Coun­cil­lor replies

Loughborough Echo - - LETTERS - Coun Jenny Bokor, lead mem­ber for Lough­bor­ough

THANK you for giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to re­spond to your let­ter writ­ers.

The mar­kets bring thou­sands of peo­ple to the town each week and we are fully aware of their im­por­tance to the lo­cal econ­omy. That’s why we have a ded­i­cated team to man­age and sup­port them and work along­side traders. It’s a team ef­fort.

Re­gard­ing the Christ­mas Eve mar­ket, we asked the traders if they wanted to stand and, based on years of trad­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the re­sound­ing view was no, they did not feel it was worth it. We didn’t hold a Christ­mas Eve mar­ket in 2017 ei­ther.

Some traders opted to stand on De­cem­ber 27 but many didn’t, we be­lieve largely be­cause most whole­salers are closed be­tween Christ­mas and New Year and there­fore traders strug­gle to buy stock. It was their choice at the end of the day and we fully sup­port them.

Re­gard­ing can­cel­la­tions, out of the 152 planned mar­kets (Thurs­day and Satur­day re­tail plus Fri­day vin­tage mar­kets) last year, nine were can­celled due to bad weather. That’s not a bad ra­tio and let’s re­mem­ber why we do can­cel them in the first place – pub­lic safety, which is para­mount and a le­gal re­quire­ment.

We have a very spe­cific pol­icy re­gard­ing wind speeds and mar­ket stalls and they are in place to pro­tect peo­ple. How­ever, we are cur­rently talk­ing to traders about in­stalling more an­chor points in the mar­ket to make stalls a more wind­proof but that may re­quire some changes to the mar­ket lay­out.

The coun­cil is fully fo­cused on cre­at­ing a vi­brant and suc­cess­ful mar­ket. We have in­vested in new stalls and equip­ment, cre­ated new brand­ing to help pro­mote the mar­ket and will be adding new sig­nage to the town cen­tre to clearly iden­tify the mar­ket place.

We’ve also tweaked the lay­out and added more food stalls. We’ve done this in con­junc­tion with the traders who meet with our mar­kets team each month and this will con­tinue.

It’s also worth not­ing that we have a wait­ing list for peo­ple who want to trade on Thurs­days and have or­dered more stalls to ac­com­mo­date them.

All town cen­tres and mar­kets are op­er­at­ing in a dif­fi­cult cli­mate given the rise of on­line shop­ping. There is no sim­ple so­lu­tion and our re­sources are lim­ited.

How­ever, I can as­sure read­ers we are fully com­mit­ted to, and in­vest­ing in, Lough­bor­ough Mar­kets.

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