Page 43 - MarketTimesAugust2016
P. 43

  Kieron and Vera Edeson have been selling plants and flowers on Helmsley market for the best part of 20 years
  Jean-Bernard Rose and his wife Jacky do well selling sheepskin products on Helmsley market
They call it God’s own county for a reason. And on a sunny market day in Helmsley or Pickering, both picture-postcard towns on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, the rural idyll is as perfect as any in this green and pleasant land.
Sadly, there weren’t that many sunny market days in the first half of the year, as you can see from some of these pictures. But the traders always do reasonably well in these two market towns mainly because of the combination of loyal local shoppers and tourists.
Helmsley, to the east, has the bonus of a largish market square bang in the centre of town. Its was named the best High Street in the market town category of the Great British High Street Awards last year and it has won several Britain in Bloom accolades.
The town has a ruined castle, a stately home and the national bird of prey centre, among
tourist attractions, not to mention the benefit of acre upon acre of national park on its doorstep. Pickering is more mixed, with more families
and commuters who travel to work in York or Scarborough. The town has a smattering of brand names alongside the independents on its high street, which is closed to through traffic every Monday to make way for the market.
It has a ruined castle, a museum, a popular steam railway station, and even a theme park called Flamingo Land on its doorstep. Annual events that pull in the crowds include a traction engine rally and The War Weekend, when everyone dresses up in forties costumes.
The charter markets that give these two towns their identity have been part and parcel of life in this corner of North Yorkshire for centuries.
Perhaps relying on the old adage — If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it — Ryedale District Council has had a relaxed approach to the running of
the markets for many a day.
But recently, almost by chance, they woke up
to the idea that some positive interventions could boost both markets — to everyone’s benefit.
Stephanie Medcalf, a market officer who has taken over the management of both markets following changes within the council, said the council was reviewing the markets with the aim of improving them both.
It has commissioned NABMA, the National Association of British Market Authorities, to carry out a health check, a service which is free.
“We are currently at the research stage, gathering as much information as we can from traders, local businesses and shoppers, as well as looking at the two markets ourselves to see how things work and where improvements can be made,” she said.

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