Friday 27 March 2015

Trader Responds To Renewal/Evolution Debate

The comment below was posted in response to an article on 25th March  regarding renewal (click here for the article). Trader Ivano has added his views.

25/03/2015 14:57:02 Is This Renewal Or Just Evolution? - A Traders View "I both agree and disagree with you passionately on two main points here Greg:
Firstly I agree that this is just an evolution of the market and trading - rather then complain I think that it is best that traders plan for the future and be more flexible in their approach to trading.
However I disagree with you strongly that trader involvement is a concern in the renewal process.  You have pointed out that the board have given you assurances that traders opinions will be heard, but when exactly - this is the final consultation process and through the previous consultation process traders views were effectively blacked out.  If traders are not listened to now they never will be, I find the statement from an earlier article that qvm board member Jane Fenton assured you that there will be trader involvement ""as soon as priorities are identified"" extremely worrying.  Is the 158 strategic brief not enough proof that priorities are already identified?
We have endured the consultation or lip service period - yet we have trader representatives feeling 'assured' by what clearly looks like more lip service - on the masterplan timeline they do not have to ignore our concerns for much longer until the FINAL plan is released. 
Having said that, if we move forward and accept that a lot of decisions have been made already - and our trader representatives have the courage to admit that the process is moving along without us we can begin to plan for the future and prepare for a different business model. Sitting in Limbo and pretending that the market renewal will involve our concerns is of no benefit to our traders - we need to plan for the different future rather than wait (in hope) for involvement in the plan" -

I completely understand the sentiments expressed in the comments above and being one of the “traders representatives” in question (Ivano) I think it only proper to make some comments of my own.

1) When will consultation with traders end?
Like the commenter above, I also was personally very concerned with the March 29 deadline for comments and submissions on the Draft Master Plan, in fact it was only till I got to the concluding sections of the 158 page Strategic Brief and then had the opportunity to raise my concerns to QVM management and board members that I had what I believe are valid reasons to begin to be somewhat reassured of continuing opportunities for trader engagement ( see page 125 of the Strategic Brief; see also the draft principles outlined on page 117 concerning works that impact on the heritage aspects of the QVM site).

So when does consultation end with traders? If we are to take these indications and guiding principles at face value, this will only be the case after options, initiatives and works that impact on traders have been completed. 
We have asked that a clearer statement regarding how exactly this continuing engagement process might be structured be put in writing so as to clarify any questions and allay any concerns, and were reassured that this would be done.

2) Can we be confident about all this?
As explained above, to date we have received a verbal assurance that the intention is for continuing consultation and engagement with traders and have now asked for written assurance and a clear series of guiding principles to give substance and structure to that assurance. I am (we are) quietly confident that this will be provided.

3) Have decisions already been made?
Well after many months of work by a professional and dedicated team we would be very disturbed if they didn’t by now have a clear list of what they perceive to be “issues and priorities” that need to be addressed.

Does this mean that decisions have been made? There is no doubt in my mind that many well intentioned and highly professional people have a fairly clear idea of what they think should happen at the market. But honestly, this is fundamentally little different to the fact that many well intentioned and highly passionate and professional traders likewise have a fairly clear idea of what they think should happen at the market.

Can these ideas be modified, can they evolve change and improve? I hope so. I personally sincerely hope that all of us, whether traders, management or Council can continue to evolve and improve our opinions, our thinking and our plans. I hope that none of us are approaching this process guided (entirely) by self interest but are truly doing our utmost to keep an open mind and considering what needs to be done so as to ensure the continued viability and relevance of this great market we are privileged to be associated with.

So just to sum up - I didn’t get the sense that there was mere “lip service” being provided to traders at the meeting mentioned above. Am I right? I think so, but only time will tell. In the meantime I will personally do my utmost to try to keep an open mind, evolving both my thinking and to the extent possible, my business model hopeful that I can play my part in helping to future proof the market. Because as much as we may not like it, whilst we traders very much have to live in the present, the Master Plan, the Strategic Brief, the Implementation Strategy and the yet to come all important Long Term Business Plan are more about the long term future than the present.  This fact in itself offers innumerable challenges to traders who on the one hand are firmly implanted in the present feverishly trying to eke out their day to day living, and on the other hand are being asked to weigh in on matters related to the long term future of the market.