Page 28 - MarketTimesDecember2015
P. 28

  Banbury’s relocated market aims
for a brighter future
 AN OXFORDSHIRE market that has been struggling for many a year is aiming for a brighter future following its relaunch.
Banbury Market was once a big crowd puller, as you might expect in a town serving a rural community, which had one of the largest cattle markets in western Europe.
When the cattle market closed in the late 1990s, the writing was on the wall for the market.
And in recent years it has struggled, a sad shadow of its former self, with a dwindling number of stalls straddled across the large market square that was once thronged with stalls every Thursday and Saturday.
“It was a skeleton of a market,” said Sharon Moran, who runs the market’s catering van, Superior Fast Food, which her parents, Lena and Michael Plaice, started on Banbury market 17 years ago.
Sharon got involved in the
business nine years ago and she and her husband Elliott took it over five years ago.
The problems facing the market are familiar to every market trader — changing shopping trends, discount stores and the internet.
Churwell District Council and Sketts, the private operator, came up with a plan to secure its future by moving it from the bottom end of the market to a smaller footprint at the pedestrianised top end.
Not everyone was convinced, as Sharon recalls. “We actually got a petition together to try to keep it where it was,” she said.
She was one of a number of traders who felt the best footfall was at the bottom end near Marks & Spencer and the entrance to the shopping centre.
Janeanne Peachey, a former trader who now manages markets for Sketts, took over the running of the market in January and backed the relocation.
Janeanne started helping her father on Stratford-upon-Avon market 45 years ago alongside Ted Skett, who sold haberdashery.
Ted moved on to managing markets and for the past 13 years Janeanne has worked for him.
“I can see things from both sides,” Janeanne said. “I understand the traders’ point of view, but I can also see things from an operator’s perspective.”
The relocation went ahead, together with investment in bright new blue, white and green canopies and skirts for the stalls, and a new layout with banks of stalls in the centre of the pedestrianised area.
The market was relaunched in March with plenty of publicity and entertainment laid on — and so far, so good.
“We now have more than 30 stalls,” Janeanne said. “All the existing traders were accommodated on a smaller area,
and the traders are generally happy with the outcome.”
Everyone agrees the market looks a lot better. It now has a bright, welcoming appearance and is a recognisable market, as opposed to a skeleton with stalls here and there.
The former market site is a car park, as it was on non-market days, and Janeanne believes that is a bonus. And, touch wood, footfall is good.
Janeanne Peachey manages Banbury market for Sketts
Market Times • December 2015

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