Future of West Lindsey Markets
Consideration was given to a report which presented the findings of Phase 1 and sought Members’ approval to proceed to Phases 2 and 3 of the future of West Lindsey Markets consultancy work.
In presenting the report Officers summarised the findings of the Phase 1 report which provided an overview of current performance, and challenges both in general for markets and those specific to Gainsborough. The report offered seven key interventions for further consideration as well as three potential delivery options.
Phases 2 and 3 for which approval was being sought focussed on Engagement and Future Planning. The timescales, associated costs and purpose of these phases were shared with Committee. The final report containing full analysis and recommendations for the future of the markets was anticipated to be presented to Members in late 2021.
Discussion ensued and Members indicated the workshop had been useful.
Concerns still existed that the report was too Gainsborough focused and Members spoke of their aspirations for a wider district offer. The need to appropriately resource the function was also raised and Members shared examples of previous decisions they considered had fundamentality impacted the Market’s sustainability and had contributed to the current situation. The appropriateness of the comparators used in the report were questioned, as was the successfulness of some of those markets recently brought to the Committee’s attention.
Making use of the river as a greater feature and asset, broadening the use of the market square in general, the role of the Town Council, and the importance of a quality offer were also matters discussed.
Members were of the view the success of other planned projects, such as the cinema within the Market Square had the ability to either drive or impede progress dependent on their outcome.
In responding Officers confirmed there was a keen intent to include a wider district offer and to look at the use of the market square in the widest sense. It was acknowledged that there would need to be a future decision regarding funding and a potential change of focus, moving away from the cost centre approach previously adopted, in recent years.
RESOLVED that Phase 2 and 3 of the future of West Lindsey markets consultancy work be approved