SKEGNESS could soon boast an outdoor market selling local produce. But plan sparks Alford market fears:
The Town Partnership is hopeful of setting up a weekly market on Tuesdays by as early as Easter.
The news would be a huge boost for local businesses, who would expect to see an increase in passing trade on market days.
But the plans have also sparked fears in nearby Alford, whose traditional Tuesday market could be hit heavily by any plans to hold a Skegness event on the same day.
Town Centre Manager Stefan Kraus revealed news of the new market at the latest meeting of the Skegness Town and Area Marketing Partnership (STAMP) last week.
Speaking to the members of STAMP, Mr Kraus said: “We’ve been talking to produce farmers, butchers and bakers and the feedback is really good.
“We have a really strong list of traders who would be looking to come regularly.
“The recommendation at the moment is to hold it on a Tuesday.
“Of course we would like to use a Saturday or Sunday but we would have difficulties as we would be in strong competition with other established markets.”
Although the plans could result in the creation of a new market, it is not thought that they will have any impact on the operation of the town’s controversial car boot sales.
Skegness is home to many boot sales because it is not designated as a market town under ancient legal documents.
Those by-laws prevent boot sales from operating within a certain distance of existing markets.
If Skegness was to host a new market it would have no impact on those ancient legal precedents and the town’s car boot sales would not be affected.
But one town that is likely to feel the pinch is Alford.
It already holds a market on a Tuesday. And Alford mayor Peter Milson is worried that a clash of dates with any new Skegness market could sound the death knell for Alford’s traditional event.
He said: “I appreciate they have chosen this date because every other day of the week is heavily booked with other town markets.
“But the trouble is that we are probably the closest alternative market to Skegness. So there would be competition, and some of our stall-holders may look seriously at that.
“And this is at a time in the current economic climate when people are losing their jobs and we’re trying to keep the town alive.
“Any alternative market so close to ours might take our stall-holders and customers.
“I know other days of the week would also have clashes for Skegness, but they would be with towns further away and less likely to have an impact on their’s.”
No decision has been made over where to locate a Skegness market, although organisers are looking at three sites - outside the Hildreds centre, in the pier field, or out at Church Farm Museum.
What do you think? Where should a new market be located? What day should it be on? Do you think Alford will be affected by it? Email firstname.lastname@example.org