Bid to boost markets amid footfall struggles
PUBLISHED: 15:06 10 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:17 10 November 2018
A market is not set to close despite footfall struggles, council leaders have insisted as they unveiled a series of fresh measures outlined to boost the number of customers.
Forest Heath District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday quizzed operations cabinet member David Bowman on what action was being taken at Mildenhall and Brandon markets, following the recent successful revamp of Newmarket’s stalls.
Mr Bowman confirmed that a power supply was being lined up for Mildenhall’s market for the first time, but admitted a different approach was needed in Brandon.
A report prepared for the committee said Brandon’s market has “in particular been struggling for many years” and planned to make a series of family fun days a part of the market to offer “an event market rather than a regular provisions market”.
“I think markets in general had a bit of a decline and they are now starting to come back,” Mr Bowman said.
“It’s more the niche stalls people are looking for and we are starting to get different people to come into the market – that’s attracting the footfall.”
He added: “We are not trying to close it [Brandon] – we want to make them better and that would be a sad day if we had to close it.”
To help boost the markets, a free start-up package is being offered to new businesses and young entrepreneurs wishing to run a stall, which includes free insurance and business advice.
Elsewhere a new West Suffolk Markets website is being developed, which is set to launch at the end of the month containing all the key details on all of the district’s markets.
In Mildenhall, work is on track for a power supply to be ready in time for the Christmas events, which it is hoped will attract more stallholders – particularly in the winter months.
Mr Bowman added: “If there are people coming to these places it will help shopkeepers as well as the markets.
“We were really putting a lot of resources into Newmarket to get the market on the up there, and now that’s done we can start work on the markets in Mildenhall and Brandon.”
He added: “We are looking to try and do what we can to get footfall, so if people can come out and support them that is brilliant.”
Events being planned for 2019 will be shared on the new website once it is live.