Traders have had a pretty raw deal

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

SO the Ash­ford mar­ket saga goes on. Last week Ash­ford bor­ough coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive re­ceived a re­port de­tail­ing how the first three months af­ter the mar­ket’s re­lo­ca­tion to the lower end of the High Street had gone. Early days but pretty good, that seems to be the gen­eral as­sess­ment of coun­cil of­fi­cers’ find­ings – but then you’d ex­pect them to say that, wouldn’t you? But that bla­tantly con­tra­dicts the feel­ings of mar­ket traders – most of whom say they’ve suf­fered a 50 per cent drop in their trade since be­ing forcibly moved from their more cen­tral lo­ca­tion to where they are now. Some rather vague prom­ises about bet­ter sig­nage and the pro­vi­sion of power points were put for­ward at the ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing but noth­ing that is se­ri­ously likely to dis­pel the traders’ dis­sat­is­fac­tion. We’ve said it be­fore .... Ash­ford needs a vi­brant, lively and at­trac­tive town cen­tre mar­ket. We don’t feel the coun­cil has done enough to help the stall­hold­ers and even what was agreed at last week’s meet­ing seems rather su­per­fi­cial. The next few months is tra­di­tion­ally the time of year when mar­kets do well. Christ­mas is a peak trad­ing time and a colour­ful mar­ket of­fer­ing bar­gains could give other shops in Ash­ford a boost, and vice versa. We reckon the ex­ist­ing traders have been given a pretty raw deal so far and say the coun­cil should be more proac­tive and sup­port­ive to­wards the mar­ket. We will be keep­ing a close eye on what hap­pens over the next few months and ex­pect­ing the coun­cil to keep to its prom­ises.

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