NEWS 19 Traders plagued by break-ins

Repeated break-ins at a North Lincolnshire market have left one trader out of business and others concerned for their future. Scunthorpe trader Lizzy

Starkey said she had “no choice” but to leave the market after stock worth around £1,000 was taken from her stall, while others are reportedly taking their stock home each night to prevent it from being stolen. With the market due to be

relocated from its current site to the former BHS store in the town’s Parishes shopping centre, concerns have also been raised about boarded-up doors deterring

customers at what is already a difficult time of year. The BHS building is

currently being converted ahead of an expected opening as St John’s Market on March 22 (see page 1), but traders have expressed their fears about what else could happen before the market moves to its new home. Ms St arkey, who

ran Lizzy’s Ciggies in Scunthorpe Market for 15 years, received a call on New Year’s Eve telling her that her stall had been broken into. She told local media: “I would have stayed until the

market moved, but after that happened, I didn’t have any choice but to leave. “The people took nearly £1,000 of electronic cigarettes and liquid. My customers are devastated that I’ve left, but with everything that’s happening I don’t see any other choice.” Another trader, who did not

wish to be named, added: “The market looks derelict. People keep coming up to

the doors and assuming we’ve moved. “The first week of the year

is always quiet but it’s killed us this week. I’ve been here seven years and I’ve never known anything like it. “Other traders were saying

they have only made £6 or £7 all day, which is scary when you’ve got rent to pay.” Cllr Rob Waltham, the

leader of North Lincolnshire Council which operates the

market, told local media: “We are working closely with Humberside Police to help with their investigation to find those responsible. “We are committed

to supporting al l our independent traders to ensure the security of their businesses and stock and we have made immediate repairs to secure the building. “This criminality is unacceptable. We are

working towards the continuous development of the town centre, with investments at Church Square House and the new St John’s Market – which opens in only a few weeks. “We are creating and

developing a place for people to live, work and shop. The experience is changing and these acts of criminality should not and will not be tolerated.”

Empty stalls a cause for concern

Figures released recently have revealed that one in three stalls at a Lancashire town’s indoor market are unoccupied. Blackburn Market is home to 126

stalls, but many of those on an aisle near the main entrance are currently standing empty. In a bid to breath new life into it,

market bosses have launched a review of the market’s layout and service charges, alongside a drive to attract fresh businesses. Blackburn with Darwen Council’s

Scunthorpe Market (Photo: David Wright)

markets’ manager, Clare Turner, revealed that stall occupancy had dropped to 67 percent in January, down from 73 percent in January 2017 and 82 percent in November 2014. She said that following a busy

festive season, the council was now advertising for new traders with a glossy new prospectus. “Having a third of the stalls empty,

with many near the main entrance, is not what we would want,” she told local media. “However, with traders reporting a

strong Christmas we see this as an opportunity to attract new businesses. “The aisle at the front had been used

for incubator stalls, and we are looking at re-jigging the layout of the market and hosting more activities. “The council is looking at incentives

for new businesses – whether we can reduce the service charge and offer short-term leases to attract new traders.” Traders and shoppers spoken to by

local media were largely supportive of the new initiative, and agreed that more new traders were needed. Florist Lorraine Johnson said: “I’m

not concerned about the empty stalls – we had a really good Christmas – but the council is right to try and attract new traders.” Butcher Malcolm Marsden added:

“We had a strong festive period. We are fully behind the new recruitment drive.” Shopper Margaret Whalley said:

“There are a lot of empty stalls, especially at the front. It needs new traders and more variety.” Leader of the council Conservative

group, Cllr John Slater, commented: “They are right to have a go, but they need to cut the rents and service charge to give an incentive to traders.”



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