Members gave consideration to a report which sought to re-introduce rental charges for traders onto Gainsborough Market.
The report also sought to update Members on performance with the Marshall’s Yard contract and ongoing work for the long-term strategy for the Market.
Part 1 of the report considered the reintroduction of rental charges for traders on Gainsborough Market from 1 April 2021. The report identified options and took into consideration the position on other local markets and the lack of evidence that charging would act as a barrier to traders attending, and as such, recommended that rental charges for stalls should be re-introduced.
Part 2 of the report updated on performance with the two year contract currently in place with Marshall’s Yard. Marshall’s Yard currently provided promotional and marketing support for the General Market, was responsible for organising and promoting the monthly Farmers Market, as well as delivering two annual events in the Town Centre.
Whilst the Farmers Market and events had been successfully delivered wherever possible within restrictions, it had not resulted in any growth of the General Market and it was difficult to identify what impact the Covid crisis had had on attendance.
Finally, part 3 identified the work which Officers had been undertaken regarding the long term future of the Market. Officers were in the final stages of procurement of a consultant to produce a headline report for Members to consider in the spring. This future report would give an assessment of the current position with the Market, linked to regeneration work in the town centre, as well as give an options analysis for future delivery of the function.
Prior to opening the matter for debate Members were reminded that the meeting would need to move to “closed session” should Members wish to discuss in detail the contents of the appendix.
Debate ensued and Opposition Members suggested that a much broader approach and wider thinking around the Markets was required, this should be seen in the context of supporting the wider town centre through what had been and would continue to be a difficult period.
Some expressed disappointment with the recommendations, and were of the view that the position had not changed in recent years. In signing the contract with Marshall’s Yard there had been a belief a positive impact would been seen on the wider town centre. Whilst accepting it had been a difficult year, the results of the contract were disappointing.
It was considered that there was a real need for new creative initiatives and to address the wider issues, such as how to increase footfall to support the wider town. Examples of initiatives Members felt should be further investigated and aspired to, including a travelling farmers market, were shared. With the continued uncertainty around the end date of national restrictions, some considered it far too early to be re-introducing charges. Traders, if they were to attend, needed to have the opportunity to take an income and at present they simply didn’t, disputing that all ... view the full minutes text for item 44