You could call them the ‘Three Marketeers’. There’s the fruit and veg stall, the fish van and the plant stand.
If anything was to highlight the challenge facing Market Rasen’s markets, it is Friday’s, erm, boutique offering.
And for a town of its size, can Market Rasen truly support three markets? What can the town council do?
As Market Rasen Town Council plans a Market Forum to bring the town together to support its markets, traders at Friday’s market are somewhat sceptical.
Jennie North and Brian Spittlehouse have been selling fruit and vegetables at Marken Rasen for four years, though Jennie’s father Brian North has traded in the town since 1968. The couple from East Halton, near Immingham, believe plans for a forum will be a “waste of time” .
“When we have had meetings with previous councillors, some who aren’t here any more, what we have suggested never comes to plan. They have to put it through a meeting and it never goes anywhere,” Jennie said.
This includes demands from traders to have signs erected to say when the markets are held.
“We will go (to the forum meeting) out of curiosity. It’s in our own interest,” Jennie added.
‘Stan the Fishman’ from Grimsby was on holiday last Friday and his assistant was reluctant to comment. But he did say shoppers have trouble parking in Market Rasen and “free buses to Lincoln don’t help.”
At the plant stand, Roger Allenby, who has been a market trader since 1983, says there have been many discussions about helping the market but there’s nothing new to say.“Nobody wants to stand the markets anymore,” he said.
Roger says the markets at Scunthorpe used to attract 30-40 casuals seeking a pitch, but now there are hardly any. Shopping habits have changed and there are easier ways to make a living.
“I just don’t know with Market Rasen. We have a limited clientele and for certain lines there needs to be a lot of throughput of people,” he said.
But possible parking charges will make all traders suffer, citing experience at other markets he has stood.
“It’s like a little fire. If you poke it too much, it will go out,” he said.
Market Rasen Town Council says Rasen’s Friday market is ‘unofficial’, one set up by the traders themselves. But it will be covered in the forum, which will also look at the Tuesday, Saturday, MRBIG, Farmers and Rotary Club markets. The date of first forum meeting has yet to be decided.