A U-TURN over car parking could be made amid further changes intended to bring in more traders and shoppers to a weekly market.
Cars are set to be allowed to return to the cobbled area in Market Place, Leek, on Wednesday market days, due to some stalls now being erected on the public realm area at the bottom of Derby Street.
Cars had been allowed to park in Market Place when stalls first moved to the public realm area.
However, following complaints and a suggestion from the district council's Market Working Group, they were removed.
In addition, stalls are now set to be situated along the top end of the pedestrian part of Derby Street.
Councillor Edwin Wain, who has the responsibility for planning and the markets said: “Leek has had to change.
“The market needed some radical improvement and new ideas.
“A lot of people have asked for cars to be allowed back to park on land that is doing nothing on Wednesdays.
“This will help shoppers with parking and good access to the outdoor market, butter and trestle markets.
“Stalls situated in the public realm area are doing very well and the area is full.
“Now we are looking to improve the top end.
“The Market Place needs to be better utilised, so we are now considering allowing cars back to park on the area on Wednesday. A licence has now gone through to allow a few stalls to be erected along the pedestrianised area at the top end of Derby Street.” In September the Post & Times reported that several businesses had expressed concern that the Market Place was being left half empty during weekly market days.
Keith Montgomery, who runs Monty’s Fish and Chip Shop in Market Place, said: “I think it should be one way or the other.
“They should either bring all the stalls back to the Market Place, or put the remaining ones on the pedestrianised area in Derby Street to leave the Market Place as a car park.” Claire Ball, who runs Elmo’s Bar in Market Place, said: “There is a waste of parking space on market day.
“We all have to move our cars and as you can see from the photographs, the council only uses half the car park for market stalls anyway.
“The council is also losing out on paying car park customers. It’s ridiculous.” A spokesperson for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council said: “The decision to stop vehicles using the Market Place was requested by members of the Markets Working Group and ratified by the relevant scrutiny panel in June.
“The working group felt that the vehicles parking on the Market Place obscured the market stalls from Stockwell Street, thus giving the impression there was no market.”