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  1. Published on: 10/02/2020 09:53 PMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Ormskirk Market has been the subject of much conversation lately, following proposals by the Borough Council to change the provision of its stalls.

    Both the council’s own officers and its external consultants, who have been looking at the entire operation of the council as part of its organisational restructure, have considered proposals to ensure the future success of the market in the face of significant changes in national shopping habits.


    This evening, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Cllr Dave Evans told QLocal: “When I took on the Planning Portfolio in May 2019, the council had difficulties in enticing new traders when a stall holder retired.


    “However, with the staged introduction of gazebos, and proposed changes to the cost of renting a space (including a winter payment holiday), the market is now encouraging fresh stall holders with new offerings. Already many existing traders no longer use the Council stalls, but are erecting their own gazebos in front of them.


    “Following the assessment of the market and the wider council operations, it was clear that we needed to review the use of kerb side collection operatives to erect stalls, as this has a negative impact on wheelie bin collection rounds.


    “The consultation with stall holders and other stakeholders has led to the decision to have traders erect their own stalls in return for more favourable financial terms.


    “I attend the market on most trading days and the picture I keep seeing portrayed in the media and online doesn’t match the reality. Despite the weather, the market has had good visitor numbers of late and those traders using gazebos have not had any issues.


    “If you had been there last Saturday (1st February) for example, when the winds were strong but the rain largely held off, you would have seen that many of the traders using the council stalls didn’t turn up. However, the more recent traders using gazebos were there! The number of these traders, many of whom use their own branded gazebos as a key part of promoting their business, is growing and clearly demonstrates the need for Ormskirk Market to adapt to ensure a strong future.


    “Any trader who is facing difficulties with the change over will be helped. What does not help are the people talking of the closure of the market, such as the gentlemen in his Victorian outfit, organising a petition on that basis, or the Our West Lancashire political party, who try to find a different reason every week to suggest that the proposals haven’t been thought out properly.


    “I’m all for constructive criticism but suggesting the council is closing the market is going to do more to damage its future prospects than it will to secure its future.

    "The National Market Traders Federation is supportive of the changes, so we should all be talking up what is a fantastic asset to Ormskirk and West Lancashire, not talking it down to score cheap political points.


    “Ormskirk Market has been trading for over 700 years and is a vital part of the town’s appeal. We want to ensure that its future is secure and successful, and that it is able to continue competing with other markets and to adapt positively to the changes in people’s shopping habits.

    "That is what these changes will do.”

     

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