Market sign project is ‘absolutely mad’

An artist’s impression of the new signs in Market Street

An artist’s impression of the new signs in Market Street

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

NEW signs proposed for the Covered Market to boost trade have been condemned as “absolutely mad”.

Oxford city councillors on the west area planning committee described the city council-designed signs as “completely unimaginative”.

They said the signs were not in keeping with the Victoria city centre market and have deferred the planning application for a total redesign.

The scheme would have seen four replacement signs, reading ‘Market’, installed above the High Street avenues and a banner and large sign, both reading ‘Covered Market’, installed in Market Street.

Covered Market Traders’ Association chairman Chris Farren, owner of The Cake Shop, said: “I am bitterly disappointed because this has been a year in the making and now we have another delay.

“We are trying to attract more people into the market because the footfall is pretty atrocious at the moment.”

He added: “The existing High Street signs can only be seen from the other side of the road. If you are walking along High Street they do not stand out.

“The new signs were certainly better than the ones up there now.”

He said the signs had been designed by the city council’s conservation department.

John Partington, owner of Chocology, said: “The signs are not so imaginative but they are better than what is there now, which are terrible. Millions of tourists happily walk down the High Street and they have no idea that a busy, independent market exists because they do not know where it is.

“We need every little bit of help we can get.”

Trader Joy Hetherington, owner of Oxford Aromatics, said: “People do not know we are here at the moment – the footfall is terrible.

“We need as much encouragement for people to come into this market as possible.”

But committee chairman Oscar Van Nooijen, at the planning meeting, said council officers had not taken into account the Victorian design of the building when creating the signs.

He said: “It is completely unimaginative. It is what I would expect my 12-year-old history students to do.

“If you are going to attach signage it needs to be of a style that relates to the building, which is austere, has symmetry to it and does not call for anything spindly or gold.

“Right now it is bad signage, that is not an excuse to replace it with equally bad signage.”

Councillor Anne-Marie Canning said: “It is totally inappropriate.

“Anyone who knows anything about communication or branding, to have ‘Market’ on one side and ‘Covered Market’ on the other is absolutely mad.”

The listed building planning application, once agreed by the city council, will need to be granted by the Secretary of State because the council is the applicant.

Comments (14)

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10:30am Mon 19 Nov 12

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Trader Joy Hetherington, owner of Oxford Aromatics, said: “People do not know we are here at the moment – the footfall is terrible.

Pay for your own advertising then.
Trader Joy Hetherington, owner of Oxford Aromatics, said: “People do not know we are here at the moment – the footfall is terrible. Pay for your own advertising then. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

11:03am Mon 19 Nov 12

Darkforbid says...

Or change the name,,, The Covered Shops... or Oxford Shopping Arcade,,,

@Sandy,, WHAT! At that rent?
Or change the name,,, The Covered Shops... or Oxford Shopping Arcade,,, @Sandy,, WHAT! At that rent? Darkforbid
  • Score: 0

4:10pm Mon 19 Nov 12

King Joke says...

I couldn't care less whether the signs are are unimaginative... far more pertinent is that they are COMPLETELY INVISIBLE!!!

Look at the picture - that one is pretty well camouflaged and even worse than the old one.

The Covered Market is a gem and really needs some proper promotion, and the more conspicuous the better. For starters we need two on Cornmarket, one at the Corner of Market St and one at the 'Golden Cross' entrance. Then we need three on the High St, one for each entrance.

Dark Forbid, they do pay for their own advertising, through ever-rising rents.
I couldn't care less whether the signs are are unimaginative... far more pertinent is that they are COMPLETELY INVISIBLE!!! Look at the picture - that one is pretty well camouflaged and even worse than the old one. The Covered Market is a gem and really needs some proper promotion, and the more conspicuous the better. For starters we need two on Cornmarket, one at the Corner of Market St and one at the 'Golden Cross' entrance. Then we need three on the High St, one for each entrance. Dark Forbid, they do pay for their own advertising, through ever-rising rents. King Joke
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Mon 19 Nov 12

King Joke says...

