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“They need to all be there, or none at all”

Times Echo and Life / All News / “They need to all be there, or none at all”
8 months, 24 days agoNo Comments.
25 NOV

“They need to all be there, or none at all”

By timesecholife on in All News, Leek news

Concern has been raised about the re-relocation of market stalls in a Moorlands town. A number of years ago, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) decided to move all outdoor market stalls on its Wednesday Market Days from the traditional Market Place on to Derby Street, both at the Market Place end and also the Sparrow Park end of the town centre.

Concern has been raised about the re-relocation of market stalls in a Moorlands town.

A number of years ago, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) decided to move all outdoor market stalls on its Wednesday Market Days from the traditional Market Place on to Derby Street, both at the Market Place end and also the Sparrow Park end of the town centre.

Recently, the same council decided to move some of the traders back on to the Market Place, but leaving some on Sparrow Park. It is understood that on Wednesday, November 10, there was just five stalls on the Market Place leaving the rest of the site empty and not being used for parking either, as pictured, while last Wednesday (November 17) there was just three stalls.

There have been varying views on the move; with some stating they feel that the Market Place should be used for it’s traditional purpose, while others have stated that trade is better when the stalls are in Derby Street, and some folk say that the cobbles of the Market Place can bring difficulties for those who have mobility disabilities; and some are saying that the Market Place is best used for much-needed car parking in the town.

Some shop owners in the area have stated that all the Wednesday stalls should be placed in the Market Place – or none at all, keeping them all in Derby Street.

Keith Montgomery, who runs Monty’s Fish & Chips in the Market Place, told the Leek & Moorlands Echo: “I don’t think the market should have been moved from the Market Place in first place, as I would like market place to be used as a market place as we are a market town.

It annoys me the stupidity of it all – they just won’t listen.

But now, either the whole market should be moved back here or just keep it as it has been. It should be all market stalls or nothing.”

Meanwhile, Paul Burston, who runs Artopia Trading which is situated in Church Street adjacent to the top of Market Place, said: “If the council are going to make decisions like this, it not only affects market stall holders, but they areaffectivity making decisions on retailers as well.

The retailers adjacent to the Market Place have lost out – they have missed out on people parking on there and alsomissed out on not having the foot fall coming to the market.

I think its seems to have been done with little or no consultation with retailers.”

Paul added: “I can’t see how it’s viable staying as it is. It’s either got to be one thing or the other.

Either they insist on a complete move (of the stalls) to the market place, or they leave it as a car park. This halfway house is not benefiting anyone.”

The Leek & Moorlands Echo contacted SMDC for comments about the concerns raised over the stalls being moved again.

In response council leader, councillor Sybil Ralphs, said: “Having stalls in both the Market Place and at Sparrow Park means we can offer new opportunities to more traders to come and join the Leek markets as we’ve increased the capacity by using both sites. In the meantime, as we approach Christmas, we can anticipate a busier few weeks and we’re doing our bit to support traders and local businesses by making sure we have clear signage in place to advise shoppers of the location of the stalls alongside promotion of the market in the media and our social media channels.

“We’re also pleased to be able to operate the hugely popular Twilight Christmas market again this year on 3 December which is always an event that people enjoy attending. I would encourage people to show their support by shopping locally this Christmas and making it a resolution to continue to do so in the New Year.”

 

We asked our readers what they thought about some of the stalls being put back on the Market Place. Here’s what some of you said:

Sarah Wilde said: “I don’t mind either way but more important to me is that they all need to be placed together rather than either end of the town.”

Mervyn Gamage said: “Seems they can’t win. They moved it off and people complained. They’ve said they’ll move it back and people complained.

Some say it’s been the Market Place for 800 years so that’s where it should be. But a lot else has changed in 800 years. We didn’t have cars then. Or supermarkets. Or out of town shopping centres.

Personally I thought it had more buzz and was easier on the feet along Derby Street, leaving the Market Place for much needed car parking on the busiest day of the week.”

Sue Brownsword said: “Being mobility impaired and at times having to rely on a mobility scooter, I find the cobbles difficult to negotiate. For me personally, Derby Street is easier to get around.”

Alice Leather said: “We much prefer it up Derby Street. We browse all the stalls. We avoid the cobbles because little Fiki has co-ordination difficulties so the cobbles are a nightmare for him.”

Jan Nicholas said: “Shouldn’t never move it.”

Charlie Middleton said: “Still think Silk Street would be a viable option.”

Carol Mack said: “The market belongs there, give it time and it should hopefully get back to what it was.”

Brian Pointon said: “A grant was given by a king to hold it in the square so if it is not there the grant is void.”

Karen Pickering said: “You have to accommodate those traders, they prefer Derby Street I believe.

The market place is better left as a car park, we shouldn’t live in archaic times anymore. Things have changed and if the traders bring needed custom to the town, that’s a win.”

Georgia Hamilton-Smith said: “If it’s better for disabled access and people find it easier generally than the cobbles plus the traders that were there, I seem to recall initially sceptical about moving off the market place, but seem to now favour Derby Street, which basically is the point of ‘trying new ideas out.’ Then surely it should remain along Derby Street.

It’s good to have the wandering up and down the pedestrian area ability and if it is more attractive and vibrant thus bringing more people to the town, surely it is time to move forwards.

Just because an ancient charter states something we also need to account for future change or modernisation. We need to be practical and consider: “does this support the town and its future?”

Photo by Dave Swarbrook

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