Page 14 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
P. 14

 Accrington Market fightback
begins with 30 per cent rent
JUST a few years ago Accrington Market in Lancashire was sitting pretty, with a full complement of indoor traders following a successful £2 million-plus refurbishment of the ornate Victorian building which first opened its doors in 1869.
But it doesn’t take much to upset the apple cart. And the loss of the nearby Marks & Spencer store in 2016, followed by the closure of the bus station that was next to the market, were body blows for the traders.
Susan Holden, who has been selling cards and homewares on the market for more than half a century, said: “The closure of Marks & Spencer was very bad for the town and I can’t forgive them, then they moved the bus station to the other end of town which was even worse for the market.”
John Healey, who has been selling cakes and biscuits on the market since 1992, said: “Closing the bus station was really bad for the market. People used to get off the bus and pop into the market, or buy their meat and groceries here then catch the bus home. Now they have to lug it across town and the footfall in the market isn’t the same.”
But the good news is that Hyndburn Borough Council believes its market is one of Accrington’s jewels and everything that can be done to improve it should be tried.
They are listening to traders and working on a survival plan, the first element of which is a rent cut of 30 per cent for traders who sign up for a three-year lease.
But they also warn that doing nothing is not an option following the loss of a number of long-
standing businesses and a projected loss for the current financial year of £190,000.
So what is the solution for Accrington market? The truth is that the market has a lot going for it. It is a magnificent building which has benefited from a first-class revamp which included roof and gutter repairs. The improvements also involved installing sweeping new stairs up to a balcony which was transformed from storage
space to shops and starter-units.
   Sameena King (left) and Gillian Lawson are market officers helping Susan Holden has sold cards, household items and now balloons on to run Accrington market the market for the past 51 years

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