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.