The Cambridge Market has been open since 18 January Lucas Maddalena

Phil Graves, a trader who sells flowers in the Cambridge market, has donated £5,000 of stock to local charities and other causes following the closure of his stall.

Graves’ stall, which was allowed to stay open during the lockdown, has now been closed because it is “considered non-essential”, according to the trader.

Graves said: “I was absolutely stunned when I received an email [...] showing that my stall was now going to be used by a hot food trader. We were given absolutely no notice about this as we have been operating on the market during lockdown as essential traders.”

The news comes after the Cambridge city council allowed street food trading to resume on 17 March. The Cambridge Market has remained open for most of the lockdown, after controversy surrounding its closure on New Year’s Day.

A spokesperson for the city council explained that the decision followed “updated government guidance”.

“In accordance with the government guidance, available at the time, and the public health approved initial market reopening plan, the council has allowed licensed traders to sell indoor plants and outdoor potted plants on the market since January 18,” they said.

The spokesperson added: “The council is, unfortunately, no longer able to allow licensed traders to continue the sale of indoor plants and outdoor potted plants on the market.”

Graves originally planned to hold a ‘bereavement ceremony’, inviting councillors to watch as he put the excess stock “into the rubbish compactor there because they can’t be sold now”.

But Graves eventually changed his mind, and has instead donated the plants and flowers to causes around Cambridge, including Head to Toe, a mental health charity run by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. As a result of the popularity of the donations, Graves says he is “starting to have to ration them now”.


Mountain View

Council plans for ‘walkable’ city centre delayed until 2022

Some of Graves’ plants were also given away in exchange for donations at an event held in Girton on Saturday (27/03).

All traders will be allowed to return on 12 April, according to the council. The move will be part of the next step of easing lockdown restrictions in England, with small gatherings outside and weddings allowed from yesterday (29/03).