Market changes to ‘attract visitors’

STALL holders in Spilsby have welcomed new plans designed to rejuvenate the town’s weekly market but believe more work is needed to attract fresh traders.

East Lindsey District Council has announced a series of changes to the way its markets are run in the hope they will become more popular with shoppers while providing new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Portfolio holder for the economy Coun Craig Leyland said: “With the changes we’re implementing we hope to make the markets a better place to shop and a place people want to visit each week.

“It is really important we create new business opportunities and we hope that entrepreneurs will recognise the opportunity presented by the markets and use them as a platform to grow from.”

The changes, due for a launch coinciding with the Queen’s Diamond Jubillee, include increased promotion and advertising both locally and further afield, aesthetic improvements involving uniformed stall canopy designs and discounts for regular stall holders.

Len Evans, a fruit and veg stall holder at Spilsby Market, has welcomed any changes to breathe life into the town’s Monday market, which he feels is ‘dead on its feet’.

“Nobody is doing enough for the markets at the moment so if the council is going to start promoting us, that’s fantastic and the canopies will look brilliant,” he said.

However additional plans to relax regulations which currently restrict each market to one or two stall holders selling the same goods have been met with a less enthusiastic response. ELDC hopes the changes will increase competitiveness between traders resulting in a greater choice for shoppers and additional opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Although Mr Evans believes such a strategy works very well in large markets such as in Boston, where he also holds a stall alongside approximately 60 other traders, he feels it inappropriate for Spilsby’s far smaller market.

“The market needs more diversity, not more of the same,” he said.

He believes a month’s free rent incentive to new stall holders would be more effective in attracting more traders and would help restore it to how it was 20 years ago when it was ‘thriving.’

At present, however, he believes ELDC is stifling new traders by telling them there are no positions available for them. He is also concerned about travel updates warning of congested traffic in market towns, which he feels significantly depletes visitor numbers.