Page 36 - MarketTimesAugust2016
P. 36

After a difficult winter Ringwood in Hampshire is looking to attract more traders and punters to a market that has bags of potential. Nicola Gould reports
There’s a fine line between a bustling market and a waning one — and Ringwood in Hampshire, on the fringes of the New Forest, is treading that line.
With an ancient charter and centuries of tradition, the market has been a crowd puller and pleaser for many a year.
It takes over Market Place in the centre of this affluent town every Wednesday, but these days there are fewer stalls than in other years, and traders are concerned.
The downturn follows a bad winter which delivered a double whammy. Firstly, the weather hit the market hard.
Edward Morant, who owns the charter and has run the market himself for the past 25
years, was forced to close the market five times last winter, which was unprecedented.
“We can deal with ice and snow,” said Edward. “But we had a lot of wind and rain and we can’t operate on those sort of days. The wind lifts the gazebos.”
Secondly, and just as serious, was the traffic problem created by lengthy roadworks on the nearby dual carriageway. The result, say traders, was bumper to bumper traffic through the main road where the market sets up stall.
A lot of punters who regularly visit the town on market day were put off by the traffic delays. Now the dual carriageway is open again, but the visitors are taking their time to return.
And it’s not just one-off roadworks, but traffic in general, that is a bugbear for this market.
Every trader expressed concern about the volume of traffic that goes through the centre of the market.
Older customers, who are so important to this market, feel unsafe, they say. But there’s no obvious solution.
Edward said: “The traffic is a problem but it’s hard to see what can be done as businesses further down need to have the road open.”
And, as is so often the case, the pressures on Ringwood market are more complex than just the weather and the traffic problems.
Edward’s family took over the market
Edward Morant owns the charter for Ringwood market and has run it for the past 25 years
Janice Callow, who has sold ladies fashion on Ringwood market for more than 40 years, remembers the busy times in days gone by
Vehicles travelling within feet of the stalls and shoppers are causing the market problems

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