Page 15 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
P. 15

 The scheme also incorporated public toilets upstairs and a public open space downstairs with seating. There are some brilliant traditional traders both upstairs and downstairs and the pavilion-style outdoor market is a much more attractive feature than the 1960s concrete monstrosity it replaced. Sadly the number of outdoor traders on general market days is small.
There is a prayer room, a museum, a breast- feeding room, a shop dedicated to Accrington Stanley and the local newspaper has an office in one of the upstairs units.
The market is bright, warm and inviting and operates seven days a week.
In the end, though, it is all down to footfall. Market officer Sameena King, who took up her post in 2016, said that when she started all the
units were taken.
Gradually one or two left and that trend has
continued. The opening of a new Tesco and the closure of the Marks & Spencer have not helped. But the big bugbear for traders is the loss of the bus station which moved as part of a major regeneration project which includes a spanking new bus station at the other end of town and the creation of a new town square.
The council believes that the answer may lie in the changes at Altrincham in Cheshire where the indoor market hall was transformed into a trendy place to eat and drink, which has improved the fortunes of the adjacent covered market and created a buzz across the town.
Sabeena said: “The councillors have met with the traders and they have listened to their
concerns and views and asked for their ideas to improve footfall. Hopefully the rent reduction will help. Certainly hot food would be a great idea. We already have three really good traditional cafes so we would want something different.”
Street food from around the world is on trend, and Semeena would also like to hear from traditional traders who might consider joining the market family. There is currently no florist, children’s clothing or toys. A shoe repairer and a jewellery business would also be welcome.
Semeena said that market team is hoping to put on live music at the weekend, and they are happy to hear from anyone with positive suggestions or something to contribute.
  John Healey has run Fairbrothers selling biscuits and cakes on the market since 1982

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