Merry Christmas SERVING THE NATION’S TRADERS SINCE 1922 DECEMBER 21, 2018 - JANUARY 3, 2019 No. 4942

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Royal couple visit historic market

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Some festive facts for Christmas dinner

New plan needed for market The market in Newcastle-under-Lyme

A review and consultation is to take place to help clarify and safeguard the future of a historic Staffordshire market after a deal to bring in a private operator fell through. The running of the market

at Newcastle-under-Lyme was set to be taken over by Market Place Management Ltd, after the company’s proposals for boosting declining trade won a competitive tendering exercise to outsource the service in October 2017. But despite considerable

efforts to secure a mutually acceptable agreement the talks did not reach a successful conclusion, and it was finally agreed that the matter would not be progressed any further, meaning that the market for the time being will stay under council control. A council report states: “Despite extensive efforts by both parties it has not proved possible to transfer management of Newcastle market to an external operator. “The council therefore

needs to consider what options are available to it

ISSN 2057–6781

to support and stabilise the market in Newcastle town centre.” Allan Hartwell, managing director of Market Place Management, commented: “Despite great efforts by all parties it is regrettable that we have been unable to come to an agreement regarding the operating of Newcastle-under- Lyme market. “These are challenging

times for markets across the country and it is vital that operating models are the right fit for an area’s specific needs. “We are hopeful that the

council will find the resources and talent to improve the market so it and its traders go on to thrive. We wish them every success for the future.” At a recent meeting a proposed plan of action was recommended to the borough council’s cabinet in response to the change in circumstances, local media has reported. Cllr Stephen Sweeney,

cabinet member for finance and efficiency, said: “Markets, like many other retail functions, are continuing to experience significant change nationally as a result of shifts in shopping habits and preferences, including a general move away from the traditional High Street offer. “The previous administra-

tion at the Council believed that the market being oper- ated and managed by a third party provider gave it the best possible chance of prospering while reducing its costs, but unfortunately this hasn’t worked out as planned despite the very best of inten- tions on both sides, and the option to outsource is no longer a viable option. “Newcastle-under-Lyme is

an ancient market town; it has been built around the pres- ence of a bustling market over the past 800 years. Decisive action needs to be taken to secure its long-term future and support the town centre as a shopping destination. “Diminishing patronage is

an issue for traders across the country but there are many instances where markets have been turned around by doing things differently. “The Council has experienced officers who will be proposing measures as well as consulting with market traders, staff, the existing licensee, residents, Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District and other interested parties. “It is important to note that

there won’t be any changes in the busy trading period in the run-up to Christmas.” A number of market traders in the town have not been

in favour of the council’s attempts to outsource the running of the market. Flower stallholder Darren

Taylor told local media: “A charter was given to the town by King Henry III in 1235. It was given to the people of the borough and the council shouldn’t be trying to offload it to a private management company. “This is the only market

where I have a stall and it is doing well compared to other places. The town centre is okay too. “The running of the market

should never have gone out to tender and the council should have made more of an effort to look after the heritage of the town. “I feel like the council is

trying to make Newcastle into a university town, but it was never a university town, it is a market town.” Fellow trader Lorraine Hammond added: “I didn’t think the deal would go through because there are not enough stallholders. It won’t make a difference to us, we’ll still be here. “The council should offer

free parking or much cheaper parking.” A council - run market operates on four days a week while an external licensee manages a market

for a further two days. It is understood that the

council’s aim is to deliver a stronger, more attractive and sustainable market for the future of the town.

Clampdown likely on car boot sales in East Lindsey

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Christmas to all our

readers and advertisers!

From all the team at Market Trader.

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