Town to work together to boost markets

A bustling MR BIG market ENGEMN00120131205061313
A bustling MR BIG market ENGEMN00120131205061313

Shopkeepers, market traders, councillors and others are to come together to see how best to ‘put the market’ back into Market Rasen.

Market Rasen Town Council decided last week to set up a Market Forum to bring together people involved in the town’s various markets, plus retailers in general, to see how best they can make the markets prosper.

Some Fridays Market Rasen’s market might just have three stalls and the monthly MR BIG Market hasn’t always attracted huge numbers.

The Town Council and MR BIG had considered setting up a ‘public interest company’ to try and run the markets better, but last month a meeting between the two groups decided a forum that would “take the experiences of all the stakeholders” might be best.

An initial meeting is set for this month, which would set out its terms of reference and proposals for the management and running of the 2015 markets. A detailed proposal is expected to come before the town council in December.

As the statutory authority in charge of markets, the town council will oversee the forum, but it will also report to all participating organisations.

Coun Steven Bunney, who presented a report to the town council on the issue, said the forum or working group would take the “experiences of all the stakeholders” forward.

This was to ensure the town could continue its Saturday markets and enhance the Tuesday market, which is helped by the auction held in Market Rasen that day.

The small Friday market would also continue, as would the monthly MR BIG markets, though there might be a “change of emphasis,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working with everybody else on more detailed proposals for next year,” Coun Bunney added.

Sara Scott, chair of MR BIG, said she is “over the moon” the forum plan was approved, which would see market traders and shopkeepers “sit around the table together”. Nationally, markets are suffering and it would be a “sizeable challenge” for Market Rasen to enhance its markets. “Part of the issue is just how many markets can the town sustain. It’s figuring out exactly where the focus should be,” she said.