The Canterbury Hub

Latest news from CCCU's Journalism course


Canterbury market: changes to the high street

Canterbury High Street has recently been named among one of the healthiest in the UK in a ranking according to a study conducted by online supermarket, Britsuperstore, based on how few empty shops there are which is only 0.9% according to a separate report by the Canterbury Business Improvement District

But there have been many changes to the high street of Canterbury since the £1.2m upgrade last year that included repaving the high street, and that is the movement to the once popular market that sat at the top of the street.

Locals of Canterbury may remember a time when a market sat at the top of Canterbury High Street, contributing to the hustle and bustle of the city centre, just as much as the local economy.

Maxine, the owner of a fruit stall that sits where once many stalls sat, we found out that ever since the redevelopment, most of the old market stalls have been scattered out of the way.

She believes that “you can’t just have buildings, coffee shops and charity shops, it makes people stay away”.

When asked about about what the market brings to Canterbury, she said that the market brings ‘diversity’ and that “people come up and have a chat and then they go in shops that surround us”. Indicating that the market and surrounding shops can successfully coexist.

What do residents think of the market?

Whilst some residents and market stall owner, Maxine, as a ‘convenient and easy’ way to shop “as you can feel it, you see it, you can buy it. You don’t have to wait for it to arrive”.

Some other residents do not have such fond memories and experiences with the market.

Mr Lanza said, “The market mainly consisted of tat, so many of us don’t miss it”.

Other residents chalked the move up to supply and demand.

What do the statistics say?

In a latest report published by the Canterbury Business Improvement District on the Canterbury City Centre Performance on 31 March 2024. It was found that visitors to the high street for the year to date is up 10% from last year.

Statistics from Canterbury BID

With the same report also claiming that 9/10 stores on the high street are occupied and trading, it begs the question of if the market is needed and is it missed? But needless to say that is still alive in Canterbury but is struggling since the redevelopment of the high street and being spread out.

The owner of the fruit stall attributes this to the cost of car parking, saying that a “big impact now is the car park. the payments increased”.

She is not the only one to notice a rise in cost to park a car in the Canterbury City Centre as it is often a point of discussing amongst residents online, with someone even being charged nearly £8 for a 30 minute stay.

However, the future of the Canterbury market is looking up as stall owner, Maxine, says that she thinks the council “are actually looking to try and get a market back just on this area as well. So I think that’s going to be the future”.