A number of market traders have quit an outdoor market in the Moorlands after their stalls were relocated. Iona Robertson, and a number of other traders, have quit their outdoor pitches at Leek’s Wednesday Outdoor Market after their stalls were relocated from Derby Street onto the Market Place.
A number of market traders have quit an outdoor market in the Moorlands after their stalls were relocated.
Iona Robertson, and a number of other traders, have quit their outdoor pitches at Leek’s Wednesday Outdoor Market after their stalls were relocated from Derby Street onto the Market Place.
They are now taking up trading positions within the town’s indoor markets on Wednesdays instead.
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.
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.
Iona announced her quitting the outdoor market on social media on Thursday (November 25) when she posted a picture of the few market stalls on Market Place, the day before.
She said: “This is what remains of our Derby Street Market recently moved to the square by SMDC, and the square is no longer able to be used for parking unless you wish to receive a parking ticket.
“We as stall holders have tried everything to try to get it reinstated on Derby Street as have some of the council employees – to no avail to date.
“I have traded very very successfully over an eight year period on Derby Street on Wednesdays and over the same period on The Square on a Saturday with my Vintage jewellery stall, both markets have excellent footfall.
“Saturdays you get a mixture of families and Wednesdays are by and large the more senior customers; wheelchair users, stick users, elderly being armed along by other family.
“We were distraught at the move on Wednesdays. We were given no notice, no consideration, no options, just told this would happen within weeks.
“We agreed to try it for a month’s trial with the promise that Sparrow Park Market would be joining us. Two weeks ago after a very unsuccessful month, (no footfall) we learned that Sparrow Park would not be joining us after all.
“It was with a heavy heart myself and Tracy Webster with the plant stall gave our notice to stand down from trading outdoors.
“We are now indoors on the Trestle Market. Yes it’s lovely in there, nice and warm, lovely neighbours, but our pitches were outside.
“It took a long time to build a customer base up, not everyone goes inside you see.
“I understand Sybil is at the forefront of the decision. Well done Sybil.
“It wasn’t broken, it is now. This is people’s livelihoods you are playing with.
“This isn’t a hobby to us. It’s my full time job.”
The Leek & Moorlands Echo contacted SMDC about some of the market traders quitting the outdoor market.
In response, council leader councillor Sybil Ralphs, said: “Many people have said that the market should be on the Market Place – its historic home.
“Having stalls at both ends of the town also means there is more space for new stalls and traders so the market can continue to grow. We want to see markets continuing to thrive and contributing to the vibrancy of Leek and offering opportunities to entrepreneurs and additional traders is key to that.
“We needed to start the process of building the market at some point and we are now underway.
“A couple of stall holders have chosen to relocate to the indoor market and we are pleased they continue to trade in Leek.
“It will, of course, take time for new stalls to come forward and it is a shame that a small number of stall holders haven’t been able to see this transition period through to the Spring when the warmer weather returns and people may have more confidence to shop.
“In the meantime, the council is continuing to support the outdoor stalls with advertising and signage.”
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