Page 41 - MarketTimesApril2016
P. 41

  Market Times • April 2016
  West Gate
  Stephen Louth, who runs a pet stall in Market Place, is angry about the loss of Monday as a market day and says the traders haven’t been properly consulted about the changes
Coun Lesley Wright, whose husband Sean runs a stall selling computer games on Mansfield market, is pictured with Coun Sonya Ward, leader of the Labour group on Mansfield District Council
charged an extra £10 in rent for less room,” she added.
Jane said that the 15 stalls in West Gate had always done well. At one time their pitches were described as “Millionaires’ Row”. As the retail heart of Mansfield shifted their way, West Gate flourished, while the market in the square dwindled from around 50 stalls to as little as 10 on some market days.
Steve Siddall, who has been selling household textiles on West Gate, said: “This business was started by my grandfather in 1949. The move has caused me so much stress. The council seem to be riding roughshod over us and they are forcing us to move, then telling us there will be speciality German markets and craft markets here enjoying all the good footfall.”
And traders in the market square are also angry about the changes, although they are less affected. Stephen Louth, who runs a pet stall, said: “Losing Monday as a trading day is drastic. I wouldn’t trade on Monday if I didn’t need to.”
And like so many other traders, he complains about a lack of consultation. “They say they have consulted but we don’t feel we have been consulted at all,” he said.
Coun Lesley Wright, a Labour member of the council whose husband, Sean, sells computer games on the market square, said: “I think most traders feel the changes have been presented as a fait accompli.
“When we first heard about it we started a campaign and people filled in forms on the market and
online expressing their views. But the council disregarded the 3,709 written ones because they said our Save Mansfield Market Campaign was misleading,” she said.
Coun Sonya Ward, the leader of the Labour group on the council, said the group had “called in” the decision to move the West Gate stalls twice, which meant the council had to reconsider, but each time they backed the changes.
“West Gate is the original location of the charter market going back to the 16th century,” she said. “The Market Place market dates from the 19th century.”
She said the shift in the retail centre of the town made West Gate the best location for the market by The Four Seasons Shopping Centre.
In 2006, there was a £1.6 million investment of European funding in the market square, but far from helping the market, the disruption caused a number of traders to leave.
“Grand plans and spending big money doesn’t necessarily always work,” she said. “Mansfield is a low-wage, high unemployment town and the market is fulfilling an important social need. But the impression we have is that the aim is for gentrification, but that’s no good for the people of Mansfield who need the bargains and the fresh produce that the market offers.”
Whatever their differences, all sides agree that the only thing they can do now is get behind the new- look market and hope that the people of Mansfield rally behind their market.

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