I couldn't care less whether the signs are imaginative... far more pertinent is that they are almost COMPLETELY INVISIBLE!!!

Look at the one in the picture; it's almost camouflaged!

The Market is a gem and if we want to promote it we need to do so now - and the more conspicuous the better. For starters we need need two signs actually on Cornmarket - one at the corner of Market St and one at the 'Golden Cross' entrance. Both should say 'COVERED MARKET' in highly visible lettering against a contrasting background. THen we need three of the same on the High St, one over each of the entrances.

Darkforbid, they do pay for advertising, through ever-rising rents.
I couldn't care less whether the signs are imaginative... far more pertinent is that they are almost COMPLETELY INVISIBLE!!! Look at the one in the picture; it's almost camouflaged! The Market is a gem and if we want to promote it we need to do so now - and the more conspicuous the better. For starters we need need two signs actually on Cornmarket - one at the corner of Market St and one at the 'Golden Cross' entrance. Both should say 'COVERED MARKET' in highly visible lettering against a contrasting background. THen we need three of the same on the High St, one over each of the entrances. Darkforbid, they do pay for advertising, through ever-rising rents. King Joke
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Mon 19 Nov 12

King Joke says...

I couldn't care less whether the signs are imaginative... far more pertinent is that they are almost COMPLETELY INVISIBLE!!!

Look at the one in the picture; it's almost camouflaged!

The Market is a gem and if we want to promote it we need to do so now - and the more conspicuous the better. For starters we need need two signs actually on Cornmarket - one at the corner of Market St and one at the 'Golden Cross' entrance. Both should say 'COVERED MARKET' in highly visible lettering against a contrasting background. THen we need three of the same on the High St, one over each of the entrances.

Darkforbid, they do pay for advertising, through ever-rising rents.
I couldn't care less whether the signs are imaginative... far more pertinent is that they are almost COMPLETELY INVISIBLE!!! Look at the one in the picture; it's almost camouflaged! The Market is a gem and if we want to promote it we need to do so now - and the more conspicuous the better. For starters we need need two signs actually on Cornmarket - one at the corner of Market St and one at the 'Golden Cross' entrance. Both should say 'COVERED MARKET' in highly visible lettering against a contrasting background. THen we need three of the same on the High St, one over each of the entrances. Darkforbid, they do pay for advertising, through ever-rising rents. King Joke
  • Score: 0

6:35pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

What really hides the covered market it the cars parked in Market Street.

Pedestrianise Market Street and all will become obvious.
What really hides the covered market it the cars parked in Market Street. Pedestrianise Market Street and all will become obvious. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

7:26pm Mon 19 Nov 12

King Joke says...

Market St does not take a large footfall in the way that the High and Cornmarket do. At any rate a working market needs a delivery area - I'd sooner they used Market St than the bays on the High which cause such a confounded bottleneck.
Market St does not take a large footfall in the way that the High and Cornmarket do. At any rate a working market needs a delivery area - I'd sooner they used Market St than the bays on the High which cause such a confounded bottleneck. King Joke
  • Score: 0

7:34pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

Let us all be honest. The Covered Market as "a market" died in 2000, it is now a yuppie shopping arcade, with added coffee shops and take-away's. The real market has gone forever. So let the traders pay top rate for a central location, and employ an advertising agency to promote themselves. I do not want my tax money to be wasted on private companies.
Let us all be honest. The Covered Market as "a market" died in 2000, it is now a yuppie shopping arcade, with added coffee shops and take-away's. The real market has gone forever. So let the traders pay top rate for a central location, and employ an advertising agency to promote themselves. I do not want my tax money to be wasted on private companies. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: -63

1:52am Tue 20 Nov 12

Sophia says...

The Covered Market is NOT dead, it has 3 excellent butchers, a fishmongers, a cheese shop, a te/coffee seller, a good shoe shop, 2 good greengrocers. It ought to be cherished and saved, not bled to death for higher and higher rents by the Council.

