The Assistant Director of Commercial and Operational Services introduced an exempt report regarding the future of West Lindsey markets. He explained the process of the consultancy work and explained the premise that was being presented. He stated that the work would link in with the Levelling Up Fund and, rather than being focussed on the Gainsborough Market, the proposals would also incorporate Market Rasen and Caistor towns. It was explained that the intention was to make the markets a destination event, rather than a purely transactional focus, with a three-year plan proposed to achieve it.
There was support for the proposals from Members of the Committee, although there were concerns raised regarding the intended timescale and focus on ‘café culture’. It was emphasised that the timescale was for the full realisation of the proposal and that work would begin as soon as practicable. With regards to the prospect of achieving a continental style ‘café culture’, it was acknowledged that British weather could have an impact on the outside dining opportunities, however it was highlighted that the essence of the markets being a destination event, rather than merely a transactional centre, was the aim.
The Committee was encouraged by the proposal to encompass all three market towns however there were questions as to whether the individual identities of the towns had been fully considered. It was explained that the consultancy report provided a strategic direction however it would be important for each location to be involved in the evolution of the proposals.
There was discussion regarding the resources required within the proposal, with Members enquiring about detail of job descriptions and purpose of the role. It was clarified that agreement for the role was being sought at this stage and further details could be discussed once the role was confirmed.
The importance of incorporating sustainability into the plan as well as developing it as part of a drive to encourage growth within the district was emphasised, with Members agreeing that the markets needed to be seen as part of a range of events and attractions across the district.
Whilst there were further concerns raised regarding the timescales, assurance was provided that the intention was to start moving on the plans as soon as possible, with the stated three-year plan being the end goal.
Members of the Committee recognised the concerns raised, however on the whole supported the proposals put before them. The Chairman thanked all Members for their comments and the depth of the discussions, and thanked all those involved with the work to date.
Having been moved and seconded, upon being voted upon it was
a) the vision for West Lindsey Markets at set out at 4.1, recognising that they are key cultural and heritage assets that perform a wide socioeconomic function in the District, be supported; and
b) the proposal for a three year plan to regenerate markets across West Lindsey based on the principles set out at 6.1 be supported; and
c) the extension of the Marshall’s Yard contract for a further 12 months, whilst the transition phase of the plan is implemented, be agreed; and
d) it be recommended to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee the the proposed Market budget (as detailed at 8.5) be incorporated into the Medium Term Financial Plan.
Note: Councillor M. Devine left the Chamber at 7.56pm