The city centre market is here to stay.
Following a year’s trial every Wednesday in North and East Street, the traders’ market will continue for at least another two years – despite not being universally popular.
Cabinet members heard that while the collection of local stalls bring in shoppers and are popular with many, some businesses don’t welcome them and questions over their appearance and quality were again raised.
Dire warnings from the market operators in 2015 that it was no longer viable in the Cattle Market Car Park led to the move onto the high street, with the Saturday market remaining.
Referring to the results of three public consultations, cllr John Connor said: “Residents we generally positive about the market, there were some comments such as the market livens up the city and is convenient, but there were some negative comments, such as they obstruct the shop fronts and claims about some of the goods being sold to high street retailers.
“Businesses offered slightly different feedback, some from outside the market area considered it to have a negative impact on their business, although retailers on the pedestrian street where the market is were more likely to have a positive impact.”
Both councillors Jane Kilby and Roger Barrow said the addition of the stallholders selling a growing variety of products had brought a ‘new vibrancy’ to the city centre.
Cllr Barrow said: “I think this issue of quality is quite a difficult one. How do define quality?
“We’re suggesting the market should continue in its current location but should be improved in its quality, so I’m wondering what action we take to attain that improvement?”
Officer Peter Legood praised the operator for working to improve the size and appearance of the stalls.
Councillors then agreed to renew the street trading consent for a further two years, and to ensure improvements recommended by the Task and Finish Group are implemented.
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