Its biggest problem is that it you usually cannot park anywhere near it. The solution would be about 40 parking places in the Broad with low prices for short stay, but high prices for more than an hour

The market could do more to sell itself not to tourists, who buy little, but to residents, and to workers nearby (eg by staying open later 2 nights a week instead of shutting up before 5pm - even council workers are stiill at work then!
The Covered Market is NOT dead, it has 3 excellent butchers, a fishmongers, a cheese shop, a te/coffee seller, a good shoe shop, 2 good greengrocers. It ought to be cherished and saved, not bled to death for higher and higher rents by the Council. Its biggest problem is that it you usually cannot park anywhere near it. The solution would be about 40 parking places in the Broad with low prices for short stay, but high prices for more than an hour The market could do more to sell itself not to tourists, who buy little, but to residents, and to workers nearby (eg by staying open later 2 nights a week instead of shutting up before 5pm - even council workers are stiill at work then! Sophia
  • Score: 0

8:35am Tue 20 Nov 12

King Joke says...

Sophia wrote:
The Covered Market is NOT dead, it has 3 excellent butchers, a fishmongers, a cheese shop, a te/coffee seller, a good shoe shop, 2 good greengrocers. It ought to be cherished and saved, not bled to death for higher and higher rents by the Council. Its biggest problem is that it you usually cannot park anywhere near it. The solution would be about 40 parking places in the Broad with low prices for short stay, but high prices for more than an hour The market could do more to sell itself not to tourists, who buy little, but to residents, and to workers nearby (eg by staying open later 2 nights a week instead of shutting up before 5pm - even council workers are stiill at work then!
This would not bring in much extra trade - people who drive into the centre of Oxford are a small minority. The footfall in the city centre is perfectly high enough as it is; what the Market needs to do is pull more of those people in.
[quote][p][bold]Sophia[/bold] wrote: The Covered Market is NOT dead, it has 3 excellent butchers, a fishmongers, a cheese shop, a te/coffee seller, a good shoe shop, 2 good greengrocers. It ought to be cherished and saved, not bled to death for higher and higher rents by the Council. Its biggest problem is that it you usually cannot park anywhere near it. The solution would be about 40 parking places in the Broad with low prices for short stay, but high prices for more than an hour The market could do more to sell itself not to tourists, who buy little, but to residents, and to workers nearby (eg by staying open later 2 nights a week instead of shutting up before 5pm - even council workers are stiill at work then![/p][/quote]This would not bring in much extra trade - people who drive into the centre of Oxford are a small minority. The footfall in the city centre is perfectly high enough as it is; what the Market needs to do is pull more of those people in. King Joke
  • Score: 0

2:09pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

What you (and the traders) need to think about is WHY people do not want to shop there (and Sophia, look at the thriving market with ten+ butchers many Greengrocers etc 20 years ago and you will understand my comment, the centre square was beautiful at Christmas with all the butchers hanging out their wares from the hooks all around) first of all, and then work out what they have to do to increase trade. I do not know of anyother business that expects me and you to pay for their advertising. Perhaps the traders should look across the road to McDonalds, a combination of effective advertising and giving the customer what it wants works for them and is the perfect business model. A 30 second advert on the Central TV network would not cost very much if split between the traders, but would reach millions of people who would then know about and want to visit the Market. But it is a fact that the only time the traders come together is to fight rent rises, and half of them would not contribute to promoting the site. In my business I have to spend my own money to get customers to know about and hopefully come to me ( I did ask my landlord if he would pay for my own advertising after showing him this story, and he nearly dies laughing) but I do not know the business logic behind most of The Covered Market traders, they seem to think that they have a god given right to to make masses of money with no effort but to unlock the door in the morning and put up the open sign. Feller S & D, themselves advertise, provide a product that the public want and make a very healthy profit. If the rest of the traders can't agree a collective strategy themselves, and continue to bicker instead of trying to make their business a success, then at least look at Fellers and follow their lead.
What you (and the traders) need to think about is WHY people do not want to shop there (and Sophia, look at the thriving market with ten+ butchers many Greengrocers etc 20 years ago and you will understand my comment, the centre square was beautiful at Christmas with all the butchers hanging out their wares from the hooks all around) first of all, and then work out what they have to do to increase trade. I do not know of anyother business that expects me and you to pay for their advertising. Perhaps the traders should look across the road to McDonalds, a combination of effective advertising and giving the customer what it wants works for them and is the perfect business model. A 30 second advert on the Central TV network would not cost very much if split between the traders, but would reach millions of people who would then know about and want to visit the Market. But it is a fact that the only time the traders come together is to fight rent rises, and half of them would not contribute to promoting the site. In my business I have to spend my own money to get customers to know about and hopefully come to me ( I did ask my landlord if he would pay for my own advertising after showing him this story, and he nearly dies laughing) but I do not know the business logic behind most of The Covered Market traders, they seem to think that they have a god given right to to make masses of money with no effort but to unlock the door in the morning and put up the open sign. Feller S & D, themselves advertise, provide a product that the public want and make a very healthy profit. If the rest of the traders can't agree a collective strategy themselves, and continue to bicker instead of trying to make their business a success, then at least look at Fellers and follow their lead. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: 0

