The Head of Town Centres to update the Committee.
The Chairman invited the Head of Town Centres to discuss markets. The Head of Town Centres began by referring to the compilation of a Market Strategy that encompassed all the four main towns. He referred to the recent successful launch of a new market in Market Deeping on 20 April 2019. There were a few snags in relation to parking but these were being addressed. In relation to markets it was not so much the size of the markets but the extra money that they draw in to the town centres.
A comment was made about the location of markets particular in relation to Bourne which was a difficult area.
It was noted that markets offered a real attraction to town centres and it was how this interacted with the retail offer in the broadest sense, how it could be developed and tied in with the regeneration offer.
One Member referred to the Market Deeping market and indicated that the retailers she had spoken to had stated how much business had improved. She also referred to social media and the impact this could have with over 100 interactions in relation to the Market Deeping market.
Reference was made in relation to empty stalls and having people on standby which was common with the established market in Stamford. Work was being done to build up a group of people but short notice vacancies were difficult to cover and all necessary paperwork needed to be checked.
One Member made a comment in relation to considering a Sunday market in Bourne and gave the example of the market held in Stratford upon Avon which had specialist stalls and was extremely popular, could something like this be looked at for Bourne.
The Leader of the Council made reference to the decision made two years ago to invest in markets, at that time Grantham was disappearing and there were concerns about Bourne market. Work was undertaken on how to improve markets and make them fit for the future. With the launch of the market in Market Deeping all four towns now had a market and it was how these could be developed. The markets were subsidised by the Council and it was how this subsidy was measured in relation to economic impact, looking at the evolution of local produce from “gate to plate”, a food strategy should feed into a market strategy which should feed into a retail strategy to be complimentary to the retailers in the specific towns. The Leader referred to the recent craft pop up shop that had been hugely successful in Stamford and how this needed to be linked back to the Arts and Visitor Economy Strategy. There needed to be consistency with the right stall holders for each specific town and how these could grow.
Discussion followed in relation to antique markets with reference being made to the french Brocante markets and the possibility of having one in Bourne and linking it with other events that happen such as the classic car show. Using something as a catalyst to draw people into the town.
Further discussion followed with examples being given of where events happening elsewhere in the district could be “advertised” at the markets using a “pop up store”. The Head of Town Centres informed the Committee that often theatre shows were promoted in this way at Grantham market. In some instances people were simply unaware the market was in their town.
More discussion followed on the need for market stalls to compliment the retail offer, the inclusion of stalls run by the younger generation and to recognise the social and economic impact that markets had and how this was measured, what was the real value. It was suggested that a mix of footfall and social media could be used to gauge the impact on retailers and the economy also the use of banners to promote the markets.
Further suggestions were made by Members in relation to making markets more attractive, it was felt that the atmosphere and smells of cooking all added to the success of a market.
It was felt by the Committee that a Market Strategy needed to link in with all other aspects such as the Visitor Economy, town centres, the Cultural Strategy and heritage and this to be reflected when the work programme was discussed at the next meeting of the Committee.