Council in bid to boost Rasen market days

Town Council to show sympathy towards traders who are finding business slow. Picture: Rasen Market Place.
Town Council to show sympathy towards traders who are finding business slow. Picture: Rasen Market Place.

Councillors in Rasen are looking at new initiatives in their latest bid to increase trade on the town’s market days.

Town councillors say they are ‘sympathetic’ towards market traders who are finding business in the town slow.

Market days are held on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday but level of trade is a concern with a danger stallholders may leave.

The issue was raised at the town council meeting, held last Wednesday, (February 7).

Coun Stephen Bunney said: “The market has had more stalls on it on a Tuesday which everyone sees as good.

“Sadly, the number of people shopping on the market does not necessarily match the number of stalls.”

Coun Bunney also mentioned at least one regular stall trader had pulled out.

He said: “We have heard that we have had one go due to lack of trade and there is a danger that others might follow.”

Coun Bunney moved the discussion on to steps to boost the market.

He said: “Some people have suggested that we do it (rent stalls) for free for a couple of months, because trade is low.

“There is also the issue of some people have said they are quite happy to pay, but perhaps they could delay the payment until trade picks up.”

During the discussion, councillors pointed out that if the free option was adopted, it would have to apply to all stalls - and the market auction.

Coun Bunney said: “On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, we would be getting no money in and I don’t think actually that is right or appropriate.

“My worry is that if we also went on to giving free, what happens in November when it was really bad weather and nobody comes.?We would also end up not getting any money in to the market place.”

Coun Jennifer Bone - a business owner in the town - said: “I have got to say that I totally agree with you as any business that actually expects to do more trade in January and February is ‘off their rocker’.

“It is part of every small businesses budgeting that they know that some months they are going to do better than others.”

Following the discussions, Coun Bunney said: “We will retain the charges but there will be sympathy towards those traders who are finding them difficult to pay straight away.”

Councillors proposed that if an arrangement for free stalls was implemented, the policy should be reviewed by the council on a monthly basis.

It is likely more talks will be held before the council decides whether to introduce a free charging period.

Strategy plan in Market Rasen...

The discussion regarding the market comes as councillors adopted a three-year strategy plan for the town.

The plan sets out five priority areas - environment and heritage, health and wellbeing, leisure and culture, development and economy, transport and access.

Speaking last week, Coun Stephen Bunney said: “The fact that now we have got here (to the strategy), the real issue is the economic development of the town which involves a lot of people, including the market. We need to be pushing that as one of our main strategies.”