours for customers without obligating every current trader to participate. Traders will demand a big say on how extended trading will operate and this is just one more reason why traders should read the Draft Master Plan and actively contribute to the current consultation process.