8:09pm Tue 20 Nov 12

iklhik says...

"I do not want my tax money to be wasted on private companies."

The companies are paying rent to the council you halfwit. It's in the council's interests to properly promote the market because more footfall = more successful local economy = more money for the council.
"I do not want my tax money to be wasted on private companies." The companies are paying rent to the council you halfwit. It's in the council's interests to properly promote the market because more footfall = more successful local economy = more money for the council. iklhik
  • Score: 0

1:25am Wed 21 Nov 12

sparky123456 says...

to be fair the place needs a bit of a rethink. it should be artisan and food based in my opinion. far too many little coffee shops and the like there now. another stiffling problem is opening hours... half the place isn't open on Sundays. It's shut by 5pm. I work out of town but I'd love to do my shopping there however by the time I'm home it's all shut. I guess the same goes for a lot of city centre workers, what would you do with meat etc from the butchers if you've still got 6 hours in an office left? and with parking as it is it makes it unviable compared to the likes of waitrose etc at weekends.
however most of oxford city centre has gone the same way, it's just a load of rubbish coffee shops and sandwich bars or oxford gift shops selling hoodies.
to be fair the place needs a bit of a rethink. it should be artisan and food based in my opinion. far too many little coffee shops and the like there now. another stiffling problem is opening hours... half the place isn't open on Sundays. It's shut by 5pm. I work out of town but I'd love to do my shopping there however by the time I'm home it's all shut. I guess the same goes for a lot of city centre workers, what would you do with meat etc from the butchers if you've still got 6 hours in an office left? and with parking as it is it makes it unviable compared to the likes of waitrose etc at weekends. however most of oxford city centre has gone the same way, it's just a load of rubbish coffee shops and sandwich bars or oxford gift shops selling hoodies. sparky123456
  • Score: 1

5:20pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

IKLHIK, talk about half wits, do you even have a wit? City Centre traders pay rent to mostly 2 landlords The Council, and The Colleges. If The Council were to spend my Tax Money on just a few in The Yuppie Arcade, then what would the hundreds of other council tenants do? Yes That is right, also ask for free advertising. There are empty units on George Street, so maybe the Market Traders who are unhappy could move there. But George Street does not offer peppercorn rents like the C.M. I will explain to you, business is a gamble, you either become rich or you lose it all. It is up to you. If you want the easy life go and get a job like the majority. Explain to me why my TAX MONEY should be spent to make a few traders rich, whilst services for people in need that PAY TAX are being cut? A simple question Sir.
IKLHIK, talk about half wits, do you even have a wit? City Centre traders pay rent to mostly 2 landlords The Council, and The Colleges. If The Council were to spend my Tax Money on just a few in The Yuppie Arcade, then what would the hundreds of other council tenants do? Yes That is right, also ask for free advertising. There are empty units on George Street, so maybe the Market Traders who are unhappy could move there. But George Street does not offer peppercorn rents like the C.M. I will explain to you, business is a gamble, you either become rich or you lose it all. It is up to you. If you want the easy life go and get a job like the majority. Explain to me why my TAX MONEY should be spent to make a few traders rich, whilst services for people in need that PAY TAX are being cut? A simple question Sir. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: 0

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