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Views split on new market

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 17, 2013

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TRADERS and shoppers have given a mixed view of the new location of a town market as an evaluation of the scheme is carried out.

In December 2012 Staffordshire Moorlands District Council started a new market in the new public realm area in Leek, adjacent to the Nicholson War Memorial.

This meant some stalls were located there at the same time as the normal Wednesday market in Market Place, next to the indoor Butter Market.

The council is now seeking the views of visitors, residents, businesses and traders, by asking them to complete a survey into the move.

Ben Pollard, who has been selling fruit and vegetables at the market for 10 years, chose to relocate his stall from Market Place to the new public realm area. He said: “It’s a new and fresh area with much more footfall.

“There appears to be a lot more older people and also people with pushchairs, as they don’t have to go over the cobbles of the Market Place.

“I also think we get more people as people see that we are here when they drive past.” Eighteen months ago Anthony Dixon took over the the Rug Stall, which has been running in Leek for 25 years. He said: “I decided to stay in the Market Place in this spot as it is where the stall had been for so long.

“However, since they moved other stalls down the other end of town it has gone downhill here.

“It’s been a disaster – it looks pathetic and poor up here now.

“I think they need to have stalls along Derby Street so that there is a thoroughfare to here, so that people know stalls are still here.”

Sue Lane, who has been selling underwear at Leek Market for 14 years, said: “Everyone had the choice initially to move down to the public realm area, but I chose to stay here to continue to support the Butter Market.

I do regret not moving as business is so much better there. All it's done is weaken this market.

“There also needs to be a lot of promotion carried out for this market including signs at the other end saying that we are still up here. I do believe that if things don't improve, none of us will be here by January."

Alan Butcher has been running his cafe within the Butter Market for 24 years. He said: “It has been disastrous.

Since they moved stalls down the other end of town, our takings have gone down by around 50 per cent over the week.

“I would like to see the Butter Market promoted a lot better.”

Shopper Mona Ball, aged 78, said: “I don’t think they should have split the market up. It was lovely when you could walk through the Market Place with lots of stalls to go around.

Councillor Edwin Wain, the council’s cabinet member for planning, development and property, said: “This trial in Leek has been running for several months and we’re now keen to hear from stallholders and those people who visit the market as we consider its future development.”

Evaluation forms are available on www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk. Paper copies can be requested by emailing policy@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk or calling 0345 605 3010.

Vic Thorpe’s stall sells ladies’ clothing, said: "I used to do the Ashbourne Market on Thursday but someone told me about the new stalls here in Leek so I thought I would give it a go. I think it's spot on to have stalls here."

Former Leek resident Charles Boden, aged 64, now lives in Worcester and was visiting the town, said: "I think it's a shame what has happened in the Market Place. It used to be thriving when I lived here 40 years ago."

Shopper Michael Mountford, aged 68 from Endon, attends the market most weeks. He said: "I would prefer to see all the stalls back in the Market Place as moving some of them down here has spoilt the market up there."

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