SERVING THE NATION’S TRADERS SINCE 1922 SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017 No. 4909 70p Welsh county council under fire

A county council in Wales has been condemned for the management of one of its markets and failing to fill empty units. Regional Assembly Member – Welsh Conservative Suzy Davies – has cri t icised Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) over the Indoor Market in the town’s Rhiw Shopping Centre, saying it has been slow to find ways of attracting new tenants. Via a Freedom of Information

request, Mrs Davies has also discovered that BCBC is locked into a lease on the town’s market hall lasting another 54 years, with no break clauses. The request also revealed

that the council pays annual rent, services charges and insurance of £226,000 for the market, which is owned by a private property company. It received rent of £246,000

from stallholders in the last financial year. Eleven of the 29 stalls at

Bridgend market are currently empty, and Mrs Davies got involved following a meeting with stallholders, who are concerned about the future of the market. Mrs Davies is urging the

council to be more proactive and more imaginat ive in attracting new tenants, claiming the authority has told her the vacant stalls are all on the council’s website and that some have marketing boards on them, while others do not. A statement said that the

council intends to instruct a local letting agent “in due course”, prompting Mrs Davies to accuse the council of having no sense of urgency. She told local media: “The

council needs to pull its finger out and start actively promoting Bridgend market to get more tenants in. An exciting market is a draw. “I recently visited the market

with Cllr Kay Rowlands, who is regeneration spokesman for the Conservative group on the council. We were shocked at the number of empty stalls we saw. There are whole aisles where there are no let stalls. “It’s very disheartening for

ISSN 2057–6781

the other stallholders who are fighting hard to make a living. “I have also asked how

much subsidy the market receives f rom counci l taxpayers, as the cost of its own employees such as the market manager is not included in the expenditure listed. “There will be less income

in this current year because so many stalls are empty, and this will result in a larger subsidy needed from taxpayers.” Cllr Rowlands admitted that

she was shocked to see so many empty stalls. “Bridgend market has

always been a busy, lively place with lots of hustle and bustle,” she said. “But with fewer businesses to attract customers, it has lost a lot of that spark. “There are some first class

businesses in the market and the council owes it to them to put things right. “The first thing we must do

is be more innovative in the way that we let these stalls. People should be given trial tenancies with reduced rents so that they can try out a new business idea before committing themselves to a longer tenancy.” She added that there

had been requests from organisations to use the empty stalls for display purposes, but these had been rejected. “Why? Anything that draws

people into the market will help the traders in there and shuttered stalls attract no one. The council and its staff need a new mindset. “It cannot be business

The Rhiw Shopping Centre, home of Bridgend’s Indoor Market (Photo: Mick Lobb)

as usual as too much has changed. Officers must start thinking laterally to turn the market into a catalyst for the regeneration of the whole town centre.” Mrs Davies claims that

market traders are already angry about the loss of the pedestrian link directly into the market from the old Rhiw car park, and that the relocation of the Shopmobility service from the Rhiw has also resulted in a drop in trade. She added: “I welcome the

new two hour free parking scheme in the redeveloped Rhiw car park. It’s a start, but

getting the market right will be key to ensuring that the town centre as a whole prospers and thrives.” A BCBC spokesman

told local media: “A Market Partnership Strategy Group has been established, and the traders and council are working together to develop new and innovative ways of attracting new stalls and supporting fresh business. “As regards some of the

suggestions that have been made, many of these have already been set up, including the offering of trial tenancies with reduced rates, staging

Choice of festive lights

Residents in a West Yorkshire market town are being given the opportunity to choose its Christmas lights. A public vote has begun

in Bingley to pick from five designs for the festive illuminations, which would appear on five lampposts along Main Street near to the town’s market square. The new lights are part of an

investment of nearly £7,000 by Bingley Town Council, which also includes illuminating a further nine trees around the

market square and Bingley Arts Centre. On offer are green and silver

trees, stars, baubles, angel wings and sherbet fountains, and the people of Bingley must decide. Bingley Town Council

chairman, Cllr Ros Dawson, told local media: “As well as bringing pleasure at Christmas and brightening the winter months, hopefully the lights will encourage more people into Bingley to shop and enjoy its amenities.

“The Town Council actively

supports ini tiatives and strategies to boost our town’s profile and make it an even better place to live and work.” Cllr Mark Truelove, who

organised the competition along with council lors Michelle Chapman and John Goode, added: “New and better lights are the number one issue that residents tell us they want, so the Town Council is using its funds to help grant this Christmas wish.”

Opening Times: The Market Hall

Monday to Saturday, 8am to 5pm. Stall opening times vary. Wilko

Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm. Sunday, 10.30am to 4.30pm. T.K. Maxx

Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm. Sunday, 11am to 5pm. (Times subject to change).

events within the market and using stalls to promote things like free storytelling sessions, the summer reading challenge or Halloween and Easter festivities.”

Bolton’s biggest food festival yet

Page 19

Crewe Market Hall in line for revamp

Page 10

INSIDE... Page 3

Market trading is Human Nature for Herts couple



Enjoy a wonderful shopping experience in its beautiful Victorian Covered Market, Arcade Shops and T.K. Maxx & Wilko Stores.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24